In a culture that praises “the grind” and rushing from one event to the next, the concept of self-care can feel like something we don’t have time for. But in this season of falling in love with ourselves, self-care isn’t optional. It is a necessity.
Self-care, in its purest form, is tending to our physical, mental, and emotional needs with compassion. It’s putting on our oxygen mask first. This sounds very simple, but in the chaos of everyday life, it can be hard to even find our oxygen mask in the first place.
Here are some simple ways to incorporate self-care into daily life so we can all breathe a little easier.
1. Become Aware
It’s impossible to tend to our needs when we aren’t even aware of them. Most of us haven’t been trained in the subtle art of self-awareness but, like any skill, it can be learned. Start by pausing several times throughout the day to practice mindfulness. Use all five senses to check in with yourself. What are 5 things you can see, smell, hear, etc… This forces our nervous system to slow down and become more grounded. Becoming mindful allows us space to notice needs that we may have been ignoring.
2. Schedule It
Is your calendar only full of tasks that other people are demanding of you? It’s a really easy habit to fall into, but not making ourselves a priority means that we will end up putting our needs last. Every time. Think of something you enjoy, that brings light into your life, and put it in your calendar.
3. Go Outside
Don’t have time for a walk? Even a few minutes of sitting outside can positively affect your mental health by lowering stress and heart rates. Lengthier outdoor activities can help you sleep better at night, too.
Of course! I once had a doctor tell me that sleep is the cheapest medicine. Try going to bed a little earlier for a week as an experiment. Adequate sleep boosts your mood, increases heart functionality, and lowers stress levels.
5. Have Fun
One of the worst traps in adult life is believing that everything we do has to be productive. Play (yes, even for adults) increases well-being, reduces stress, and even increases physical health.* When was the last time you played a video game? Made a craft? Swung at the park? If it makes you happy, create time for it.
Self-care isn’t a trendy luxury, but a necessary part of loving yourself. Can you work some of these tips into your busy day? The answer is, yes.
Learn more about self-love in this blog post.