The act of “self-care” is anything one does deliberately for themselves that aids in relieving stress or anxiety. It is taking action to not only relieve the body physically of stress but also mentally. There is no one way of doing this, and not everyone’s method is the same.
It is something that is overlooked and not seen as important as taking care of physical ailments. It should also be planned so that it is something that becomes part of the weekly routine, or as often as needed per individual. Self-care is the key to a well-balanced life, according to many studies. If you are taking care of yourself, you are in better shape to take care of others.
Here is a brief list of things that can be considered acts of self-care. This not definitive, and again, taking time to do something that brings peace and alleviates stress varies based on the individual.
According to studies, the average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Getting a good night’s sleep has so many health benefits, I’m not even sure where to begin. Not only is it a major stress reliever, but it aids in digestion and brain function, but it can also reduce depression. Naps have also been shown to have the same effects.
Obviously, exercise is good for the body, but it also clears the mind. It increases the serotonin levels in the body, which makes improves your mood! For self-care purposes, it is important to find a form of exercise that is enjoyable to the individual.
If you are someone new to exercise, try going for a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood or a local park. Yoga can also be a gentle form of exercise, which you can do via YouTube in your home if there is not a studio close to you. You can rent a bicycle. Go for a hike on a scenic trail. See if there is a rock-climbing gym in your city. There are a lot of apps that can assist you in meditation.
Read a book
A study from the University of Sussex states that reading a book is the most effective way to relieve stress. Immersing oneself into a world beyond our own taps into the imagination, thereby impacting creativity. Reading a book for at least 30 minutes a day is shown to have lasting effects on the brain, and can decrease chances of Alzheimer’s later in life. It has also been shown that readers are more empathetic people.
Take Yourself to a Museum
In case you haven’t noticed yet, the Arts play a big part in the idea of self-care. Take yourself to a museum based on your interests. Going alone allows you to set your own pace, and your own itinerary. Immerse yourself in learning about something new, or lose yourself in something that you have loved for a long time.
If you know you do not have a green thumb, or you do not like to get your hands dirty, skip gardening. For those of you still following along, gardening has proven to have astounding benefits for mental health. Whether it is a shared community plot, your own yard, or a houseplant on a windowsill, planting something with your own two hands into the dirt and watching it grow can be incredibly beneficial for your well-being.
Writing down your moods and thoughts can help in examining habits and mind frames that can feel like “ruts.” Be honest with yourself when journaling. Write a “gratitude list;” a list of things that you are thankful for. This is your journal, and you can write whatever you like however you like. If you are more of a free spirit, try writing stream of consciousness style and write what you think as you’re thinking it.
It cannot be stated enough when on the topic of self-care, but whatever the preferred method is, self-care is not the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It is a time when you do what makes you happy, and you are able to mentally check in with yourself and regroup. Take time to be comfortable and content.
One of the key components of self-care that has been shown to be the most effective is unplugging. When trying some of these methods, if you are able, try leaving your phone in another room or turning it off.