Taking care of yourself is so important but sadly, it is something that not a lot of people know how to do. Many times, people turn to negative coping mechanisms to deal with the everyday stresses of life. Want to learn how to handle stress and make self care a priority? Keep reading!
What is self care?
Self care is exactly what it sounds like: It is the act of taking care of yourself. However, it isn’t just taking care of one aspect of your “self”. It is all about taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Why is it important?
So many people don’t take the time to properly take care of themselves. They think that it is “selfish”, that they don’t have the time, or that there are other priorities in life that come first. However, when you put self care to the side, it becomes more difficult to handle the other things that life throws at you. You get overwhelmed and your mental and physical health deteriorates (for example, you may notice that when you don’t take care of yourself, in addition to getting stressed you also may get sick).
Different Ways to Take Care of Yourself
Designating “Me Time”
It is always important to put aside time for yourself to just relax, unwind and step away from external stresses. Set aside a day, part of a day, an hour, or even 15 minutes where you step away from everyone and everything else and take some times for your. This could be as simple as treating yourself to a coffee or as elaborate as setting up a spa day for yourself!
Here are a few of my favorite (affordable/free) “Me Time” ideas
- Read that book that has been collecting dust on your shelf/sitting in your e-reader archives
- Light some candles, put on some relaxing music and take a nice bubble bath
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood
- Take a nap (naps are highly underutilized)
- Cook yourself a nice dinner and enjoy it (candles optional but hey why not)
- Give yourself a mani/pedi (or if you can afford it, go get one!)
- Meditate (this one is especially good if you only have a short period of time)
- Do that “thing” that you have been “meaning to do” for however long (for me, this is practicing my instruments, but it can be any hobby or task that is enjoyable! No chores allowed during me time)
If you have a whole day or half of a day, you can pair some of these together!
Putting Your Health First (Mental and Physical)
Health is always important and a huge part of self care is making sure that it is a priority in our lives. Physically, this means making sure that you eat well, stay active and go to your doctor regularly. Mentally, this means taking time to destress (see “me time” above!) and also going to a mental health professional if you feel as though your mental health is suffering. I cannot stress this enough: If you feel like you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out to somebody! There are tons of resources that can help you feel like yourself again.
Learning to Say “No” (Or Even Just Maybe)
As someone who struggles with anxiety, I have learned how amazing the words “no” and “maybe” are. I used to try to take on tasks to please people and then I would end up crashing and not completing any of them. It is so important to realize that you can say no to things. Maybe is also a great word to use, especially for events. I will often say maybe to events because I can’t always know whether I am going to be having a good anxiety day or a bad one, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone by promising to do something and then having to back out (that being said, there are some events that, even if I am struggling with anxiety, I will go to because of their importance).
Making a “Self Care Kit”
I love the idea of self care kits! I am in the process of putting mine together right now! Basically, a self care kit (or box/basket/etc) is a collection of supplies that can help you when you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed. Some of the things you can put in a self care kit include (but are not limited to):
- Favorite movies/books
- A stress ball
- A journal
- A stuffed animal/blanket that is comforting
- Favorite snacks/treats (obviously ones that won’t spoil easily)
- Crayons and coloring books
- Essential oils
- Bath/nail/spa items
- Anything that you know will help you feel calm and relaxed
Well, I hope this tips will help you put yourself first so that you will be less stressed and healthier all around!