With our busy, productive lives, we know how important it is to slow down and practice self-care.
Yet, when it comes to the matter of taking care of ourselves, we often feel guilty and torn. We feel that we should be spending that time on work or family or doing something that yields results. But self-care should be as big a priority as our physical health—everyone deserves to make their emotional health and well-being a priority.
It probably doesn’t help that self-care is usually portrayed in the media as something that is vain or over-indulgent, with spa days and glamorous vacations and excessive shopping sprees.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself. But if pedicures and massages aren’t your thing or in your budget, there are tons of different types of self-care activities you can turn to. The important thing is to make time for yourself and feel worthy of this time.
So why is it so important to make time for self-care?
When our jobs and personal lives require us to run on all cylinders, we need to take breaks every now and then, to ensure we don’t burn out. We could already be suffering from burn out without even realizing it yet. If you’ve been noticing that you’ve been having trouble sleeping, or can’t remember the last time you had a serving of vegetables, it’s time to hit pause.
Plus, hitting refresh on our lives is always helpful. If you’re worried that taking a break will slow down your momentum, it’s quite the opposite. With rest and recovery, we actually feel more energized and fulfilled.
We’ve put together recommendations for manageable and budget-conscious self-care activities that won’t break the bank. Whether your idea of relaxation is a sheet-mask and your favorite TV program, or going for a vigorous run outside, we’ve got everyone covered.
How everyone can benefit from self-care
Self-care provides a wide-range of benefits, and touches multiple aspects of our lives, from our physical health to our emotional and spiritual well-being. Here’s how self-care can benefit everyone.
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Feeling more energized
- Better sleep
- Feeling more fulfilled in your relationships
- Being more present
How everyone can practice self-care
Below are suggestions for different kinds of self-care that you can practice. From mindful journaling to taking a gratitude stroll, you’ll be sure to find a self-care option that resonates with you.
Morning cup of coffee or tea outside. I’ve always had trouble achieving a good night’s sleep. But then I read that getting sunlight first thing in the morning can affect your circadian rhythm and help you sleep better at night. So instead of turning on my computer or phone first thing in the morning, I make a cup of coffee and enjoy those first sips outside. It’s so nice and relaxing to have a peaceful start to the day. And later on, I get the bonus points of getting a good night’s rest. This is a simple, and low-key self-care option that anyone can enjoy.
Gratitude journal. When we take time out of our day to reflect on all the good things we have going on in our lives, we just feel better. Make a point to express your gratitude and record it in a gratitude journal. You’ll also get so much pleasure flipping through the pages later on, and reliving those positive experiences.
Taking a child-like stroll. The other day on a walk in the park, I overheard a child point and exclaim, “Beautiful pigeons!” As an adult, I never would’ve given a second glance to this common bird sighting or even considered it to be beautiful. But hearing the excitement in the child’s voice reminded me to try to absorb these everyday sights and moments with the wonder of a child.
What are some common sights in your neighborhood that you usually take for granted? Maybe it’s a majestic fountain in the park or an interesting looking building or even something as simple as seeing a cat lounging in a store window. Take these moments in and enjoy them.
Shower with a special bath gel. If you’ve always wanted a spa treatment but didn’t have the time or budget, you can try to recreate a mini-experience at home. Gift yourself a shower gel with a therapeutic smell like eucalyptus, lavender, or grapefruit. Exfoliate with shower gloves and recite a mantra, or imagine all the negative thoughts being sloughed away.
Meditate for two minutes. If you’re trying to start a meditation routine, don’t feel the need to set aside twenty or thirty minutes. Start small. Even two minutes can make such a big difference on your state of mind. This is a great self-care exercise that everyone can do, no matter where you are. So if you’re feeling stressed at work or stuck in a slow checkout line, take some meditative breaths and feel your body unwind.
Buy yourself something you need. This is a tip that seems so obvious, but it wasn’t until I read this recommendation in The Artist’s Way that it struck me how often I deny myself simple pleasures or practical because I feel obligated to save that money for rent or other responsibilities.
Something as simple as buying new socks so that I never have to stress about getting dressed in the morning, had a huge impact. What are some other micro, practical items that can have a significant impact on your daily life?
Here are some more examples:
- A lovely notebook to support your new writing routine
- New fitness socks to make your workouts easier
- A fitness journal to firm up your commitment to your workout goals
- A dishtowel to liven up your kitchen
- Colorful pens or stickers to get you excited for studying
- A new entryway rug that makes you smile as soon as you enter your home
- Finding a pretty frame for a beloved photo
Treat yourself to a simple pleasure. Here’s another great recommendation from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. Treat yourself to a simple pleasure: this could be a dessert you loved as a child, or a candle that would make your home smell lovely and comforting, or a new book that you would love to curl up with. Gifting yourself with a simple pleasure is such a powerful form of care. You communicate to yourself that you are deserving of good things.
Everyone is worthy of self-care and prioritizing themselves. What are some of your favorite ways of taking care of yourself?