It’s likely you’ve heard Eleanor Brown’s famous quote, “Self-care isn’t selfish,” but for many of us, setting time aside for ourselves still causes guilt. In many cases, we feel as though we are neglecting our families or loved ones, but funny enough, we end up neglecting ourselves. The way we care for ourselves contributes to our health and wellbeing. Among the many benefits of practicing self-care, it can also create positive changes to our mood. By doing so, we can project the same energy to everyone around us, a win-win situation if you ask me. So, what are some ways we can practice self-care? Here are five simple self-care tips you can start using today.
Be Mindful of your Basic Needs
If you are confused about where to start, you can follow Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This model categorizes our human needs into five sections: self-actualization, esteem, love and belonging, safety, and physiological needs. To fulfill all the conditions, you need to start at the bottom of the hierarchy and work your way up. So, starting with physiological needs, you could do something as minor as making sure you’re having three meals a day, drinking enough water, getting a total of eight hours of sleep, or even taking a shower. Meeting these basic needs is essential and can be the beginning of helping you achieve the rest of your goals.
Try Exercising or Yoga
Being active has many benefits and can look different to each person. Research shows “during exercise, your body releases chemicals that can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. This can help you deal with stress and reduce your risk of depression.” Trying a quick workout or starting your day off with some yoga and meditation also has its advantages. According to Dr. Nevins, board-certified osteopathic family physician, “Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration,” By engaging in activities that put you up on your feet, you can gradually reduce your stress levels as you’re focusing your attention elsewhere.
What exactly does it mean to practice gratitude? In essence, it could translate to acknowledging the many things we should be grateful for. You could write a gratitude list or even thank someone and appreciate what they do for you. Harvard Medical School reports that practicing gratitude “is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” The best part about practicing gratitude is that it is a quick and easy self-care tip that you can use on a day-to-day basis and can take around five minutes to do.
Attend a Support Group
Suppressing your emotions can do more harm than good, and it’s always a good idea to talk about how you feel. If you have more time on your hands, joining a support group is a great option. Support groups can help you build connections with other people and share everyday experiences. Joining these groups can help you realize you are not alone in your situation and could provide a sense of comfort. Other emotions such as feeling “hopeful” and “empowered” are also benefits of using support groups. If you want to join, you could look for non-profit organizations, hospitals, and private clinics that meet your specific needs.
Do What You Love
Most importantly, self-care should be about doing self-care practices you love—finding a hobby that you want to take part in can help identify what you enjoy doing. You could start looking for things within your own homes, such as cooking, painting, drawing, or arts and crafts. You could take time off from your day and work on pretty much anything that interests you. Completing these activities also give you a sense of accomplishment and can provide a more positive outlook for the rest of your day.
Self-care isn’t selfish, and it should be a priority. If you found this article helpful, share this with your friends and family to start your journey of prioritizing yourself and your wellbeing.