Self-care is a word that is used a lot lately and we are increasingly being told how important it is to our wellbeing. Oxford Languages defines self-care as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health or the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. We have put together ten self-care activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.
Practice healthy habits
Focussing on healthy lifestyle habits can have a big impact on your well-being. This includes eating healthy every day, getting regular and consistent sleep, drinking plenty of water, removing or limiting bad habits such as smoking and alcohol, and staying physically active.
Be proactive with your health
Be proactive with your physical and mental health. Schedule regular medical, eye, skin and dental check-ups. Preventive measures can help catch any small issues before they become bigger problems. Also remember to be proactive with your mental health.
Find someone to talk to
Anxiety and depression is more common than many of us realise. Having someone to talk to can go a long way in helping with this, and even a happy, positive person can benefit from having someone to talk to. Try and have a friend, a minister, a colleague or counsellor to talk with regularly. This can provide a source of support, help relieve any stress or tension and hopefully solve any problems you might be having.
If you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable talking to, try a helpline to talk to trained people who understand.
Spend time in nature
Studies have shown that spending time outside is good for mental and physical health. Breathing in fresh air can counteract anxiety and reduce cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Time spent outside also enhances your cognitive function, including mental clarity, concentration, and creativity. What’s more, soaking up some rays (in moderation) helps combat vitamin D deficiency, a common ailment and risk factor for osteoporosis, heart attack, and stroke.
See friends regularly
We are inherently social animals, and that doesn’t change with age. To avoid loneliness and build a sense of belonging, take the opportunity to catch up with family and friends on a regular basis. Join special interest clubs or groups to make new friends.
Learn to relax
Finding ways that you can take time out and relax is crucial for self-care. This could include meditation, yoga, taking a bath, deep breathing techniques, getting a massage, reading a book or having a herbal tea. Doing a relaxing activity every day has many benefits, and many relaxation activities can be done anywhere and at any time.
Do Something Creative
Creativity brings your imagination into play, which is a terrific way to reduce stress and exercise your mind. Studies have found that the stress-related hormone cortisol can significantly drop after 45 minutes of making art. Being creative isn’t just limited to arts and craft, it includes music, cooking, gardening, writing, sewing, knitting, photography etc.
Without a doubt, exercise is the most effective way to improve your physical and mental well-being. Even small bursts of activity will prompt your brain to begin pumping out endorphins – your in-built feel-good neurotransmitters. It will also help reduce the risk of many diseases and increase your energy, stamina and strength.
Participate in activities that you enjoy, don’t overdo it, start small and build up your activity and remember to always see a doctor before taking on new physical activities.
Studies continue to show that gratitude has many positive side-effects. Including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, better self-esteem and less negativity are just a few.
There are many ways to be grateful, such as a gratitude journal where you list several reasons to be grateful every day, saying thank you to those that do things for you, either verbally or via notes or letters and discussing the reasons you are grateful at the dinner table every night.
Read or listen to music
Listening to music or reading books is a great way to relax and unwind. It’s also a great way to escape to a new place and maybe learn something new. Reading has been found to lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate and reduce stress, so it’s a great self-care activity.
It’s important to make self-care regular and about things you enjoy – so you keep doing it. Self-care doesn’t have to cost money, most of these self-care activities outlined above don’t. Hopefully they can assist and inspire inspire you to make self-care part of your daily routine going forward.