The art of self care—when done right it can have positive effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health. But for generations (especially as women) we’ve been told that putting our own needs first is wrong, vain and even selfish. We’re here to say that self care in fact isn’t selfish—it’s essential to a healthy, happy and productive life. It helps you manage stress, can change your perspective on challenges, boost your self-esteem, and put your mindset in a positive place. Practicing true self care sounds great in theory, but it isn’t always easy to put into practice. Give yourself permission to care for you and soon you’ll be reaping the rewards. So if you are ready to show up as your best self, try these eight self care rituals that actually work.
1. Do a Self Check-in
It’s easy to get lost in the rat race of life today. Long to-do lists and everyone else’s priorities often mean we forget to ask ourselves how we are doing. Self check-in’s are a healthy way to start your day and create some personal awareness of how you are feeling. Make it a morning ritual to take a few minutes and ask yourself what you need to handle your day like a (happy and healthy) boss. Journaling is a great way to capture your thoughts, look for patterns in your feelings and be more accountable to steps you are taking in self care. Nothing like a cup of coffee, a quiet morning and a journal to get your day on track.
2. Get Outside
Whether in the morning before your day starts, or the evening as it ends (or both), spending time outside has proven mental and physical health benefits. Research has shown that being in nature can help reduce blood pressure and muscle tension, slow the production of stress hormones, and might even reduce mortality. Experiencing the great outdoors is also good for your mental state. Being one with nature can also help you feel more connected to other people. Taking a walk around the block, going on a short hike, or sitting in the grass for a while is a powerful act of self care.
3. Set Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are a way to take care of ourselves. When you understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, you can avoid the feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that build up when limits have been pushed. Learn to set them in a way that benefits you and those you care about, and don’t be afraid to use them. A person with healthy boundaries understands that making their expectations clear helps in two ways: it establishes what behavior you will accept from other people, and it establishes what behavior other people can expect from you. Just say no sometimes and mean it.
4. Keep Self Talk Positive
It makes sense that self compassion is an important part of self care, however, we are often our own worst enemies. Monitor self-talk and remind yourself that you are always doing your best. Be aware of the words you say to yourself and voice out loud—negative words will only make you feel worse. Instead focus on positive words and soon you’ll find yourself in a better place.
5. Indulge a Little
Taking some “me time” so you can pamper and slow down a bit is an important part of self care. Give yourself permission to do what you want. Some ideas include:
- Find an old book or antique store and just wander around
- Take yourself to a movie
- Enjoy an at home spa day by taking a long, soothing bath and treat your skin to a much needed face mask
- Go for a hike
- Work on a DIY project
6. Tidy Up
While cleaning might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to self care, research does show that a tidy space does wonders for your overall mood. In fact, it’s been shown that visual clutter, like a messy home or bedroom, can interfere with your ability to concentrate or even sleep. A tidy home is also associated with healthy eating habits and generosity.
We’re living in a society where we are connected to our phones and computers from the time we awake in the morning to the time we go to sleep. Try unplugging for at least an hour a day and simply be, whether you are alone or surrounded by a loved one. It’ll make a world of difference.