We spend a lot of our time being nice to others, but there’s one person we probably tend to neglect – The person who deserves our attention, most; that person is our “Self”. In the quest to please others, we often give the least attention to ourselves. Practicing self-care isn’t selfish – it’s a necessity! It is an act of showing some kindness and compassion to yourself.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself; it is about proactively taking care of yourself. Any action or behavior helps us avoid initiating critical health problems such as heart problems due to excess stress. Practicing Self-care can help you lower down your stress levels, boost the body’s immune system, and enhance your overall mental and physical health. It also helps you grow and become a better person.
How Can I Practice Self-Care?
There are numerous ways to practice self-care. What works for one person may not work for others. Self-care is a very distinct thing, so there’s no set recommendation for what, how, or when to do it. You need consciously choose what works best for you. Here are 25 Science-Backed Self-care Ideas to Boost Your Well-Being:
1. Let’s Get outside.
Mother nature has its ways of making us better and healthier. Several kinds of research have shown that spending time around nature has a calming effect and helps in reducing stress and enhances one’s creativity and concentration ability. so Ditch the comfort of your home and go out into nature and appreciate its ability to make you feel alive and light. Step out and let nature’s beautiful distraction make you feel blessed and relaxed. Go for walks along the river, play with your dogs outside in the sunshine, explore the garden, or search for waterfalls and anything that makes you feel happy and less stressed out. Surround yourself with more greens (i.e. parks and gardens) as it is associated with greater life satisfaction and less mental distress.
2. Practice Healthy Sleep Cycle
Sleeping is something that everyone loves, but our modern fast-paced life makes it difficult to achieve the desired amount of sleep that one needs. Things that can sabotage our sleep pattern can be, a late night at the office, a wild night with friends, or just catching up on Scandal. So Getting enough sleep is a big self-care priority as per today’s lifestyle. Prioritize sleep by going to bed when you feel tired and waking up at a similar time each morning. Having a healthy sleep routine will make you feel more fresh and productive and will keep you both physically and mentally happy. And if your sleep routine gets interrupted then even just a quick cat nap throughout the day can improve energy levels.
Further reading: Why Sleep Is So Important to Your Health?
3. Enjoy some “Me Time”
Ditch everyone and everything and just spend time with yourself. During your ‘Me time‘ do whatever you feel like doing, it can be practicing any of your hobbies, or just jamming to your favorite playlist, or spending time ideally. it is completely your call how you spend your ‘ME time’. Just make sure during that time you do not let anyone else bother you. Enjoy those 30 mins to 60 min completely by yourself and for yourself.
4. Breathe the right scents
All of us know that breathing techniques work simply great to help us relax. But what we are inhaling is, sometimes, as important as how we are inhaling. Aromatic scents in our surroundings can help in reducing stress and anxiety, and calm down our senses. Placing the diffuser or humidifiers in the room is a great way to spread some mild long-lasting scents in the surroundings. Having soothing aromatic scents in your surroundings also helps in raising your vibrations and uplifting your mood.
5. Practice mindfulness
Mind wanders! This is its nature. Mindfulness is a practice to bring the wandering mind back to the present moment. Mindfulness isn’t always about meditation. It is more about being aware of the present moment. When you practice mindfulness in everyday activities, you tend to get away from stress. How? Stress is caused by the thoughts of past or future. So, when you bring focus to NOW – to what you are doing at the moment, you tend to enjoy that moment. Mindfulness not only helps you reduce stress but also helps in becoming more productive. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t require much effort. Simply by noticing your senses; what do you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell right now, you can become mindful. This is one of the best ways to care for yourself.
We’ve all heard a lot about meditation and how it can transform one’s mental health for the better, which also makes it one of the best forms of self-care. We don’t give ourselves enough time throughout the course of the day to just let our minds be. Meditation is proof that it doesn’t take a ton of time to do good to our mind and body, it is the perfect way to focus inward and acknowledge all of the thoughts and feelings that we have been neglecting. A few minutes of quieting your mind can help relieve stress and also boost compassion and emotional stability.
7. Consume more fruits and veggies
Simply investing the time in making yourself a healthy, delicious meal can feel rewarding. Including more fruits and veggies in your diet is a great way to practice self-care throughout the day. Healthy nutritious food like fruits and vegetables has the power of making you feel happier and healthier. Eating healthy is the best self-care activity as it keeps your overall health good and keeps you in perfect shape both mentally and physically.
There are certain fruits and vegetables like banana, berries, spinach, green leaves, etc which help in boosting your mood and uplifts it immediately.
What we consume is directly linked with how we feel mentally and physically.
We all quite often find ourselves just mindlessly scrolling through our phones. We get addicted effortlessly to get wrapped up in all of our electronics and to be weighed down with all of the negativity on social media. Turning off our phones and tucking them away for the day can make a great difference by giving us some peace of mind and clarity. Unplugging gives all of us a chance to reconnect with the things that matter to us.
Unplugging and getting in touch with the real world is self-care that doesn’t get much better than that. At times, purposely take a break from social media, e-mail, blogging, and recharge your brain and give it the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level. Downtime recharges the brain and stores up attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is necessary to both attain our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories.
7. Shake Your Ass
Shaking your booty doesn’t only make you physically fit but it may also improve mental state and body confidence. It also helps you to lead to a better outlook, while reducing the risks of old-age ailments such as dementia. So, by regularly exercising, you are giving your body and mind some extra care. You need not hit the gym to exercise, you can opt for yoga, Zumba, or simply do some gardening or play with a furry friend.
8. Turn up the tunes
How do you feel when you listen to your favorite song? Well, it brings a smile to my face, when the sound of my favorite music hits my ears. Several pieces of research show that listening to music evokes positive emotions. Upbeat music in particular can uplift your mood.
10. Indulge in some retail therapy
It is a time-tested therapy to improve your mental health. Hitting the mall can help ease mild depression and make us more confident, according to some researchers. Some studies suggest that buying new clothes can lift a person’s mood. Science aside, when you treat yourself with something new and bright, it is bound to bring a smile to your face.
11.Become a bookworm
Indulge yourself into reading. A new book has the ability to take you into a temporary escape from the ‘real world.’ Carving out some time to separate ourselves from life’s stressors and to connect to something outside of ourselves can feel very freeing. Reading is cool and it is really good for our health as it shapes our mind as it ages, and reading fiction, in particular, enhances our creativity and makes us more open-minded.
Further Reading: 9 Most Impactful Self Improvement Books Everyone Should Read
12. Laugh out Loud
“Laughter is the best medicine”, we know this since childhood but as we grow, we get so much consumed with the problems that we often forget to laugh. Give yourself permission to laugh out loud, take out time to watch a funny movie or series that leaves you Chuckling and giggling. Trust me, this will not only benefit your mental and physical well-being but also put you into higher vibrational frequency.
14. Take a Nap
There could be tons of reasons to delay your sleep. whether it’s extended work hours or a night out with friends, or simply your mind is consumed with some stress. No matter what the reason is, it affects your sleep. Researches say sleeping well and taking a nap during the day, can enhance productivity and improve health. Prioritize some snooze time for a healthier, happier you—even if it just 10 minutes nap during your lunch break, it will help!
15. Declutter Your Space
An unorganized space often provokes unhappy thoughts and emotions. Researches indicate that messy surroundings can impact mental health. Disorganized and scattered things such as papers, clothes, toys, books, etc., can make us feel irritated. On the other hand, decluttering the space can help you stay calm, joyful, light, and even productive. So, just take a few minutes a day to clear up your space to make yourself feel great.
16. Indulge in a massage
Massage is one of the most blissful experiences one can have. It calms down both mind and body at the same time. It helps you release the aches and stiffness from the body while improving the flow of blood. Just a few minutes of massage can leave you refreshed and charged for several days. So, setting aside half an hour for massage on weekend can energize you for the whole week.
17. Sweat it out
Exercise is like a mini nudge of energy to our brain. It gets our blood flowing and wakes up our whole body. That’s really important if you have spent your whole day at work or in class. Even a quick workout of 20-minute can generate enough endorphins to turn your mood around and keep you on track for a good day. Always remember: it is about moving, not about pushing yourself past your edge. Exercise is self-care only when it is all about feeling good about yourself and staying healthy, not when one is looking for a result or is obsessed with burning calories. There is research proving that exercise can relieve stress, improve your mood, and help you sleep better.
18. Practice Gratitude
Being thankful for all that you have is one of the best ways of practicing self-care, as being grateful about things that God has blessed us with helps us realize how lucky we are and how much better our life is as compared to our imagination. One simple way to practice gratitude is by writing down daily 3 things you’re grateful for. Try recalling things, experiences, and people in your life that you’re grateful for can have powerful effects on your mood.
19. Practice journaling
Now, this one is my personal favorite. Journaling can bring several benefits. For me, it’s liberating. It’s a way for me to let out. You too can process your emotions, ignite the inner spark and creativity. Just take out a few minutes each day to write. Gratitude journaling is another great way to focus on the happy things in life and develop a positive mindset.
20. Spend Time in nature
Nature is a healer in itself. Researches show that when you spend time in nature, you can see the positive changes in your physical as well as mental health.
21. Let yourself to be vulnerable
Holding the feelings inside is common. It is the key to “unhappiness”. Allow yourself to open up, express your emotions, be silly and do what matters to you, without being afraid of being judged. This is one way to express your kindness towards your own self. If you won’t be kind to yourself, no one else will.
23. Treat yourself with your favorite drink or dessert
Most of the time, we are too conscious about our that we forget we do have some not-so-healthy choices that soothe our souls. Give yourself a bit of freedom to indulge in treating yourself to some guilty pleasures,”. Buy yourself your favorite coffee or dessert on a weekend and enjoy it to the fullest.
24. Get Creative
There are many ways, you can get creative. Think of some activities that you enjoy most (even if you are not good at it) such as cooking, gardening (caring for plants is therapeutic), scrapbooking, singing (doesn’t matter how good or bad you sing, it’s only for you not others), play your favorite music and dance with it( as if no one is watching). Creativity lets you be who you are. So, just be yourself for some time without worrying about the outer world.
25. Pamper Yourself
Go to the Parlour, take a bubble bath, buy some sexy lingerie, build a treehouse, buy a new lipstick or nail paint. Ways are numerous, you need to pick the one which makes you feel pampered. Do that! You deserve it! You are worthy of it.
Wrapping Up on Self Care Ideas
Whether you decide you want to go for a nature walk or take a bubble bath, taking out time for self-care is important. Keep aside, regular small windows of time to practice self-care. Make it a part of your life.
Learn to say no when you don’t want to say yes. Prioritize self-care and give that much-needed importance to yourself. You don’t need a good reason to treat yourself. There is nothing more important than taking care of yourself.