Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword recently, evoking images of candles and spa settings. But there is very good reason for self-care to be becoming all the rage – it’s critical for your mental and physical health. It doesn’t have to be all sauna sessions, ayahuasca retreats, and overpriced merchandise from The Goop though. Self-care is much simpler and more practical than that. Self-care means giving yourself the space to recharge, the time to rest, the opportunity to break the monotony with something you truly enjoy. Most importantly, self-care is anything but selfish. Without it, it’s impossible to show up at your best for yourself and for those you care about.
What Self-Care is Not
One thing about self-care is that if it’s something you do because you have to as a responsible adult, then it’s not really self-care. Whenever I have a client say, “well I really like cleaning so that’s my self-care” or “I really enjoy cooking,” I ask them if it’s really enjoyable when they’re doing those things out of obligation even if they don’t feel like it. When you’re exhausted from a long week but you’re still cooking dinner for 3 other people when you’d prefer to order takeout, that’s not really caring for yourself and it sure as hell takes all the pleasure out of it. Self-care is not obligatory activities.
Some Ideas for Self-Care
If you are new to self-care (hello, rundown, busy, stretched-too-thin moms!), it can seem really difficult to come up with a self-care routine, especially if cleaning and cooking don’t cut it. But, as I said, self-care is much simpler than you think. Here are some ideas for self-care activities you can start engaging in right away.
- Meditation – even just 5 minutes
- Read your favorite book
- Art – whether it’s painting, knitting, drawing, coloring etc. (and, no, you don’t have to be good at it!)
- Listen to your favorite song – especially helpful when you’re in a time crunch and need that pick-me-up
- Listen to your favorite podcast – reserve some time away from your work to really enjoy it!
- Watch your favorite show – I am the queen of horrible TV and it makes me so happy
- Play an instrument/make music/sing
- Bake – I see this as different from cooking because it’s rare that you HAVE to bake…unless you’re a baker
- Go shopping
- Call your best friend (yes, call, like on the phone)
- Get some fresh air – go for a walk or sit outside and just enjoy the sunshine and air
- Go for a drive (unless road rage is your thing)
- Practice positive affirmations – another one that’s helpful when you’re in a pinch and only have a few moments. Check out these examples to get you started
- Get your favorite workout in
- Make time for some physical activity, like hiking, biking, etc. You can also share this with those you care about
- Take an extra long, hot shower
- Enjoy a cup of tea
- Take a cat nap
- Do a puzzle