Since 2019 is the year of self-care, we figured part two would be fitting.
There are a million ways to practice self-care, as long as it’s good for your body and mind then find whatever works best for you.
Spend time Outdoors
Remember that feeling of going to the park as a kid? Running around in the grass and playing under trees?
That was the best feeling ever! Somewhere along the line, we lost this childlike, playfulness. Make time to get outdoors, go on a hike, visit the beach, or even just go for a stroll around the block.
Being around nature, especially in a city, will decrease your risk of depression, improve your mood, and relieve stress. Plus, you are getting some exercise in the process which boosts dopamine levels.
Marie Kondo was on to something with her “magic of tidying up” philosophy. De-cluttering your space can lead to less stress. Less clutter = less stress. Make your bed, put away those clothes that have been sitting in the corner for weeks, clean up your desk at work.
When you clean space, it helps clear your mind in the process. Not to mention you will have a nice clean space to come home to at the end of the day. It’s a win-win situation!
Turn off the Technology
Technology has basically taken over our daily lives, we are all guilty of spending too much time on our phones, tablets, TVs, and so on. Many of us can no longer focus on a single task or face-to-face conversation.
When it comes to social media especially, we are constantly comparing our lives to unrealistic “Instagram models” whose lives appear perfect onscreen but this is just a false reality. Who knows what a person’s life is like in real life? You cannot compare your life to something created online, which is a huge problem facing society today.
Do yourself a favor and shut off your devices, even just for a few hours. Go outside, find a healthy hobby that doesn’t involve screens.
Spend time with a pet
Pets can be hugely beneficial to self-care. They give companionship and love, and dogs especially can help reduce stress and anxiety. This is why service dogs are increasingly used for people who suffer from a variety of disorders.
You may not think you are worth much at times, but to your dog, you are the best person in the entire world.
They love unconditionally, which is a very pure feeling. Animals help us by just being in the “here and now,” which is amazing self-care.
It may seem obvious, but for many who struggle with depression, showering and self-care may not always be an easy task. In fact, the smallest chore may feel like it’s impossible. Taking the time to get clean can make a big difference, it’s like cleansing your soul.
If it’s possible for you to take a bath, run some warm water, throw in a bath bomb, and spend some time relaxing in the bubbles. You will thank yourself later.
Take a Personal Day
Taking a mental health day is totally acceptable once in a while. We live in such a constant state of go-go-go, that we tend to get run down. Millennial burnout is a very real thing. We live in this constant state where we think we need to be social and busy in order to lead a successful life.
However, this just isn’t true, taking time out for yourself can be very beneficial. Cancel those plans, stay in, and do something that brings you joy. Use that time to do some of the things on this list. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish!
Talk to Someone
This can come in many ways, shapes, and forms. You can see a therapist, which is usually covered (or partially) by most health care plans. Or, join a support group, an online counseling site, call a helpline, or simply talk to a trusted friend. You would be surprised at how just simply saying your problems out loud can feel like a giant weight has lifted. We are very lucky to live in an age with access to so many wonderful options for therapy!
Reduce Animal Products
As you likely know, our food production system is a disgrace; to animals, to our health, and most of all, to the environment. We fill our bodies with an abundance of hormones, chemicals, and pesticides and support gruesome factory farming methods with our food choices. More information is coming to light about this subject and people are beginning to realize the very negative impacts of consuming animal meat and by-products.
Whether you’re an animal person or not, eating more from the earth and less from the factories helps your health and mental state.
Use positive self-talk
One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to speak to myself and others in a positive.
If your self-talk is generally negative, you may be unnecessary anxiety and stress for yourself. We shape our own realities and our inner dialogues play a huge part in how we perceive the outside world. Next time you find yourself thinking “I am not good enough” or “this is the worst thing that could happen to me” stop and try to find the positive, or at the very least remind yourself “it’s okay to make mistakes”.
Avoid any negative language. Your happiness genuinely is in your own hands.
Cut back negative habits
This may sound silly, but if you have a habit you want to quit, you may not realize this but every time you perform that action, it is affecting your inner dialogue. This is because you have associated a feeling of guilt with the habit.
They are called addictions for a reason, but maybe try simply cutting back at first. Limit yourself to drinking only once a month, cut the number of cigarettes each day in half.
Once you make these small changes you will notice a positive impact on your body and mind. Of course, stop these habits altogether is ideal. However, trying to quit sometimes cold turkey can be difficult, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
One step at a time, it’s all about the small victories!
Forgive Yourself & Others
We’ve all heard the quote: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
This quote speaks volumes when it comes to forgiveness, you are only hurting yourself by dwelling on a bad experience. Forgive the people in your life who harmed you and forgive yourself for your own mistakes and you will liberate yourself from anger, resentment, and negativity.
It’s time to let that all that stuff go!