11 Little Things You Never Realized Are Actually Self-Care
When you think of self-care, you might find that face masks, mani-pedis and bath bombs immediately spring to mind. However, it's important to know that self-care is about so much more than those things.
Self-care broadly encompasses everything we do in order to improve the well-being of our minds, bodies and spirits. While you might not be actively thinking about it, you're probably taking part in all kinds of self-care activities all day. If you don't believe us, keep reading for 11 little things you never realized were actually self-care.
Getting Enough Sleep
Few things will improve your life faster than getting a good night's sleep, and it's difficult to quantify the effects sleep can have on your mood and physical health. We get that it's not always possible to get enough sleep—especially when you have to be up early in the mornings, or homework (or your phone) keeps you up all night, but try to practice good sleep habits when you can. Take a 20-minute nap if you're feeling exhausted, and when you can get to bed early or sleep in a little, treat yourself.
Making Yourself Tea or Coffee
When you need a pick-me-up, the simple act of taking a small break to prepare yourself a cup of tea or coffee can be a powerful form of self-care. Taking some time in the day to treat yourself to something you enjoy provides you with a small break from whatever might be worrying you. On top of that, just prepping the drink and adding tea and sugar can be therapeutic—and the resulting beverage will put a smile on your face, too.
Feeling tired, hungry or cranky? Dehydration can have all kinds of nasty side effects, so drink a glass of water. Even if that isn't specifically the cause of whatever's ailing you, it'll probably make you feel better anyway. Not only is it good for you, but it can also completely change your outlook on the day.
When you start feeling anxious or worried, pay attention to your breathing. If your breath becomes rapid or shallow, you're not getting the full benefits of the oxygen you're breathing in, so make a conscious decision to change it. Slow, deep breathing can help you become more present and mindful, slowing down your thinking when your heart rate is elevated to get you grounded again.
Having a Skincare Routine
For those times when you don't have a luxurious face mask handy, having a consistent skincare routine can be just as good. Sometimes, all it takes to feel refreshed is washing your face with warm water, scrubbing away all the dirt and grime of the day with a cleanser, and then nourishing your skin with nutritious moisturizers. Going through that process is a nice way to reset, and feeling clean can also give a nice boost to your mental well-being.
Very few of us like doing the chores, but accomplishing these tasks can be helpful in a few key ways. First, dedicating mental space to a chore can get you away from stressful feelings and make you more present and mindful. Secondly, completing something on your to-do list gets an obligation out of the way and clears that mental space, so you can dedicate it to better things. It allows you to stop worrying about getting it done—or having someone hound you for not finishing it yet.
Tidying Your Space
Here's another one that doesn't sound that fun, but can do wonders. While some people can work perfectly fine in a messy space, clutter can throw others completely off track without them even realizing it. If your desk space or bedroom is starting to look like a hurricane came through it, set just 10 minutes aside to tidy things up and get them back into neat working order. You might be surprised to find that when your space is organized, your mind is, too.
If you're not used to journaling, the process can sound tedious, but you don't have to write your life story to reap its benefits. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your brain is write down whatever's immediately troubling you, just to anchor the thought that's bobbing around in your brain. Once you've written it down, feel free to cross out the words, or if you don't want anyone reading it, rip out the page and flush it down the toilet or throw it away somewhere secure. If you're worried about the future, try making a to-do list. Just getting what's in your head out of it can be very healing and give you a plan of attack for what needs to happen next.
Letting Yourself Cry
If you've been holding some sadness in, it can be very cathartic to have a healthy cry. Give yourself plenty of time, and a private place to explore your emotions, and let it all out. If you need a little help getting started, reading a sad book or watching a tearjerking movie can put you on the path to doing what you need to, to start feeling better.
Reading a Book
When you need a moment to yourself, reading a book is a healthy way to temporarily disconnect with your own worries and invest in someone else's story, instead. Books can be an awesome way to explore different perspectives and get a new outlook on your situation, or simply escape it for a moment. Reading has the power to produce a calming effect, and when you do decide to return to the present moment, you might be able to jump in with a new outlook.
Blocking or Muting Toxic People on Social Media
Do you feel tense or uneasy whenever you see certain people on social media? Whether they post stuff that bothers you or rubs you the wrong way, or you just dislike knowing what they're up to, get that toxicity out of your life now by getting them off your feed. Blocking them can get them out of your hair completely, but if they're someone you know IRL and that will cause drama, you can always mute instead. Curate your social media feed until it makes you happy, rather than resentful.
Need more guidance? Click HERE to find out why practicing forgiveness is also a form of self-care.