Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care
We hear so much talk about self-care and its importance for mental, physical and emotional health. In fact, it’s one of the areas that I get asked about most on social media – questions like, “how do you engage in self-care?” and “what do you do to feel better given your busy life?”.
What I want to get into here is what self-care actually is and how you can make it happen. And I’m going to share what it is that I do to incorporate self-care practices into my busy life.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in nurturing your well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress. It is any activity that you deliberately do in order to take care of your mind, body and soul.
Although this is a simple concept in theory, it’s something that you may often overlook because you feel “too busy” to take care of yourself. But as you’ll have heard me mention before, I’m a huge advocate for taking care your needs and, in fact, putting your own needs before the needs of others. To me, the practice of personal care is part of your commitment to self-love. It’s one of the key things you can do to build loving relationships with both yourself and with others.
So, if you’re one of those people who thinks a lot about self-care, but haven’t actually done anything proactive about it, it’s time to start prioritizing looking after yourself! Know that self-care isn’t a one-time deal, it’s an active choice that you must cultivate for your long-term well-being. There are a bunch of things that I do for my own self-care, and my commitment to self-love, and you’ll see that I’ve integrated it into how I live and work.
What Does Self-Care Look Like For Me?
Like many of you, my life is hectic! Between constantly traveling for work and my demanding home-life, juggling everything on my plate can feel challenging and exhausting! And that’s exactly why I make it a point to do things to counteract to my stress and to feel better overall. Here are some of my favorite self-care practices:
On the Daily, I Focus On:
• Simple meditation: My current practice is super easy. I set a timer when I wake up and meditate for anywhere between 1-3 minutes. It isn’t perfect, but one of the things that I’ve learned in practicing mindfulness is that it doesn’t need to be all or nothing – it just needs to be my best in that moment.
• Breathing: Intentional breathing is such a useful tool for managing stress and anxiety. Paying attention to your inhales and exhales can have such a calming effect on both your mind and body.
• Mindful eating: This isn’t just about clean eating (although that’s also important!). Mindful eating is about paying attention to the thoughts, sensations and feelings. This may sound weird to some but it helps me, especially since I carry a lot of my stress in my stomach/GI tract.
• A nice thing to make me feel better: Every day, I ensure that I do something that helps me to decompress. Some days it’s watching Netflix or taking an Epsom salt bath, while other days it’s about having a delish dinner. Whatever it is, it makes me feel nice.
On the Weekly, I Focus On:
• Exercise: One of my fav ways to release happy hormones! As you’ll have seen on my IG stories, I work out regularly with a trainer (who I call Ali The Answer!). Even if I’m traveling, I make sure I get exercise in at the hotel gym. I can’t tell you just how important this practice is to me!
• Spending time with my biomat: If you haven’t heard of it before, a biomat is essentially a heating pad that produces negative ions that deliver energy to the cells of the body. I use my biomats (I have one at home and one at the office) to bring my body into more of a relaxed (parasympathetic) state. And I love how toasty warm I feel when I use it.
• Socializing with my peeps: I’ve said it before, amazing relationships are key to living a happy life. Whether it’s dinner with friends, going out to dance it up, a phone call with my sister, or cuddling with my boo, I always carve out time for people in my life, who I call “my clouds”.
On the Monthly, I Focus On:
• Bodywork: I leverage all kinds of body workers to help keep my machine (aka my body!) running well. I will see either an acupuncturist, massage therapist, or osteopath at least once a month to help heal and refuel my body.
• Therapy: As part of my mental health journey, I’ve done psychotherapy for over 20 years now. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself in my life and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me through difficult times!
In thinking about all that I do for my self-care, I recognize my privilege in being able to money towards many of these experiences. But here are some free or inexpensive things that you can do to care for yourself:
• Give yourself a home facial or mani/pedi
• Get bodywork from a training school. Many places offer discounted prices as a way for their students to practice
• Take a free online yoga or meditation program. (The Chopra Center offers many!)
• Google “self-care”! There are a wealth of free mental health resources available online
As you can see, I take self-care very seriously. Maybe my personal care regiment will look exhausting to you, but remember that each of us needs to decide what works for us. Over time, you’ll find your rhythm in implementing your care. Whatever it is, just make sure it fuels your body, mind and soul, rather than taking from it.
What do your self-care practices look like? After today, what will you do to carve out time for yourself?