Self-care is any action that we perform to take care of ourselves. Self-care practices aim to improve our health (mental, emotional, and physical), mood, and relationship within ourselves and others. By taking care of ourselves, we also reduce stress and anxiety.
There are many self-care activities you can take daily to implement your self-love routine. Some require time; others are cheap and easy to perform whenever you feel the need to take a moment for yourself.
It's not about being selfish; it's about practicing some self-love to feel better and improve the quality of life.
1. Take a walk outside
Studies have proven that spending time outside can improve mental and physical health. In March 2013, researchers of the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh found out that even a short walk in nature provides neural effects similar to those gained through meditation.
Also, living close to the city's green areas improves people's well-being. The researchers of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School have found out that those who live in greener neighborhoods show less mental distress and higher life fulfillment.
If you can't move to a greener district or don't have a private garden, try to take a walk outside any time you can.
Go to a local green public area or park to enjoy some fresh air, the sound of the birds singing, and the beauty of the nature surrounding you.
2. Say "no" more often
How many times have you said "yes" to someone only to please the other while sacrificing yourself because you were too afraid of the reaction to a firm "no"?
Learn to say "no" to people to avoid doing things you don't want to do and improve your life. If you keep saying "yes," you'll end up executing tasks you don't like only to make others happy.
Take back your time and gain confidence. Spend the time saved thanks to this little word by doing what you love and what really matters to you.
"Successful people say no to almost everything." — Warren Buffet
3. Sleep a little bit more
Sleep is crucial to have a productive day. The National Sleep Foundation advises 7–9 hours of sleep a night for adults. A good night's sleep can bring many benefits like boost mental performances such as memory and learning, keep a healthy weight, and prevent diseases.
Quit any harmful bedtime habits and switch to a healthy sleeping routine.
If you feel too tired before arriving at the end of the day, consider taking a little nap to recover some energy and make the most out of your day.
Sleep is often underestimated when it comes to self-care practices, as it's already part of our routine. It's also seen as an activity that takes time away from more productive tasks.
If you see sleep as a waste of time, reconsider it as hours dedicated to recharging your body and mind to face a new day invigorated and healthier.
Feeling a little pain in your body? An uncomfortable position you kept at work might be causing you some muscle soreness. Most of us tend to stiffen muscles and nerves when under stress. There is nothing better than a massage to release some tension, but it's not always possible to get a professional one.
There are different self-massage techniques you can practice to give your body some rest. Some can be done simply using your hands, others with common tools like a foam roller or a tennis ball. Be gentle with your touch, and be careful not to hurt yourself.
If you're not sure how to perform a self-massage, you can apply a warm bag full of cherry pits to the sore spot. Hot cherry pits increase blood circulation and help relieve pain; they can also be used cold to treat sports injuries.
5. Sing and dance
Singing and dancing are two forms of release. By singing or dancing in groups or alone, you let your emotions out.
These two practices are also therapeutic and useful in treating mental illness, depression, fatigue, or physical pain.
So turn on the radio, start singing and dancing, let go of negative feelings and have fun!
6. Take a hot bath
There is nothing better than taking a hot bath after a long day. Hot water will help sore your muscles by increasing blood circulation that stimulates faster healing. A warm bath can also open your skin's pore and clear your nose.
Before entering the bathtub, you can also play some relaxing music or perfumed the room with the desired essence to promote calmness.
7. Practice yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice born in India. There are several types of yoga, and everybody can perform it as it's gentle with the body and helps you reconnect with yourself.
Yoga has countless benefits for both body and mind, such as low-back and neck pain relief, weight loss, balance improvement, and anxiety management.
All you need to start exercising yoga is a mat and a qualified teacher. Find the perfect yoga teacher is essential, especially if you are a beginner. Yoga classes can last around 1.5 hours once or twice a week; you'll start to see the body and mind benefits after a few sessions.
We can't be kind and helpful with others if we aren't gentle with ourselves first.
Unfortunately, sometimes, practicing self-care is seen as a selfish practice, and some people expect others to take care of them because that's what they do. Nobody taught them to put themself first so they can help someone else later.
If you are familiar with airplanes flight, you should know that the flights' attendants always say you must wear the oxygen mask first to help later dependent people wear theirs.
Take some time for yourself to relax and enjoy all the beautiful things around you. Do something you love and improve your health. Don't be harsh on you, be generous and patient with your body and mind.
"Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love." — Brené Brown