International Self-Care Day is on July 24th, 2021.
Self-care is the act of valuing yourself, accepting yourself, learning to love yourself, feeling abundant, and feeling worthy of your own time. It doesn’t cost anything to self-care, but it takes effort. It’s a conscious decision to invest in ourselves and in our mental wellness day in and day out.
With stress and constantly meeting the needs of others, it is incredibly easy to feel burnt out by the time the weekend comes around. I know that when I’m busy; I tend to make caring for myself a low priority. So, in honor of International Self Care Day on July 24th, I want to discuss a few things I personally do to relax, recharge, and get ready for the next upcoming week so I can feel on top of life again.
I was thinking about “self-love” earlier this week, and I realized, we rarely ask people about the relationship they have with themself. We may inquire about a romantic relationship they may be in or the wellbeing of a parent, but we seldom ask or get asked about the relationship we have with ourselves. I personally think self-love is the most important relationship we can have in life. In this blog, I will be sharing with you 7 self-care habits that I practice daily to better my mental wellness and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Step 1: Make Time for Yourself & Act on it!
Allotting time for myself is essential for my mental health, allowing me to clear my mind and be alone in my thoughts. This could be in the form of writing, meditating, journaling, going for a walk, cooking for yourself, and taking a bath. Something that really benefits me is mindless cleaning and taking a shower. In a way it allows my brain to go on autopilot and I’m able to understand why I feel stressed and anxious and how to self treat it.
The most important thing with making time for yourself is that we as humans already naturally know what we can do to make ourselves feel better. But, there’s a huge difference between knowing and doing something about it. For example, I know meditating will make me feel better. I know how to journal and how to be alone by myself. But, if I don’t actually act on it, then none of it matters. It’s important to make yourself a priority and engage in the things that make you feel happy. My advice to you would be to identify and write out a list of things that help you to relax and choose at least three things that you will put into action.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Day
Prioritizing my day has been my method of always putting myself and my needs first. At the beginning of each day, I like to review my tasks on my to-do list and start arranging them in order of importance. If something unexpected comes up (which always happens) at the end of the day, I know that all the essential tasks would have been completed.
Step 3: Daily walks
I’m so grateful to my dog for pushing me to walk outside, at least for 30 minutes a day. Breathing in fresh air, soaking up the sunshine, and observing the world passing by me have been my way to de-stress and a chance to connect with myself. Most of us have spent the last year indoors more than ever before. So, if you’re able to, include going for a walk in your daily routine. You won’t regret it.
Step 4: Correcting Your Posture
The first time I corrected my posture, it felt awkward because I was used to sitting and standing in a particular way. Not only does adjusting our posture reduce back pain and shoulder tension, but it can also boost our self-confidence and self-image as well. While posture includes how we sit and stand, it’s also the way we move and carry ourselves throughout the day. So take a moment to notice your posture and make an effort to stand up taller, sit up straighter and you might notice that these little adjustments can drastically affect the way you look and feel. Correcting your posture helps maintain self-esteem during dress, reducing negative moods. If you’re interested in learning more about posture feel free to check out the link below!
Step 5: Talk To Someone You Love
Personally, taking care of myself isn’t complete without taking care of the people that I love. My father and siblings live really far from me. So, I try my best to keep in touch with them on a daily basis. Even if it’s for 5 minutes, just to ask how their day was or ask what they had for dinner, it’s an important phone call to me. Just hearing their voices always leaves me feeling more fulfilled. Take some time out of your busy schedule to talk to someone who you care about. I guarantee you will feel more content when you do and it will boost your mental wellness.
Step 6: Sleep
Something I’m still working on is getting enough sleep. This means turning off all technology an hour before bed, so it doesn’t interfere with my natural sleep patterns. It helps me to prepare my mind and body for the long rest ahead. A meaningful and fulfilling day starts with getting a good night’s sleep, as it’s vital to our mental and physical health.
Step 7: Meditate
The habit of meditation is one of the most important habits I’ve adopted. I don’t play any music or follow a guided meditation. But, I prefer to sit in silence and just try to calm my mind. Breathing mindfully and consciously helps me to focus on the present moment and helps me to put things into perspective. If you can find a few minutes in your day, I highly encourage you to connect with yourself in silence.
In conclusion, we all need to take a break sometimes, even if we don’t realize it. Allowing ourselves to relax and recharge our batteries is vital to avoid feeling overwhelmed and completely burnt out. Whether it’s going for a mini-vacation, spending a weekend around friends and family, or as simple as taking a short coffee/tea break during your workday -- take the time to notice your surroundings and catch your breath. If you have a huge project you’re working on or a deadline that's approaching, it might feel natural to just power through it. But, ironically, I always find that I’m more focused and productive if I take sufficient breaks in between. My mental health also improves when I am taking care of myself. Whether you take the time to watch your favorite show, read a good book, paint your nails or get a haircut, remember,
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”- Katie Reed
By: Francesca Mina