Self-care refers to any means of improving health and wellbeing a person does on their own, for themselves. While the term self-care is relatively new, the concept, of course, has always been around. In fact, caring for yourself is one of those essential, basic things that every person must do to flourish. You need self-care to be happy and successful in life.
Self-care is generally all about recovering from the stress and pressure of work, school, or life in general. Reducing anxiety is key to both mental and physical health. Since what relieves anxiety is not the same for everyone, self-care will vary considerably from person to person. Still, here are six good forms of self-care you should think about trying.
- Take a bath. Getting into a nice hot bath is naturally relaxing. While a shower is more utilitarian, a bath is all about taking some time to let your cares drift away. Simply drawing a bath is a way to signal to your fevered brain that you are going to avoid doing anything that causes stress or is demanding for a little while. While in a bath you can read, listen to music or a podcast, or simply do nothing.
- Go outside. Humans weren’t designed to spend all day cooped up indoors. Natural light, the feeling of the wind, and simply being out from under a roof all serve to release tension and improve your mood. Getting outdoors is particularly valuable if you have an office job or spend a lot of your time staring at a screen. While visiting a park or other place filled with plants and trees is optimal, even being outside on a city street is good.
- Journal. Writing down your ideas and feelings is a great way to process what’s going on in your life. Oftentimes, putting your thoughts down on paper (or on a screen) helps you achieve perspective on things. If you are struggling with something in your life, simply write freely about how the problem is making you feel. Journaling will often result in valuable insights. Through journaling, you can often see deeper into your own feelings.
- Move a little. While low-key methods of self-care are valuable, more active self-care tactics are good too. Walking, dancing, running, or any other form of physical exertion is a natural way to raise mood and relieve stress. Even when you are feeling depressed and have little motivation, getting moving will make you feel better once you are started. Physical exertion triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals connected to positive emotions.
- Spend time with someone you love. Being connected to other people is essential to emotional wellness. Loved ones, whether they are friends, family, or romantic partners, are what makes life truly worth living. Simply talking to someone who really cares about you will help you reconnect with what is most important in this world. It’s strong emotional bonds that give a person the strength to be resilient in the face of challenges.
- Do nothing. Being busy with activity every minute of every day is not healthy. You need some quiet moments in which your mind can wander, or you can reflect deeply on matters. Even something designed to relieve anxiety can sometimes demand more from your brain than is good. Just sit somewhere or lie down for a few minutes. Don’t try to think of anything specific. Simply let your mind gradually unwind.
Self-care isn’t at all about being selfish. Nor is it, in the larger picture, even fundamentally a matter of putting yourself ahead of others. You see, to be someone who can care for others, you first have to be someone who is cared for yourself. Someone who is drowning in stress and feels miserable won’t be able to be a good friend, good romantic partner, good employee, or capable of much of anything. That’s why placing a high priority on your self-care is important no matter how you look at it.