We all have times where we feel sad, unbalanced, or not our usual self, and during these periods it’s important to know that it is completely normal and okay. Be gentle on yourself and recognize what your body and mind actually need – a bit of self care.
There’s an odd notion around self care that you are selfish or lazy if you take time to do these kinds of activities, but this is a completely misconstrued perception because in order to be your most effective and happy self you need to take the time regularly to make sure your mind and body are in harmony. If you want to be the best parent, partner, work professional, or friend that you can be, you need to look after yourself, so never feel guilty for taking time for self care activities.
People who indulge in regular self care report back increased productivity, better physical health, better emotional wellbeing and self esteem, improved resistance to disease, better self understanding, and higher ability to give to others. If some extra self love is going to make you a healthie, happier and more well rounded person, now is the time to incorporate some self care activities into your routine.
When people have a day free they want to use it to unwind by participating in mind numbing activities such as, social media, gaming, tv, and movies. There’s nothing wrong with spending some of your down time doing these things but it’s important to realize that these activities will not actually unwind and recharge you, they simply distract your brain from thinking, which is why you find it relaxing. Instead you can do things that allow yourself space to think and let your thoughts wander, which allows your mind to process thoughts and emotions, leaving you feeling more clear minded and balanced.
Below is a list of self care activities that you can incorporate into your life to maximize your inner calm. Everyone is different so some activities may stand out to you more than others, so take note of the ones that would make you feel good.
Light up some candles and set the mood with some relaxing tunes for a zen bathroom session. Close your eyes and focus on the water around you while taking big deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allow yourself to be in the moment and just relax.
The aim of this is to make you feel fresh and confident so carry out your normal pampering/ grooming routine. This is also the perfect time to go the extra mile and do a facial or paint your nails (more so for the ladies).
When your house is cluttered your mind will feel cluttered and unorganized. Make cleaning more enjoyable by putting on your favorite happy dance tunes and get to work, once it’s done make yourself a cup of tea and admire your tidy space.
Find a relaxing place to sit where you won’t get distracted and allow yourself to get stuck into a good book. If you’re not a fan of reading you may just not have found the right book. Consider genres you may be interested in because there are literally books about everything! If you find the act of reading really boring or you get restless you can try listening to audio books or podcasts, that way you can even do something else while you listen.
Get in touch with nature, it’s what the human body is used to after all. Lay out in the sun to get some vitamin D, take your dog for a walk, or simply sit somewhere peaceful with a nice view and just daydream.
Moving your body will literally make your body feel happy by releasing feel good endorphins and getting the blood flowing throughout the muscles. Regular exercise will also have many positive effects on the body and mind including improved body composition resulting in higher body confidence. Finish your exercise with a relaxing stretching session and hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds.
If you are struggling with anything in your life at the moment journaling can be a really useful tool, think of it as a therapy session or letting out all your thoughts and emotions to a friend. Once you’ve done that, your mind will feel clearer so that you can look to reveal the best solutions to your problems and take action from there.
This is the best way to calm your mind. If you’re completely new to it you can try using a meditation app (like ‘Headspace’) or simply sit in a comfortable position and count your breath for 5 minutes. The most important thing to remember is that thoughts will keep popping up, so don’t be harsh on yourself, just gently bring your focus back to your breath. Every time you bring your focus back to your breathing it’s like a ‘bicep curl rep’ for the mind, you will get stronger at it the more your practice.
What you eat has a huge impact on the way you feel and the way your body functions. If you eat junk food you will feel crappy, if you eat a fresh fruit salad you will feel energized. With this in mind, think about what healthy foods you love and try to eat those. You should want to fill your body with nutrients while also satisfying your taste buds at the same time, which is completely achievable by the way!
Laugh, smile, connection
Without connection with others people can start to feel lonely, so a simple way to light up your mind and body is to spend time with someone who means a lot to you such as your partner, a family member, or a close friend. Go and spend some quality time together, laugh and smile, you will feel happy and content after.
Many people have a hobby they enjoy doing in their free time, but when life gets busy this can fall down the list of priorities. Give yourself permission to make time for your hobbies, these are so valuable to your happiness. If you haven’t really got a hobby that’s ok, you have the exciting opportunity to explore the possibilities. Trial some different activities and see what you like or don’t like, you will probably learn a lot about yourself in the process. Some ideas could be drawing, arts and crafts, cooking, dancing, rock climbing, music, make up/ hairstyling, photography, writing, reading, learning, and the list is endless.
Mind numb activity
Once other self care activities are complete there’s always room for a mind numbing activity where your brain doesn’t have to think and can just switch off. This is the time to watch a tv series or scroll social media, although I’ve found it can be best to set yourself a time limit for this activity to avoid checking the clock and realizing you accidently wasted 3 hours.