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We live in a world that doesn’t allow for much downtime. So we rush and rush, never having enough time to care for ourselves properly.
This is actually detrimental to our health, considering how important self care is to your well-being. So, you need to learn to slow down and have some time off to calm your mind and help yourself feel better, more whole and in control of your life.
What are the Benefits of Self Care?
Self care ideology is now a quite popular one, thanks in part to millenials. But long before they made it cool, Ancient Greeks had their own way of self care. It was called philautia, a word that translates to ‘love of self’. They believed that, if you did it properly and without narcissism, you were to have a strong foundation for all other kinds of love.
They believed that self love can make a person a better citizen, someone who would be able to care for others. The more they cared for themselves the more they were able to care for others.
Self care allows you to help yourself and others as well. It improves our immunity and makes us less stressed. Self care can especially help people with depression, anxiety and other issues.
It makes us feel important, loved and relaxed. Also, it shows us and others that we value ourselves and we feel better.
It makes us better at taking care of other people. Our self-esteem can soar, and our feelings of resentment will disappear.
It's not indulgent or narcissistic but rather very important and essential to us living healthy and happy lives.
Top 10 Natural Self Care Practices
People often don't take the time to create and practice self care routines. They keep giving love, energy and time but never taking the time to recharge and love themselves. They never give themselves those same things. And self care means more than just taking a warm bath or taking a nap. While these things are great, self care is more about the mental state than the physical. Remember that self care isn’t selfish or self-indulgent but rather a necessary part of our lives that will help us feel better, more centered and balanced.
So, here are some of the best practices to learn how to take care of your mind and body.
1. Start your day slowly
Start your day early, especially if you are living with someone or if you have kids. That way, you’ll be up when your home is quiet and peaceful. Listen to your thoughts and needs. Most people take this time to tick off some of the tasks on their to-do lists. Instead, practice what feels relaxing to you. Play some music, journal, meditate or just sit there quietly, savoring your morning. Listen to your mind on what it needs to better embrace the new day in a calming manner.
2. Do something good for your body
Another thing that most people do during their quiet mornings is getting straight onto the couch, their favorite chair and so on. But a good part of your mental well-being is your body. You can go for a run or walk in the morning, do some exercises or do yoga to get your blood flowing. You can also take a long shower, get dressed in your favorite outfit, and so on. These things will make you feel confident and more in line with yourself. If you don’t like any of these things, pick something more simple that involves your body and makes you happy. Dancing, getting a new manicure, a new haircut all count.
3. Pay attention to the negative self-talk
People often talk badly to themselves and don’t even notice. But this affects their feelings about themselves and can damage your self worth. Notice your tone of voice and what you are telling yourself. Then do whatever you can to remove that negative talk and be kinder to yourself. Treat yourself the way you do a loved friend. Your kind voice will grow stronger each day until it has completely replaced the negative one. If you're having trouble achieving this on your own, a therapist may be able to help.
4. Take notice of your feelings and honor them
Everyone feels insecure sometimes. This is natural and you can’t avoid it. But, instead of ignoring how you feel, you need to acknowledge those feelings and then slowly work towards making them more positive by giving them love and compassion. Don’t judge or criticize yourself for your shortcomings or for having these feelings. Be kind and understanding towards yourself just like you are to others. There is no need for you to be perfect. You can then learn from those feelings and understand how to go back to a different path.
5. Get into your routine
This may sound scary but a routine is everything but boring. It brings stability, predictability and makes you comfortable in your own skin. You can use it in the areas where you feel like you need some help or in areas where you need most focused. This can mean getting enough sleep, doing some physical activities and so on. Your routine is an evolving process, so feel free to change it up and leave room for new additions.
6. Make a “No” list
Being sure of what you don’t want is equally as important as knowing what you want. Be willing to let go of things that make you feel bad or unhappy. You shouldn’t do these things. So, make a list of all things that you no longer want to do. Stick to your list, especially when you feel pressured. This creates space for better things for you.
7. Take the time to meditate
Meditation is a sacred space where you get to focus on your own body and mind. It takes you away from the noise and clutter and helps you find a calming place within yourself. It will take some practice and it’s a habit that some people quit after the first day because they never seem to find enough time for it. But just a few minutes of meditating every day can help you feel less tense, less tired and overwhelmed.
8. Learn to forgive
We often find ourselves holding on to our past grudges and past in general. But to forgive is to be free of all of those headaches and pain. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Take a step back and see how other people are also hurt. See how you have been inflicting the same pain they inflicted upon you. Then choose forgiveness. It won’t change how you feel about the person or the pain they caused you but it will help you reclaim yourself.
9. Spend time with people you like
True power lies in true fellowship and friendship. Let go of your walls and find people that you truly like and that really understand you. Make sure that you understand what qualities those people need in order for them to be in your tribe. Then do your best to attract those people and develop those relationships.
10. Take time to be grateful
In this world, where we keep wanting more and more, we can lose sight of all the good in our lives. Take the time to be thankful. This will allow you to be positive and embrace life. You'll be a happier person if you acknowledge what you are grateful for.
How Can You Develop a Self Care Plan?
Every person is different, so every self care plan will be different as well. While you may find cleaning relaxing, someone else will feel the same way about taking a walk. So, your plan will be completely your own.
For starters, get a notebook that will help you create and track your plan. Then, create a list within that notebook.
This list should contain all of the things that make you happy and relaxed.
Make sure that you address these areas of life:
- Workplace self care
- Physical self care
- Spiritual self-care
- You can practice self care in all of these areas.
You don't have to do all of the things on your list daily. Pick three and try to do them every day. When you're feeling down, take your list, pick one thing and do it to feel better.
Improving Your Physical Health
Physical health is very important to your well being. Maintaining your physical health is not expensive and it just takes some commitment and effort on your part. Here are some tips:
- Drink more water and less sugary drinks
- Exercise frequently (even climbing the stairs or taking the long way back to your desk is an exercise)
- Eat fruit and vegetables every day for every meal – avoid junk food and sugar as much as you can
- Get plenty of sleep
- Wash your hands often
Improving Your Emotional Health
Emotional health is just as important as physical health, although some cultures still refuse to accept it. But just because you can't see something, it doesn't mean it's not there. In fact, poor emotional health can lead to many physical health issues. Here are some of the ways you can improve your emotional health:
- Have a support system
- Exercise to get rid of anxiety and bad mood
- Invest your time in a new hobby or other things you like
- Meditate or do yoga to relieve stress
- Set goals and manage your time
- Get plenty of sleep
- Learn to say no to things you're not interested in
Do you have any helpful self care tips to share? Spread the love down in the comments below!