Perfect attendance has never been an award that interests me; I’ve always found it more important to give myself mental and physical health days to relax and heal. This willingness to take a day off from school or work is just one way I’ve been practicing self-care.
We recently published a piece on the three general areas of self-care to be addressing in your life. But even armed with these general concepts it’s sometimes difficult to actually practice self-care, self-love, and stress relief. So, here are our top tips on some more specific methods of care.
1. Engage In Yoga, Pilates, or Other Movement-Based Relaxation
By now you’ve probably heard of the benefits of the stretching and breathing exercises these disciplines can offer. There is much thought and theory about the connection between bodily health and mental health. But with the exclusive classes, expensive work out gear, and culture of perfectly bent Instagram yoga bodies, you may think that this method of relaxation is too elite for you.
However, the internet makes yoga and Pilates accessible and affordable for everyone. Free online videos on platforms like YouTube provide a number of options for pursuing this discipline on your own. You can take care of yourself in this way alone, or with a few close friends, with no pressure, and no stress to your wallet.
Holding in feelings and experiences can build up resentment, stress, and toxic feelings. Journaling has been a great outlet in my own life for reconciling that. To-do lists in particular allow me to bring the nebulous pressure of my thoughts and obligations into a manageable page of numbers. There’s no set model you have to follow. Your “journal” can be a Word document, a spiral notebook, an artsy leather diary, or just a blog. A journal can be made up of words, drawings, or even just ticket stubs, whatever allows you to self-reflect.
Speaking of self-reflection, the quiet time of introspection that meditation practices can offer can allow for relaxation and self-care. If you are religious, this can be associated with prayer, but it doesn’t have to be. What it should be is a time away from distractions such as electronics, and a time where you are comfortable. I like to take showers or baths when I need to face my thoughts because it forces me to both relax and be separated from my phone.
4. Pamper Yourself
This is perhaps the method that most comes to mind when you think of “self-care,” but it should not be discounted for its simplicity. A “treat-yourself” attitude is actually a wonderful way to engage in self-love. Whether it’s moisturizing and nail polish, a favorite food, or permission to watch Netflix in your favorite PJs, self-pampering can easily function has a method of self-forgiveness. You are allowed to be pampered, and you deserve it.
5. Seek Professional Help
The methods listed above are just some of the ways you can take care of yourself. But ultimately it’s important to realize you can’t always do it yourself and you don’t have to. Sometimes your tension so much it requires a professional masseuse. And sometimes your mental health requires professional health care. There’s no shame it that.
What ways do you engage in practical self-care? Let us know in the comments!
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.