So many holidays and life events during the year allow us to dote on the special people in our lives, but it’s often much harder to care for the most important person: ourselves.
Today and every day, celebrate “Self-Care”! Here are 11 simple self-care ideas to show yourself some love this week, this month, this year.
1. Breathe Deeply for a Few Minutes
Call it deep breathing or call it meditation; either way, pausing to observe your breath and “clear your mind” is good for you.
According to Psychology Today, meditation can help decrease stress, anxiety and depression, boost immune function, decrease inflammation, and more. Meditation is one of the best simple yet powerful self-care ideas.
Here’s how to get started with meditation:
- Find a place where you can sit comfortably and quietly for a few minutes—preferably while wearing comfortable clothes.
- Close your eyes or let them gaze gently ahead, right past your nose.
- Rest your hands on your knees or thighs and relax each part of your body.
- As you inhale through your nose, feel your belly, then chest, expand.
- Pause briefly at the top of the breath, then exhale through your mouth as your chest, then belly, empties. Pause at the bottom, then repeat.
2. Challenge Your Negative Thinking
“Automatic negative thoughts,” or ANTs, is a term coined by Dr. Daniel Amen. These negative thoughts happen quickly and sometimes subconsciously, and they can contribute to depression, anxiety, and overall unhappiness.
Next time you are feeling bad emotionally, observe your thinking. What thoughts are going through your head? Chances are, they’re not very nice—and they’re likely at least a little irrational.
Question those thoughts and see how you can flip them to be more positive.
3. Read for an Hour
Reading is good for your brain: It allows you to immerse yourself in a good story or learn something new.
Find a book that interests you (audiobooks count, too) and gift yourself an hour alone to focus on it.
4. Get an Adult Coloring Book
Adult coloring books have become extremely popular in recent years—for good reason! They can be amazing for your mental and emotional health. Go to your nearest bookstore and pick one up tonight!
5. Take a Break from Social Media and Email
The constant stimulation of the Internet can be exhausting and lead us to compare our lives to others’. Give yourself time away from it all for at least an hour—or a whole day or week, if you can.
6. Have a Green Smoothie for Breakfast
Start your day with something wholesome and filling. A good breakfast can do wonders for satiety, focus, and energy throughout the day.
7. Cook a Simple Yet Healthy Dinner
If you enjoy cooking, feel free to choose a more complex dinner and get creative.
But if cooking stresses you out, look for simple recipes that still use healthy ingredients. You’ll reduce your workload for meals while also nourishing your body with good foods.
(To further cover your nutritional bases, consider a high-quality adult multivitamin.)
8. Go for a Drive (or Better Yet, a Walk)
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house. Go for a drive and listen to your favorite music. Or, put on your tennis shoes, grab your headphones, and enjoy music or a podcast while walking around your neighborhood.
9. Rearrange the Furniture in Your Home
Change can be good; it gives your mind a new stimulus. Try moving around some furniture in your living room for a new, fun look.
Or, if you’re overwhelmed by clutter, pick just one small area of a room to clean and ease the burden a little.
10. Choose One Thing to Do Just Because It Makes You Happy
Many of us feel crushed by the obligations of a busy schedule. But self-care ideas begin with finding time for your own enjoyment.
Don’t forget to actually live. Pick something that you enjoy, even if it seems silly, and give yourself permission to do it this week.
11. Choose a Few Self-Love Affirmations for Yourself
Some examples could be:
- “I am worthy.”
- “I love my body and everything it does for me.”
- “I stop negative thoughts in their tracks.”
- “I choose not to take things personally.”
- “I deserve love.”
Say your affirmations out loud to yourself each day. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact they can make.
These are just a few self-care ideas. Personalize your own based on what makes you happy and what you need most. Above all, practice accounting for your needs in love, creativity and nourishment, as you care for everyone else in your life.