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  • Alethia Winley

Self Care: Not Just Face Masks and Spa Days

We are often told by doctors, therapists, parents, teachers, influencers, and friends to “take care of your mental health” and “practice self-care”. For many of us, the first images that come to mind when we hear this are face masks, mani-pedis, scented candles, and maybe a bath bomb. “Self-Care” is synonymous with “Spa Day” in modern language. Many people don’t know that self-care is much more than that.

What is Self-Care?

Self-Care is “taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical and mental health” (National Institution of Mental Health). It involves engaging in activities that help to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance overall health and happiness. When we practice self-care, we are not only taking care of our mental and emotional health but our physical health as well. Practicing self-care can even reduce the risk of illness. It can also help to prevent burnout, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your overall quality of life.

How Do You Practice Self-Care?

Self-Care can certainly be the occasional spa day, but there are more sustainable ways to practice self-care in a more holistic and enduring way.

Here are 7 Ways to Practice Self-Care Daily:

  1. Get Regular Exercise: Exercising regularly not only boosts your physical health but can also improve your mood. And this doesn’t have to be a hard or long workout. A 15-minute walk, a 30-minute yoga session (in a class or by yourself!), or a nice bike ride around your neighborhood are all great and easy ways to make exercise part of your daily routine.

  2. Meditation and Mindfulness: Taking some time out of your day to focus on yourself, your breathing, and your goals is a wonderful way to give yourself the respect you deserve. Meditate on what you are grateful for, write down your goals, and be intentional about your mindset.

  3. Prioritize Regular and Healthy Sleep: Our bodies and minds need sleep. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night for optimal health and productivity. And that’s just the minimum! Stick to a regular sleep schedule and reduce blue light exposure from phones or other devices before bedtime.

  4. Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet: Everyone’s bodies are different. Listen to your body and learn its needs and limitations. A healthy diet goes both ways: don’t binge but also don’t practice restrictive eating. Find your balance by experimenting with different foods that make you feel your best both physically and mentally. Also, don’t forget to hydrate!

  5. Seek Professional Help When Needed: Just like we need regular check ups at the doctor to stay in good health, we need to check up regularly on our mental health. Don’t be ashamed to schedule an appointment with a therapist when you are struggling.

  6. Set Boundaries: Say it with me: It’s okay to say no. Set clear boundaries with your friends, family, and at work. Sometimes we feel like setting boundaries or saying “no” is unkind or selfish, but in reality, it is the best thing for all parties involved. By setting clear expectations for yourself and your relationships, you reduce conflict and prioritize mental health for yourself and others.

  7. Take Time for Your Hobbies or Interests: Doing something you enjoy reduces stress, boosts your mood, and gives you a moment to enjoy life. Schedule time in your day or your week to do something (big or small) that you enjoy. Go surfing, create something, take a class, or try something new!

Self-Care doesn’t need to be hard. Adding simple adjustments to your daily routine can significantly improve your life and happiness. Let yourself enjoy a nice face mask and spa treatment when you need it, but remember that self-care is a daily practice that is necessary for our physical, emotional, and mental health.


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