Updated: Apr 26, 2021
When we think of what it means to be “healthy”, most often the first things we think of are things like working out regularly, eating a nutritious, well-rounded diet, limiting alcohol, or avoiding harmful substances. All of those things are great and are important in a self-care practice, but we often overlook other critical pieces of the self-care health equation.
Self-care is a cornerstone of mental health and it deserves to hold a regular, sacred place in your life. In fact, your health and happiness depend on it.
After all, if your body is in top shape and you’re eating a perfect diet, but your mind is in constant chaos, and you live in a state of stress and anxiety, this can be more detrimental to your health than anything else.
What is self-care and why do we need it?
There’s been a lot of hype lately about the importance of self-care and the fact that we need to be taking time out for ourselves more. It seems everywhere we look, we’re inundated with messages to make time for self-care—which is great—but what does that vague term really mean? And what kind of concrete outcomes can practicing self-care have for your health?
Self-care is an activity we choose to engage in for our mental, physical,
emotional, social, or spiritual well-being—the result of which creates a shift in our mental energy. There are seven forms of self-care:
Emotional: Activities you engage in to help you connect with and work through your emotions
Physical: Activities you engage in for the health and wellbeing of your body
Mental: Activities you engage in for the health and wellbeing of your mind
Professional: Activities you engage in to ensure your work life is balanced and you feel fulfilled in your career
Spiritual: Activities you engage in to nurture your soul
Practical: Activities you engage in to fulfill your core needs
Social: Activities you engage in to nurture your relationships with others
It’s critical to ensure you’re engaging in activities that regularly fulfill all seven forms of self-care. When we do, we experience a number of incredible benefits:
Reduced stress and anxiety
Improved physical health
Improved emotional well-being
Greater ability to care others
Greater ability to be present for others
At its core, self-care is about being kind to yourself, honouring your needs, and caring for yourself so you can function at your very best. But one person’s idea of self-care isn’t necessarily someone else’s cup of tea. To help you start a healthy self-care regimen, here are 12 self-care tips for you to try. Take at least one, or several, for a test drive throughout your week to keep your mind, body and spirit feeling refreshed.
1. Take a luxurious bath or a pampering shower
Pull out your favourite skincare products, light some candles or diffuse some essential oils, and play some relaxing music that makes you forget your cares.
2. Go for a walk
Whether it’s an invigorating hike or just a few minutes around the block, getting your endorphins pumping will flood your brain with calm vibes.
Getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper is a great way to work through whatever’s on your mind and alleviate anxious feelings.
4. Listen to a podcast
Need some inspiration? Check out the Better Than Ever podcast episode on the importance of self-care!
5. Play a game
Break out the solitaire, do some Sudoku or a crossword puzzle,
or have a board game night with friends.
6. Dance to your favourite song
Dancing is often an overlooked form of self-care, but we want to inspire you to bring sexy back by taking a dance break whenever you’re feeling meh.
7. Purge your social media of negative or toxic people
Go through who you’re friends with and following on social media, and then ask yourself: Does this person/account bring me joy? If the answer is no, unfollow or unfriend them. Life is too short for toxic influences.
8. Be still and do absolutely nothing
Find a grassy spot outside or relax in a chair and just…let your mind wander.
9. Go to bed early
Give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep so you can conquer tomorrow like a champ.
10. Take a mental health day
Take a day and do all the things that nourish your soul. Don't worry about ANYthing else. Just focus on you.
11. Simplify your schedule
Spend some time reviewing your calendar and see where you can cut any obligations or activities that aren’t necessary or are depleting your energy. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence.
12. Purge items you no longer need
This is one of the most underrated forms of self-care out there. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter, freer, calmer, and happier you feel just by letting go of the physical objects in your living space that you don’t need or enjoy.
These 12 tips are just a short list of what you can do to practice self-care. The options are only limited by your imagination. Your best bet? Think about and focus on what activities energize and help you feel grounded. You can also grab my Ultimate Self-Care Kit, which contains 60 self-care activities, how to create a killer morning routine to start the day off right and 13 tips to boost self-confidence. You can grab it here.
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a fundamental part of mental health and deserves to hold a regular, sacred place in your life. The more you fill your self-care cup, the more energy you have for yourself and to dedicate to your kids, partner, job, and friends. You’re able to put your best self forward for anything and everything that comes your way.