The opportunities to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health are endless. Whether you’re looking to check in, refresh, or relax, these self-care tips are guaranteed to give your mood a boost!
Self-care tips for your mind, spirit, and body
Self-care is a term that's easily defined: caring for yourself. Essentially, anything you do to prioritize your mental, physical, and spiritual health is self-care. However, while the term is easy to define, putting self-care into practice isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The world we live in demands a lot of us. Equally, as humans, we tend to demand a lot of ourselves. We're driven to perform, and there's nothing wrong with being productive or ambitious. The problem is that we too often neglect self-care when it stands in the way of getting more things done.
Knowing how to do self-care will have a profound effect on your overall well-being. Moreover, self-care helps you live a more balanced life. By practicing self-care, we're making an investment in our current and future selves, and we become more resilient and better able to confidently navigate life’s challenges.
1. Move your body
Taking care of our bodies is an important priority, but self-care physical exercise isn't about doing intense workouts. It's OK to take a break in the middle of your day to move your body with activities like stretching or a leisurely stroll around the block. When we take a half hour for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate—whether in the morning, the middle of the day, or after work—we release tension and give ourselves some love in a way that doesn't require us to take a shower afterward.
By stretching and moving our bodies, we also promote flexibility and balance. Moving the body more often is an investment in our long-term health and well-being. The key to making body movement a consistent self-care practice is to find something that's easily accessible for you. Maybe this means taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or listening to your favorite podcast while you take a stroll instead of watching TV in the evening.
2. Disrupt your routine for a day
Have you ever found an unexpected pocket of time in the middle of a busy day? For example, maybe you were at work and your boss spontaneously told the entire office to leave an hour early. Or perhaps you had plans that fell through at the last minute, and your introverted soul secretly rejoiced because you suddenly recaptured a few hours of time for yourself.
These disruptions are usually a good thing, and it's in these unexpected moments that adventures often arise. There's no reason you can't plan in advance to disrupt your day. You could take an afternoon off and use that time to browse a bookstore or visit a museum. In other words, feed your spirit in a way that’s atypical. Just be sure you make your planned disruption all about giving yourself some self-care. It can be tempting to pack this new-found block of time with the tasks that are waiting for you, but this time is all for you to do something that feeds your spirit.
3. Unplug from technology
Without question, technology adds value to our lives. The internet, computers, smartphones, and TV make us more productive and efficient, and these tools give us a world of knowledge at our fingertips. Whether for learning, working, or enjoying some relaxing free time with a favorite show, most of us are connected in one way or another at all times. Specifically, a study conducted by Penn State showed that Americans spend more than 10 hours a day staring at screens. Unplugging from technology for a day (or half a day) is one of the easiest ways to practice self-care.
When we unplug, we start to pay attention to our thoughts again, and we become more present. We begin to notice the world around us, whether inside our homes or outside in nature.
Unplugging isn't just about stepping away from your computer screen. Consider putting your phone on "do not disturb" so that only the most important people can get through to you. Turn your smartphone upside down on your desk or bedside table so you're not distracted by notifications. Even better, leave it on your desk as you go explore your world.
4. Schedule a time for worrying (budget, planning, news)
Most of us tend to reactively deal with issues and worries as they arise. For example, when a news alert pops up in our notifications, maybe we stop what we're doing to read it. Or we spend varying portions of our day on planning. This can be creating to-do lists, clearing out our email inboxes, and budgeting.
Everyone has issues to worry about. These issues can include financial worries, personal challenges you're facing, or staying on top of current events. Creating a window of time—an hour or two every weekday—to devote to these concerns frees up the rest of your day for more positive things, and you have more time for self-care. In fact, setting up a designated period for dealing with issues that come up is a form of self-care.
5. Document your life journey
We’re all taking our own unique journeys through life, and your path is unlike that of anyone else in the world. Documenting your journey—whether through a bound journal, scrapbook, or blog—is a great way to practice self-care. Journaling helps us process our thoughts, getting them out of our heads and onto paper. However, reflection doesn't have to be done with pen and paper or even via a blog. You can create a video journal and share your thoughts with others online or keep them for yourself.
Maintaining an ongoing gratitude journal is also helpful. Consider spending time in reflection at the end of every day, jotting down the things that you feel grateful for. Or sit down at the end of the week and list the happenings that have affected you in a positive way.
Another idea is to get creative with documenting your journey. Creating a scrapbook of your life's milestones serves as a tangible reminder of the paths you've taken, and creating artwork that's meaningful to you serves the same purpose.
6. Indulge in reading fiction
Is reading the latest novel by your favorite author one of your guilty pleasures? If so, you already know one of the best things to do for self-care. According to research, reading fiction can benefit your memory, creativity, and cognitive abilities.
So go ahead and immerse yourself in an engrossing story and allow yourself a good dose of healthy escapism. Read a genre you already love or try something completely new, such as historical fiction, romance, or literary fiction.
7. Spend time with animals
Cuddling a furry kitten or playing fetch with a rambunctious puppy can be good for your health. When you spend time with animals, you’re connecting to another living creature, and these are creatures that are non judgemental and love unconditionally.
If you have a pet already, this isn’t news to you. However, if you don't have pets of your own, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter. According to science, giving back feels good, and when you combine volunteering with spending time with vulnerable animals, it’s a winning combination. For example, these havens for homeless animals often need volunteers to help socialize kittens so that they’re adoptable. It’s nearly impossible to focus on your worries when you’re spending time with vulnerable animals. And who knows? You may fall in love with one of these loveable creatures and have a new best friend.
8. Take a nap
As children, most of us dreaded being put down for a nap. However, as a grown adult with lots of responsibilities, a nap probably feels like a luxury you can’t afford. The fact is, naps are excellent for self-care, but it’s also a great investment into your productivity. The key to an effective nap is to keep it short. If you let yourself sleep too long, you may feel groggy when you wake up.
Experts agree napping for 20-30 minutes is ideal for a quick recharge. Find a quiet spot without distractions, using earplugs or an eye mask if you find it hard to sleep during the daytime. If you have a hard time sleeping in the middle of the day, use your naptime to do some reading. Just the act of lying still in a bed is refreshing, even if you don’t go to sleep.
9. Clean up what you take in
A great way to clean up what you take in is to embrace a cleaner diet. The food you eat has a significant impact on your mental health and could be a game changer in your energy and mental clarity. Local farmers' markets provide healthy, affordable produce options and meats for you to enjoy.
In addition to eating cleaner, another way to practice self-care is to reduce your caffeine intake. While coffee has health benefits, you can reap the same benefits by drinking half-caff or decaf coffee.
Cleaner eating is a great start to self-care through eating, but don't forget to treat yourself now and then. When you're rewarding yourself with a healthy treat—such as a couple of pieces of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate—it definitely falls into the pamper and self-care category.
10. Get outside
When the sun is out and the weather is warm, you have ample opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, a nearby park, or your own backyard. Spending time outside moving your body or just relaxing are great ways to get fresh air in your lungs and vitamin D into your system.
Especially if you live in a region where frigid winters and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are common, time outside in the warmer months can bolster your immune system and mental health while lowering your stress levels. It’s also a great time to explore where you live, visit small businesses, find local hikes, or enjoy a day at the beach.
11. Give your home a refresh
It’s always a great time to clean, declutter, and maintain your home inside and out. Small details add up to big results here, so you don’t have to worry about major projects and remodels unless they’re timely, affordable, and needed. Clearing cobwebs from corners and molding, washing pillows and bedding, and rearranging your furniture can make any space feel new again.
If you want to take things a step further, consider going through your belongings one room at a time to sort out any broken or donatable items. Removing things like expired food, old children’s toys, or clothes that no longer fit can leave you with extra storage or even more space to leave open and refreshed in your home.
If you’re a homeowner who finds yourself constantly stressed about maintaining appliances and avoiding a home emergency, look into appliance warranties that provide timely repair or replacement of items like your fridge and garage door opener. Also available for your home’s HVAC systems, these warranties can mean the difference between a broken air conditioner on a hot day and an efficient cooling system providing your family with fresh, clean air. This can contribute to your peace of mind all year long.
12. Check in with yourself
Outside or in, spending some time alone with yourself can do you a lot of good. Consider setting aside some quiet time to meditate, pray, journal, or rest. These moments alone can help you get in touch with how you’re really feeling and where your mental health is at, away from opinion and outside influence.
Perhaps the most important part of spending time alone is making sure you’re actually alone. This means removing any access you have to tech devices and finding a spot where you’ll remain uninterrupted. The more you practice this routine, the more comfortable you’re going to feel. Over time, these intentional moments can help you with goal-setting, communicating with others, and feeling more at ease.
13. Spend time in community with others
This might seem contradictory to what we talked about in the last section, but it’s important that you balance your moments alone with time spent building relationships. Whether you’re with family or friends, or in a community of faith, healthy relationships with others carry a lot of benefits for your mental and emotional health.
This is a great opportunity for those who experience social anxiety to practice their grounding techniques and create a safe, communicative environment with others. If you’re looking to keep busy or get creative, consider checking out your local YMCA or community center for cooking classes, weekly bingo, or recreational sports leagues. Other great community activities include volunteering together, having a picnic, or doing a paint ‘n’ sip evening.
14. Give yourself a break from social media
Just like you have a home for your body, your body is your home. If you’re cleaning and decluttering your physical space, consider making some changes to what you put into your body as well. It’s always good to evaluate things like your food intake, screen time, and media exposure.
We all know how easy it is to get lost in our phones these days. Between TikTok providing commitment-free bursts of entertainment and social media constantly jarring us with opinions, gossip, and unrealistic expectations, it’s important to log off and stay in touch with reality.
It’s a simple truth; we can’t thrive off of knowing every minute detail of someone else’s life, especially if they’re a complete stranger. If you’re interested in cutting back, you’re not alone in the challenge it poses. Remember to start small, remove your phone or TV from one meal a day, commit to a device-free friend hangout, or—if you’re feeling brave—turn your phone off for an entire day of exciting activities.
Now that you know how to do self-care, what's the next step?
Whether you’re adventuring, decluttering, relaxing or starting a new hobby, there are plenty of ways to find balance and give your mental health a boost. Don’t be afraid to make the most of it, and remember that caring for yourself means that you can be a better person for the important people in your life
Evidation Members can earn points for tracking self-care activities such as walking, sleeping, food intake, and more. Download our app today to learn more.