In this blog, you will learn about the importance of self-care, discover if you need to spend more time taking care of yourself and 20 techniques to implement that will help you relax and reduce stress, cultivate more love and compassion for yourself and help you feel happier and healthier.
When people set out on journey to gain better health and wellness, the first things they tend to focus on are diet and exercise. These are very important for health and wellness. However, there are many other important self-care techniques that must be included as well. The one thing for sure is if you’re seeking to live a healthy, sustainable life, self-care needs to be at the top of the list.
Much of our lives are filled with activity, noise, hurrying from place to place and staying busy. When all this is going on it’s incredibly difficult to feel healthy and rested and often results in feelings of stress and burn out. To nurture the health of your mind, body, and soul, you need ways to recenter and restore.
Self-care is a practice, just like going to work or taking care of your family; it requires that you make the choice to do it. It will not happen unless you intentionally make space for it. But the result is worth the effort. With a bit of self-care, you can experience more joy, rest and overall health.
As I go through this list of self-care techniques, take a mental note of the ones you are already doing and others you may like to add to your routine. Then, make a commitment to do one, or more, of these techniques each day for best results.
20 Self-Care Techniques:
- Simplify your schedule.
Do you find that you’re always busy and over-commit to doing too many things? Are there things that take up your time and energy that are no longer serving you? Is it perhaps time to let them go? Ask yourself which activities and relationships are truly adding value to your life and intentionally make space for those things. The others… make an effort to let them go.
2. Do something that energizes your body.
Exercise and movement is key to self-care. Commit to some sort of activity each day such as stretching, swimming, running, doing yoga, or whatever physical activity you enjoy. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to get moving find a buddy, someone who will do it with you and hold you accountable.
3. Take a long, warm bath.
Soaking in a bath of warm water is very relaxing for the mind, body and soul. While you’re at it, light a candle, read a magazine or listen to soothing music and fully embrace the chance to relax.
4. Create a Gratitude List.
A gratitude list is a great way to reflect on all the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Those things that bring you joy and are the most important to you. When you write the list, review it ask yourself how you can make these a priority and place more energy on nurturing these things.
5. Meet with a counselor, coach or mentor.
This could be a psychologist, therapist, health and wellness coach, a spiritual mentor or business mentor. Talking to someone who can help you release stress and work through obstacles you have in your life can be a great way to feel supported and guided to the life you desire.
6. Unplug for a day.
How much time do you spend online scrolling through social media, browsing websites, or even watching TV? One of my coaches told me a long time ago that taking time away from social media is one of the best things we can do for our mental health. I get it, social media and online browsing is a great time waster and sometimes provides information and entertainment. However, you can’t deny that there’s also a lot of negativity on social media that may leave you feeling not so great. So, choose one day a week and challenge yourself to go on a media and technology fast and turn off any unnecessary electronic devices. Even if it’s just for a few hours. You will feel better.
7. Do something new.
Is there something you have been wanting to try learning, like paying an instrument or learning how to paint? Make some time to focus in on your creative abilities and have some fun with it! Creativity comes from our sacral chakra and is an essential part of healthy energetic flow.
8. Practice meditation or contemplation.
Begin or end your day with a minute or two of deep breathing, and focused awareness of your body, thoughts, and feelings. Take these few moments to contemplate where you are in your life right now and how you feel about it. Focus on things you are grateful for, celebrate your accomplishments and visualize your goals as if they’ve already been accomplished. Then, take these positive thoughts and desires with you as you go through your day.
9. Dance and have some fun.
With the state of the world as it is right now, many of us are missing getting out and having fun with our friends. I know I sure miss the days when we could get out and dance. But you can still do this! Put on your favourite dance music and move your body like you never have before. Jump up and down to the music and feel beat flowing through your veins. Smile, laugh and have some fun!
10. Write or journal your thoughts.
Take 10 minutes each day to jot down whatever is on your mind. As you write, mentally release all thoughts and feelings without judgement. Perhaps while you write you’ll find that some creativity will begin to emerge and you will be inspired to write a short story. Or, you will gain clarity on some of your goals. Or perhaps you will feel compelled to write a letter to a loved one. This process of writing, with a physical pen and paper rather than on the computer, can be very therapeutic and good for the soul.
11. Spend quality time with a quality person.
In this world of physical distancing and government restrictions, many of us are feeling the negative effects not having human connection can have on us all. Even if you can’t physically spend time with someone you love, make an effort to call them on the phone or book a video call with them. Enjoy some good conversation and a laugh. Connection with others is something that all of us need but we must make it a priority to do so.
12. Be still and relax.
Taking a few moments to just be still and relax, without having anything to do or think about, is very healing. If you can, find a quiet place outside, connect with the beauty of nature, enjoy the smell, the sounds, the feelings and fully embrace the stillness. When’s the last time you layed down on the grass and watched the clouds go by? If you can’t do this outside, due to weather conditions, make some time to just be still at home. Find a comfy chair or lay down somewhere and just be still. At the end of a yoga practice the most important pose is savasana or corpse pose, as it allows the body to be still and embrace the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of the practice. You don’t need to practice yoga first to get the benefits of the stillness just choose a few minutes each day to relax, be calm and relate the busyness of life.
13. Practice a full day of rest.
Many religions around the world have a sacred day of rest where nothing unessential is done. Choose one day a week and take the full day to rest and rejuvenate. Get away from work, the computer or any duties and tasks that aren’t essential. You will soon crave these days when you realize how good it feels. These days will also help you to be more focused when you get back to your regular scheduled activities such as work.
Choose a place in your home, maybe it’s your closet, a dresser, your desk, kitchen or simply your email inbox and get rid of the excess and junk. I’m not saying you have to become a minimalist but getting rid of everything in your physical environment that is longer serving you will allow your mental and spiritual body to feel lighter and you’ll be better able to focus on the things that are important to you.
15. Practice mindfulness.
I recently read a book called, Awakening The Buddha Within: Eight Steps To Enlightenment, and this book spoke a lot about the healing benefits of a mindfulness practice. This does not mean you need to sit in lotus pose with your eyes closed on your meditation pillow. It means that no matter what task you are doing you savour the moment and experience your activity with attentiveness. When you stay fully present with whatever it is you are doing in the moment, you will find that you will enjoy the moment a lot more and feel more accomplished as you move from one moment to another. I’ve spent much of my life wishing I was somewhere or doing something else never fully enjoying the moment I was in. Now when I look back on those days, I realize how great they were and wish I would have enjoyed the moments a little more when I had them. We never want to look back and have regrets. Practicing mindfulness is one way to prevent that.
16. Be curious and explore.
Each day take time to be curious and explore your world as if through fresh eyes. Perhaps allow yourself to get out for leisurely stroll through your neighbourhood and just take notice of what’s around. Since I have a dog I walk with her three times a day and we have found some really neat places. I love discovering little libraries in the area and seeing what books are in there. Or, walking down a new street and looking at houses. Always move through life with curiosity and take time to explore new things. You never know what cool things you will find.
17. Reflect on your personal mission statement.
We often see businesses have a mission statement but do you have one for yourself? If you don’t have a personal mission statement take some time to create one. A personal mission statement is defined as a one to two sentence motto that shows how you define yourself as a person or a team member. It identifies your personal or professional purpose and presents why it is important to you. This statement will likely change over time that’s why when you are setting new goals for yourself set a new personal mission statement for yourself as well. My personal mission statement is derived from a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi and that is, “to be the change I want to see in the world.” I want to see a world that is filled with love and compassion for all living things. That is why I choose to live a vegan lifestyle. I also want to live in a world that is healthy which is why I choose to stay active. I want to live in a world that is informed and knowledgeable, which is why I choose to do my research and be an informed consumer rather than just go along with what is being told to me. So, what is you personal mission statement? What is your why? Take time to write it now.
18. Enjoy a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine.
You may not like chocolate or even drink alcohol but the point of this self care technique is to me, life is too short to deprive yourself of the things you enjoy. I think of this way, if I’m going to have a treat, it is going to be the best treat ever! If I eat chocolate, it’s only the best! If I drink wine it will be wine I really enjoy. What is your simple pleasure? Why are you depriving yourself? Go fo it and enjoy!
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellness. Your body recovers and repairs itself when you are sleeping. If you find you are tired through the day, take a short nap or make a point to go to bed earlier to give your body the extra rest it needs. You will feel happier and better able to focus and handle stress in your day.
When is that last time you read a book? I personally love to read and always have a book on the go. I usually go between fiction and non fiction to mix things up. Reading helps to expand the mind and give us more ideas. Reading has been proven to keep our minds young, healthy and sharp, with studies showing that reading can even help prevent alzheimer’s disease and it allows you to take some time for yourself and relax. So, pour yourself a cup of tea, find a comfy spot to curl up in and dig your nose into a great book.
Now that you have some ideas for self-care, what is one thing you can do today to get started on this important practice? If you are good at self-care, what is your favourite technique? Please share this episode with someone you think could use this information.
To listen to the audio podcast version of this article, please visit the show notes page at www.RJOWellness.com/podcast/episode-46.
Until next time my friends,
Keep rockin’ your wellness.
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA