How to take care of yourself
The concept of self-care is one we’re hearing about more and more lately. The world today often feels out of our control and many people are struggling with feeling disconnected, stressed and anxious about the future. Everyone seems to be asking, why is self-care important? And what are some self-care tips that I can use to take care of my mind, body and soul?
Think about the safety speech you hear every time you’re on a plane. If you’re traveling with other people who might need your help in case of an emergency, the flight attendants tell you to be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before tending to those in your care. Why? Because if you help others without ensuring your own safety first, you might pass out.
The same logic can be applied to your everyday life. When you focus on self-improvement physically, emotionally and mentally, you become better able to pursue your goals and enrich the lives of the people around you. You’re able to focus on the good in life, increase your resilience and see light where you used to see darkness. You become the best version of yourself – the version that can be more, do more and achieve a more positive impact on the world.
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What is self-care?
Self-care is a generalized term that’s recently grown in popularity. A good self-care definition is regularly doing things for yourself that make you feel good. Many people think of one-time treats like scheduling some alone time with a good book, treating yourself to a spa day or booking a getaway, and these can be excellent self-care tips for mental health and recharging. But the key to meaningful, long-lasting self-care is to practice self-love and prioritize how to take care of yourself on a deeper level.
In order to truly prioritize yourself, you must believe that you are worth it. You must believe that you deserve the gift of joy. When you put yourself first, you not only ensure you are the best “you” possible, but you also reinvigorate yourself. You have more energy and joy to give in other areas of your life, creating a cycle of happiness and fulfillment that builds upon itself.
Why is self-care important?
Current events are getting to all of us. The world remains uncertain – and while we all need a bit of variety, certainty is one of the most powerful of the Six Human Needs. When we don’t get the certainty we crave, we can give in to negative states like fear, anxiety and depression. Love and connection is another deep human need that for many of us feels out of reach, as the world becomes more disconnected than ever. Even if you’ve always been strong and steadfast, the state of the world is bound to wear on your inner strength.
When you’re dealing with uncertainty and disconnection, it becomes more important to take a step back and focus on how to take care of yourself. You can’t be your best for others and strive to make the changes you want to see in the world if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Effective self-care is important to reduce stress at work and at home, reconnect with yourself to strengthen your true nature and set a good example for your kids or others who look up to you.
So why is self-care important? It’s critical to our mental health and emotional well-being. Self-care tips are effective tools that allow you to view problems as opportunities rather than obstacles. This means you are better positioned to create breakthroughs in all areas of your life. Stop thinking of self-care as selfish – it’s actually one of the most selfless things you can do right now.
Self-care tips for mental health look different for everyone. What’s soothing to one person could be stressful to another. An extrovert may find that socializing with friends is an excellent form of self-care while an introvert would find this draining. However, there are some tips that work for the majority of people and will help you begin to master how to take care of yourself.
1. Schedule it in
We know the answer to “Why is self-care important?,” but too often we make excuses for why we can’t practice it: we don’t have the time, we don’t know what to do, we’d rather be marathoning Netflix or cleaning the house. If you’re not used to taking care of yourself, it may be difficult at first to figure out what self-care tips work for you. If this is the case, you’ll benefit from scheduling in “me time” on a daily or weekly basis.
Reserve 20 minutes in the morning to read or meditate. Block off one evening a week to indulge in a long bath or visit with a friend. These are great ways to keep yourself on track and make self-care part of your regular routine. It’s also important to let those close to you know what you’re doing so they can be supportive of your new self-care practices.
2. Get physical
We often overlook our physical health when discussing mental and emotional health, but the mind-body connection can’t be denied. When your body feels healthy and strong, your mood soars, and when you’re in a great emotional state, it shows in how you move your body. Make it a point to regularly engage in physical activities you love as a form of self-care.
Whether it’s going for a run, swimming or attending a yoga class, changing your physical state from sedentary to active is a fulfilling way to take care of yourself. It can even be something as quick as going for a walk during your lunch hour or doing ten minutes of stretches before work. Whatever self-care tips you decide to incorporate, make sure they bring you at least some level of happiness. Forcing yourself to jog every morning if you’re miserable the entire time is not self-care.
3. Change your mindset
It’s hard to feel fulfilled when you’re constantly focusing on the negatives in life. Why? Because where your focus goes, your energy flows. Say you’re at a restaurant on an incredible date with someone you’re deeply interested in. Everything’s going well until your waiter mixes up your order and you end up getting the wrong dish. You decide to eat the incorrect order but are secretly fuming about it. When you look back on the evening, you can hardly remember your connection with your date, but you still remember receiving the wrong order.
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, learn to adopt an abundance mindset. This is perhaps one of the most life-changing self-care ideas you can incorporate into your life. Reframing your thoughts and shifting your focus is a deliberate practice that takes time. However, if you’re able to accomplish it, you’ll experience greater joy and fulfillment in all areas of your life.
One practice that can help you change your mindset is meditation. Meditation helps you clear your mind and focus on the present. It has many proven benefits including reducing stress, regulating mood and even making you more productive. And what is self-care if not a way to ultimately help you be your best self?
There are many different types of meditation: mindfulness meditation focuses on being present, relaxation meditation physically relaxes your body and loving-kindness (or mantra) meditation focuses on self-love and love of others. You can find plenty of examples of these online, so learn about several types to see what fits for you. Like self-care, effective meditation is different for everyone.
5. Eat nutritious foods
When you think of self-care comfort foods, you might envision treats like cupcakes or huge, rich and savory meals. While it’s certainly beneficial to treat yourself once in a while, envision self-care in the form of more sustainable foods that make you feel good like leafy greens, alkaline foods and items that energize. Instead of viewing food as a reward, reframe it as fuel for your body.
Reward yourself with activities you enjoy, like giving yourself an hour to read or checking out a new workout video. When it comes to food, treat yourself by going to a local juice shop and finding a smoothie that calls to you or cooking a healthy new recipe at home. Understand that the food you put into your body has a direct effect not only on your mood and energy level, but also on the quality and length of your life. Eating a healthy diet is not just one of the best self-care tips you can incorporate, but it can also mean the difference between an active, fulfilling life and one plagued by sickness and limitations.
6. Say “no”
Knowing when to say “no” is one of the self-care tips that people have the most trouble with. Between work and your personal life, it feels like you’re always saying “yes” when people ask you for something. It can be rewarding to have a full calendar, but it’s also important to know when to say “no.” If you’re feeling run down or spread thin, grant yourself the ultimate luxury: downtime.
By taking the necessary time needed to recharge, you’ll bolster your energy and be able to return to your regular schedule with increased energy and gusto. Carefully choose when you say “yes” and make sure you are only agreeing to activities or requests that align with your values or bring you happiness. When following your passion is one of your self-care activities, you seamlessly create a business and life you love.
7. Practice focus and gratitude
Self-care doesn’t always have to involve making major changes to your lifestyle. All you have to do is find a few minutes to reflect each morning. Instead of reaching for your phone or hitting the snooze button when you wake up, use a priming routine. This 10-minute exercise requires you to become conscious of your breathing, practice gratitude, visualize what you want and focus your newfound positive energy on accomplishing goals that are important to you.
Your morning routine can also include a cold shower and a healthy breakfast, both of which can help you focus throughout the day. To practice gratitude, start a journal. There are many benefits of journaling, including helping you deal with your emotions. Whatever you choose, creating a morning routine can help you to stay on track and centered throughout the day. It can also help you deal with challenges as you learn that even the biggest roadblocks can be reframed into an advantageous opportunity.
8. Do something fun
Fun is the final piece of the puzzle of knowing how to take care of yourself. When was the last time you felt pure joy? Maybe your favorite song came on and you danced around your house or sang at the top of your lungs in the car. Maybe you got completely “in the zone” working on a new piece of art or a project around the house. Or you took a road trip to a completely new place, or got your adrenaline going with a new fitness activity.
When we’re stressed, it’s easy to forget that self-care means doing things that bring us joy. With many of our go-to fun activities no longer available to us or shifted online in a socially distanced world, it’s hard to get in the mindset of having fun for its own sake. So step away from the computer. Don’t check your email this weekend. Forget what the world wants you to be concerned about. Go do something fun!
9. Use self-care products
Adding some self-care products such as supplements and nutritional shakes can help you increase immunity and ensure proper nutrition. When you have the right nutrients, you feel better both physically and mentally and have more energy to give to others. When choosing self-care products, do your research and check the ingredients to make sure you’re getting the most effective and safe supplements on the market.
Never forget that self-care is personal and highly individualized. What’s important is incorporating the self-care tips that resonate with you and bring you inner peace. Find activities you enjoy and make the time to luxuriate in them. Whether you find yourself reading a good book in a bubble bath or going on a 10-mile run, know that the way you engage in self-care is yours alone.
Incorporate these self-care tips into your normal routine so you can continue feeling energetic and excited about your goals. Remember that taking care of yourself is not a selfish activity – it’s the way you can best position yourself to help others and add to the world as a whole.
Feed your body, mind and soul
Download Tony Robbins’ free digital Ultimate Health Guide for more self-care tips and healthy lifestyle routines that can help you reach the results you desire.