Life can sometimes feel like it is going at 100 mph. In order to keep up with our fast-paced society, it’s really important to take care of ourselves to avoid burning out.
Self care is crucial, but does not necessarily mean going abroad on a retreat in order to take care of yourself. There are hundreds of things you can be doing to help improve your overall happiness, wellbeing and quality of life. So, here is some information on the importance of self care and 80 self care ideas to spark some inspiration.
What is self care
Self care is the actions people take, and the mindset they develop, in order to maintain, develop and prolong their health and wellbeing.
Self care can be small things such as getting enough sleep, setting boundaries, washing your face and brushing your teeth, to bigger things like rehabilitation, recovery and help from healthcare professionals. In this post, we will be covering the different types of self care to implement into your life.
Why is self care so important
Life is like a whirlwind, it happens so quick and we are all working hard towards something or another. But what happens when we neglect to care for ourself? It is easy to say that “hard work pays off” or that you are “okay”, “this is just the way it is”. Selfcare is not a luxury or a reward, it is crucial in your life and your path to success, whatever that may mean for you.
It is really important to take care of yourself in the short run, as well as the long run.
Self care will help you thrive in your current position, as well as help you make progress in the future. Taking care of yourself does not have to be a full spa weekend retreat, there are hundreds of things you can be doing, big and small, that can make some life changing differences to your mental wellbeing.
Small things, like having your lunch after you have finished a project, is not taking care of yourself. A vital part of your day is pushed back and you are rewarded with it. You are then forced to finished your project with a lack of energy and motivation.
Regularly practising self care can:
- Reduce stress, anxiety and prevention of a burn out
- Boost concentration and productivity
For example, a study involving Nurses, using a wellbeing course including relaxation techniques concluded that the course and enduring selfcare is useful in impacting the levels of emotional exhaustion they were succumbed to.
80 self care ideas
Here are 80 self care ideas you can implement in both your daily life and life in general. These have been split into 5 categories; physical activity, mindfulness, relationships, food and drink and activities.
This doesn’t have to be high impact workouts, this could simply be a walk, a swim or a yoga class. It also does not have to cost you anything, walking or a workout with a youtube video is completely free. It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise, but that’s not what you need in order to do it. Working out is overcoming the mental barriers you place on yourself. It requires time, energy and effort, which, some of us just don’t have. However, there are various studies that prove that regular exercise can not only benefit our physical health, but our mental health as well.
- Move from your bed to another room
- Regularly exercise
- Try a new gym class/workout program
There are a plethora of benefits to mindfulness. A short session of mindfulness alone can instantly help you de-stress, relax and connect to your mind. Mindfulness has been proven to help manage your mind and help with depression, anxiety and repetitive thoughts.
- Practise yoga
- Start a regular meditation practise
- Journal your thoughts and your dreams
- Adopt some breathing techniques
- Create a vision board
- Create some affirmations and say them out loud, every morning and night
- Relax with a scent, for example, a candle, essential oils
- Write a list of things you are thankful
- Write a list of things you are grateful for
- Let yourself feel your emotions – smile, laugh, cry, whatever you are feeling – let it all out
- Find 5 things that make you smile
- Let go of the past
- Forgive yourself and others
- Observe your thoughts
- Let go of fear
- Just breathe
- Write down 10 things you love about yourself
- Create a new morning routine
- Go sit on some grass, or at the beach, take your shoes off and breathe in the fresh air (even take a book with you!)
Relationships are hard. Some of us believe we are better off alone, or just struggle to be around other people. There is nothing wrong with spending time alone and enjoying your own company. But at the same time, it is important to not completely isolate yourself. Relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. There is also compelling evidence that shows the negative effects of neglecting relationships and living in isolation, comparable with the effects of smoking and drinking.
There is an interesting study called the Grant Study, which involved mentally healthy Harvard sophomore students. This run in tandem with the Glueck Study with disadvantaged inner city youths.
They were all America men, evaluated at least every two years. Information about their health (both mental and physical) career, retirement, enjoyment, marriage and quality of life. The point of the study was to identify the factors of healthy ageing.
The study concluded that those with warmer relationships with people and their parents, experienced more life satisfaction, lower anxiety and higher salaries. This is a great example of why we should not neglect relationships.
- Cuddle a friend/family member
- Cuddle with a pet
- Meet up with a friend/family member
- Call a friend
- Connect with an old friend/family member
- Tell someone you love them
- Create and vocalise new boundaries
Food & drink
Eating well does not just effect our physical health, but also our mental health. Being able to enjoy everyday foods (like cake) is great and we shouldn’t restrict ourselves. But we should also ensure balance in our eating habits and correctly fueling our bodies with nutrients, and lots of vegetables! Various studies have shown the link between the food we eat and how it makes us feel. Having a good, balanced diet can help our feelings of depression, anxiety and fatigue.
One study in particular, based on a Mediterranean diet (which is full of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, beans and unsaturated fats) along with regular fish oil supplements, concluded after six months of consistency with the diet, led to a reduction in depression. Another study by the Health Survey for England concluded that levels of wellbeing were much higher in those who ate more fruit and vegetables.
- Bake a cake
- Cook and enjoy a meal full of vegetables
- Go to the market and do a food shop with lots of good food to give you energy and fuel your body
- Enjoy your favourite meal
- Reduce fizzy drinks/alcohol intake
- Enjoy your favourite treat
- Cook a meal for your friend
- Prep all your meals for the week
- Drink lots of water
Participating in new activities has been proven to help with mental health. Whether it is trying a new hobby, seeing some friends or star gazing, you will immediately be able to feel the a relief of stress and pressure. This is do to new environments, new perspectives, meeting new people, not being alone, keeping your mind busy and getting fresh air.
Those are just some of the proven benefits to participating in activities on mental health. But they do not have to be social activities to benefit you, for example, adult colouring in books, have seen some huge benefits. Yes they can appear to be fad on the outset, as shelves have been flooded with them. But, one study in New Zealand had control groups of people with mental health problems and compared one group with those intervened with colouring books and those who were not, over the period of a week. They concluded that the group who were participating in therapeutic colouring, saw a significant reduction in levels of depression, stress and anxiety. If this was just over a week, can you imagine the long term benefits? But colouring may not be for everyone, so here is a long list of other activities you may participate in to take care of your mental wellbeing.
- Read a book
- Create a playlist of all your favourite songs and sing your heart out
- Watch your favourite film
- Take a nap
- Go to therapy/see a professional
- Doodle, draw or enjoy a colouring book
- Write your younger/future self a letter
- Take yourself out for a meal, cinema or spa
- Star gaze
- Enjoy a day/night out with your friends
- Grow some plants
- Tidy your house/bedroom
- Watch the sunset/sunrise
- Plan a pamper day/night
- Take a hot shower/bath
- Get a massage
- Watch some funny videos on youtube
- Say no more often
- Stop trying to please people and make your own decisions
- Try a new hobby / book onto a new class
- Arts and crafts and get creative
- Create a quiet space at home – fill it will plants/candles, whatever tickles your fancy.
- Declutter your home/bedroom
- Sort through all your clothes and give what you don’t wear to good will
- Listen to podcasts on a topic you are interested in/want to learn about
- Change your bedsheets
- Tell someone you love them
- Get an early nights sleep
- Do a puzzle
- Learn something new
- Detox from social media
- Turn off from technology altogether for an hour/afternoon
- Redecorate/move furniture around
- End a toxic relationship
- Wake up early and make yourself a nice breakfast
- Take action towards a goal
- Give yourself permission to do nothing
- Treat yourself to a spa day/massage
- Create a photo board/album
Self care is regularly underestimated, but it is a crucial part of your life and should be treated that way. Neglecting yourself will only make your situation worse. Incorporate a little self care, what have you got to lose? Help yourself find inner peace, de-stress and feel all round happier with life. Self care, or even seeking professional help does not make you weak, in-fact, it makes you stronger and ready to take on life.
What selfceare activities do you enjoy? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for reading 🙂