21 Ways To Practice Self CareLuke Coutinho
What comes to mind when we say self care? Be honest here. A luxurious spa, hair treatment, facial, a solo trip, or an exotic vacation? But did you know self care comes in different forms and can be pretty inexpensive? You just need to look beyond the definition of self care that the consumerist culture has drilled into our heads and brainwashed us to believe. Yes, going on a vacation, buying that designer bag, getting a full body massage or a haircut may be good pick-me-ups, but let’s be practical. How long does the feeling of exhilaration from these last? Maybe a couple of days.
Real self care is about embarking on a journey inwards. Of embracing good and bad days alike and still finding the strength to take care of yourself. To love and accept yourself even on days it may seem like an arduous task. One big misconception about self care that we would like to bust right off the bat is this. Self care is NOT selfish, it just means you are putting your physical and emotional wellbeing first as you rightly deserve.
Why is self care important? Let’s explore its benefits
One of the biggest roadblocks to engaging in self care is people’s misunderstandings about what effective self-care is and how they can best benefit from it. At You Care, we believe that you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you want to go out and make the world a better place, you need to first nourish and build YOU.
Self care can be one effective way of doing this in a world where everyone is rushing to the finish line. Not caring for your physical and emotional needs can lead to burnout, demotivation, unhappiness, purposelessness, anxiety, and even depression in the long run.
If you cannot go to bed feeling good about yourself – those promotions, fat paychecks, social media followers, and luxury brands mean nothing.
Even science today points out the benefits of self care in improving the quality of our lives. Here are some of them.
> Self-care can give you a much-needed break from daily stressors and anxiety.
> Science points out that people who practice self care have better cognitive ability, focus, and concentration.
> Self-care helps you reclaim your alone time. Yes, being surrounded and connected with people who love and support you is important. But research reveals that humans also need some solitude occasionally. Quality alone time rekindles creativity, builds mental resilience, increases empathy and productivity
> Self-care allows you to be giving. Helping others can trigger the feel-good chemicals in your brain.
Here are 21 ways to practice self care:
- Start by building a morning routine
Rolling out of bed and attending that morning meeting is the easy way out. But is that really how you want to begin your day? How you start your mornings can set the tone for how the rest of the day will unfold. One of the best ways is to develop and build a solid morning routine. It will allow you to spend more time with yourself. You can simply start by freshening up, setting your intentions, oil pulling, engaging in morning breathing exercises, meditation, or just soaking in the sun and enjoying your cup of chai. Find out what works for you and follow it consistently. Learn more about the power of a morning routine here.
- Organize your day
Grab a notepad and pen and get down to budgeting your time for various activities that you want to accomplish for that day. The biggest roadblock for most people is lack of organization which can cause any day to spiral out of the hands. Also while you are at it, do not forget to allocate time to yourself too. This will also help you prioritize what is important and put what isn’t on the backburner. Learn more about how to run your day like a boss here.
- Recite affirmations
Ancient texts say, “The power of life and death lies in the tongue”. It means words are so powerful that they can either build you or destroy you. If you think you are unworthy, it is how you will feel. On the other hand, if you tell yourself you are intelligent and confident, then that is how you will be. Negative self-talk can be very self-limiting, whereas positive affirmations have immense power. You can use them to grow in every area of life; health, recovery, prevention, personal growth, wealth, relationships, or career. When said with conviction and deep belief persistently, affirmations reprogram your subconscious mind into thinking positively resulting in a positive effect on your body too. Read more about the power of affirmations here.
A few rules to follow include:
- Write your affirmations in the present tense.
- Personalize them. Attach a feeling to a positive affirmation. So, if you say – I am healthy, you have to feel that you are healthy. Even if you aren’t, at least act like that.
- Avoid using negative words and keep them short.
- One of our favorite affirmations that we often recommend to our patients is: “Every day, and in every way, I am getting better and better.”
Other examples include:
- I am healthy.
- I am safe.
- I am abundant.
- I am worthy.
- I am loved.
- Gratitude helps you refocus on what they have instead of what you lack. It may seem contrived at first, but when practiced consistently, it can reap benefits manifold. A few ways of offering gratitude are:
- Simply saying thanks to someone.
- Write a gratitude note or an email to someone expressing your joy and appreciation of their impact on your life.
- Write three things you were grateful for during the day before you sleep. It will shift your mind from a state of stress to calm and peace. If three sound like too many, count at least one blessing.
- Bless and offer gratitude before sitting down to eat a meal. It will change the energy of your meal.
Join our 17-day Power of Reflection and Gratitude Journey here.
One of the most powerful self-development tools is journaling. Even mental health professionals recommend it for clarity and to pave a path for a happier life. You don’t have to make elaborate entries. Just list down your thoughts for the day. Journaling can help you learn your desires, priorities, and worries. You can do it in the morning or as the last thing before you retire to bed. It will help you release all the tension and anxiety and focus on the positive aspects of the upcoming day.
You can write about what made you smile, or perhaps sad, what are thankful for, what went well, what didn’t, what you could have done better, and so on.
- Listen to music
Music has the power to heal and science backs this claim. A scientific study also concluded that music listeners have higher natural killer cells that attack infected and cancerous cells.
- Improve cognitive abilities
- Deepen meditation
- Promote mindful eating
- Ease anxiety and promotes relaxation
- Boost concentration
- Improve intimacy
- Relieve pain
- Uplift mood
- Sharpen memory
- Enhance sleep
Check out why we recommend music to our patients here.
- Keep it N.E.A.T
Regular movement research points out helps boost memory, lower insulin resistance, inflammation, and promote growth. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy going to the gym, you can still get tiny movements that you can sneak in between your day. They do not count as a workout but add up to calorie burn. These are called N.E.A.T movements or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis which induce our body’s ability to burn fat. For instance: walking while you are making phone calls, squatting to tie a shoelace, calf raises while standing, stretching, doing ten squats or lunges, a one-minute plank, two Surya Namaskars, or ten jumping jacks every hour, and so on. Read more about N.E.A.T here.
- Practice Mindfulness
Do you remember the last sip of the tea or coffee you took? Or the meal you ate? Or how that last hug from your loved one felt? No, right? Because you are moving on autopilot every single day. Vitamin M – Mindfulness can change this. Without it, all we do is react to people, events, work, and emotions.
Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean isolating yourself in a room, chanting affirmations, or meditating for hours. It simply refers to a state where you focus on the present and become fully aware of where you are and what you are doing. It is a superpower you already possess. All you need to learn is — to pause, take a step back and channelize it. You can practice it while opening a door, tying your shoelace, picking your cup of tea, listening to music, taking a walk, or even waiting in a queue at a grocery store. Join our 29-days mindfulness journey to learn more.
- Engaging in your hobbies
Hobbies boost mental alertness, concentration, and self-esteem. They keep you active and young at heart. They allow you a creative outlet outside of your monotonous daily routine, distract you from daily stressors and engage in activities you truly enjoy. Involving your family members in them can also help you strengthen lifelong bonds and build rituals and traditions you can pass down to your future generations. Hobbies encourage you to build newer skills. And if you are nearing retirement, they also make the transition a little smoother. Some people even land up transforming their hobbies into businesses for extra income. While many others decide to spread the joy and give back to society by teaching these skills to the most deserving. Whether it is art, crafts, playing an instrument, knitting, do what you like.
Fasting can be a beautiful way to practice self-care because it gives your digestive system a break and allows you to cleanse and get rid of built-up toxins in your body. Whether it is circadian rhythm fasting, dry and even intermittent fasting – practice it if it suits you. If you have a health condition or are on medication, check with your healthcare expert if you can engage in it safely. But doing it the right way is crucial. Want to know what are the common mistakes people make while fasting that reduce its efficacy?
- Building boundaries
If you do not set boundaries for yourself, someone else will set it up for you. No diet or exercise plan or supplement can ever work if the missing link between you and your happiest self is a lack of boundary. Without boundaries, you let other people walk all over you, you get sucked into their agenda instead of your own, and drain yourself of vital life force energy necessary to build a great life. Boundaries protect your personal space, and there is nothing wrong, rude, or selfish with doing that. You can set them with kindness, and respect. Know more about it in my masterclass here.
- Social media detox
Practice good social media hygiene. You may believe that scrolling on social media after a long workday is a form of self-care, but in most cases, it can only leave you stressed, anxious, and jealous. Most of us look at highly filtered pictures on social media and begin comparing our lives to others, without truly understanding what happens behind closed doors. It can push us on a downward spiral, leading to doom scrolling, revenge bedtime procrastination, and sleep deprivation in the long run. So, disconnect from social media and all your gadgets two hours before bed. If you want to use social media, do it with an intention. Learn more about the best ways to practice social media hygiene here.
- Slow down
Sometimes all you need in the world of glorified ‘hustle-hard’ culture is to slow down. Do this over your weekends, don’t feel guilty about taking a break or resting. You may think that you need to be on your toes in this always-on world, but your body needs to recuperate and rejuvenate. Honor your body and your time off.
- Invest in your health
Get an annual check-up done. You owe it to your body that works hard to sustain you every day. A preventive and proactive approach towards your physical and emotional health is a game-changer in the long run. So make that investment in your health. Check out our Preventive Care Program under You Care Wellness here.
- Try LSD
No, we do mean the LSD you are thinking about. We are referring to Long, Slow, and Deep breaths. You can live without food and water for a couple of days but you cannot live without breathing for more than three minutes. A reason why oxygen is called prana, the life force. When you have less oxygen reaching your cells – sickness, low energy levels, low immunity, anger, irritability, and frustration become rampant.
Deep breathing floods each of the trillion cells in your body with oxygen and supports healing. Breath is free and can be deeply calming even in the most overwhelming situations. Learn more about effective breathwork here.
- Sleep deep
Sleep is a free drug, yet most of us today are sleep deprived. It is one of the strongest meditation and medications. It is the phase where all the magic occurs. No amount of drugs, caffeine, or technology can ever replace what natural sleep can do for your body and mind.
Deep sleep heals, repairs, rejuvenates, detoxes, and helps your body regain balance. Being sleep-deprived can affect all areas of your life – immunity, mood, digestion, decision-making abilities, focus, memory, and motivation. Read more about the bedtime rituals you can follow for deep sleep here.
- Ask for help
Asking for help does not make you weak. Sometimes we put immense pressure on ourselves to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders when we do not need to. We rely on the expectation that somebody will reach out and lighten that burden without us having to ask for it. And when they don’t, we get disappointed. One way to tackle this is to shift your mindset. To believe that it is okay and even courageous to ask for help when you need it.
- Give yourself credit
Give yourself some credit when it is due. You are your own harshest critic at most times. You may find it weird at first, but appreciating yourself is one of the purest forms of self-care that you can indulge in. Record what you love about yourself or write a note to yourself. When in doubt, revisit these. It will ensure that on the days when you feel underappreciated, you will always have YOU cheering you on.
- Have a good cry
Crying can be cathartic. Often misunderstood as a sign of weakness and vulnerability, science says crying is good for you. It releases your stress hormones, promotes relaxation, alleviates pain, brings emotional balance, and helps you sleep better. Want to learn more benefits of a good cry? Read this.
- Have a good laugh
At You Care, we believe that laughter is the simplest way to keep the body and mind healthy. As kids, we used to laugh our hearts out even for the most basic jokes, but as we grow, we get lost in our chaotic lives and forget simple ways to be happy.
Laughter is therapeutic. It helps you manage pain better, improves your digestion, stimulates your vagus nerve, boosts immunity, and promotes relaxation. You can trick your brain into believing you are happy, by simply forcing yourself to laugh aloud. It is a super powerful lifestyle change that has been studied and proven by science to have a very positive impact on the neuroendocrine and immune systems. Read more about its benefits here.
- Embrace a bad day
It is okay to have a bad day. What is important is to learn to navigate it healthily. Embrace it fully. Sit and reflect on it, feel all your feelings, and check if there are learnings you can take away. for you to take away. You don’t need to rely on drinking, smoking, binge eating, or substance abuse to drown your feelings. There is nothing wrong with being upset. But when you go to bed, don’t lose the hope that a better day is awaiting you.
Most people do not prioritize self-care because they say they do not have the time to do it. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Self-care does not have to be elaborate, time-consuming, or expensive. It should not add stress to your life. So, keep it simple, inexpensive, and sustainable. We hope these simple and inexpensive ways can help you achieve your true self-care goals.
Do you find it hard to love and care for yourself? Perhaps it is time to prioritize it. Work one-on-one with our life coaches to express yourself, whether it’s your thoughts, fears, mindsets, beliefs, or anything else coming in your way to living your best life. Call us on 18001020253 or email us at email@example.com to set up your life coaching session today.
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