Today I want to share with you some amazing self care tips for beginners, because let’s face it, we were all beginners once in this journey. And self care looks different for everyone, especially for beginners who might envision it as taking a day off to get a massage or lounging in a bath. Care techniques are much more than a nice lounge in the bath, or getting a massage and they don’t have to take up a lot of time or cost a lot of money. And, we all deserve self care.
Technique One: Care for Your Body
This ought be a no brainer but when we are stressed and tired, we often overlook taking care of our bodies. We don’t eat well because we are too tired to cook, we don’t exercise because we are too tired to exercise and our days become a repeat of each other: wake, work, sleep. And you feel like something on the bottom of someone’s shoe, but you don’t know what to do.
Start taking care of your body. Be sure to drink water, add fruits and veggies to your diet, and if you have to have take out, make sure to get some that is nuturious and not just going to fill your stomach up. Go a grocery store that has a hot table and perhaps get a piece of pizza with a salad, or pick up a roasted chicken with a salad. The salad bars have pasta salads, quinoa salads, bean salads etc so there is plenty of selection. Once you start eating better, you’ll start to feel better and can become more interested in doing things you enjoy. And maybe even start exercising again.
Technique Two: Care for Your Emotional Self
This care technique is about taking care of your emotional health, and your mental well being. This is too often overlooked, or a state that we look at as being “temporary.” But the stressors of today’s society and world are far different and much more demanding than those our grandparents faced. So it’s an important self care technique. Taking care of yourself emotionally might mean taking a mental health day–as in taking a day off work to go shopping, or just to sleep in and then maybe enjoy reading a book or watching a movie.
This self care technique could also mean reading a self help book or even indulging in a hobby. You don’t need to take a day off of work to do these two, but it is important to pursue interests outside of your work and home life to support your own rest and relaxation which is key when it comes reducing stress and maintaining your emotional health. Stressed out people are not relaxed.
Techinque Three: Know Your Limits
It’s easy to take on too much. I see this too often, people bite off more than they can chew and then are super stressed while trying to work, complete that extra project they took on and have a home life. Inevitably they complain about all of it and are just frustrated and unhappy. Know your limits. You know what home and work responsibilities you already have. Ask yourself seriously, even if this project sounds exciting, do I have the time or energy or do it? If the answer is no or you are not sure, then it might be best not to take on that extra task. Knowing your limits (and saying no) doesn’t make you lazy, or mean you are not a team player, it just means that you’re not superwoman/man. Say no to things that are going to be too taxing, or postpone those projects to when you are not so busy.
Other Care Techniques
Once you really realize the above three self care techniques, and integrate them into your life, then it’s easier to get into the self care habits that really support your physical and mental health. Here are some things people who practice good self care do regularly. It’s important to note that these are not for everyone, and that self care looks different for everyone. You have to tailor it to you–what you like, what is relaxing and realistic for your lifestyle.
I talk about this a lot. Hobbies are, in my opinion, essential to self care. Hobbies provide you a sense of meaning and purpose, a sense of self, outside of work and family. The hobbies I enjoy are reading and crocheting, and of course writing. Writing this blog is both a hobby and a form of work for me. But consider, what do you for fun and relaxation? It could be physical, like running or yoga, or it could be something inactive like scrapbooking or painting. It could be something you do something solely for pleasure, like reading, or something that maybe you do a little side business like jewelry making. This is one of the care techniques that I think are key to improving your mental and emotional health.
Journalling has been shown to reduce stress. Something about putting your thoughts down on paper produces a sort of emotional catharsis and personally, I have found solutions to problems while journaling.
There are a variety of different ways to journal. I have always stuck to the traditional, meaning I just write my thoughts and troubles down, as though I’m having a conversation with myself, and this has certainly helped me a lot. I’ve recently taken up bullet journaling, which I am enjoying so far. It is very verstatialie as you can set goals, track your mood or workouts, lay out your meal plans or cleaning routines, or have pages devoted to positive thoughts and gratitude.
Gratitude journalling is also another form of journaling that is excellent if you are stressed, anxious and provides great self care.
Now, I am not suggesting that cleaning and de-cluttering is a way to practice self care every day. No, no, all I’m saying is mess and clutter can actually cause us stress. A tidy, organized room is far more restful on our minds and bodies than we might think. This is why I am turning to minimalism. I love having a functional home, one that reflects who I am instead of a space filled with so many clutter that I am lost in it and constantly trying to find space to house things. So consider clearing out some clutter because it will do a lot to de-clutter your head space too. Just think how much nicer it’ll be to enjoy a book or a cup of tea in a space that’s clear and neat.
Enjoy the Quiet
I’ve said this before, but a lot of our lives is noise. Noise pollution is everywhere. Outside on the streets, in places of work, in stores where we shop, it’s all noise. So take some time to enjoy the quiet. You can do this in the bath, or even while you read a book. Sometimes I just sit on the couch and crochet for a bit without the TV on, and it’s heavenly. Dim the lights while you are at it, and just relax. It’ll really do a lot to improve your head space, and is one of the self care techniques that gets overlooked.
Now, any form of physical activity is good self care in that you are caring for your body by maintaining its level of fitness. However, even if you hit the gym hard core, a walk in nature is important for self care because we largely live in a world disconnected from nature. There is something about being outside, seeing green plants and trees, hearing the calls of birds that reduces stress and relaxes our minds. A lot of people who suffer from anxiety and depression find that a walk outside every day does them a world of good. So don’t neglect those outdoor strolls.
Hopefully these care techniques are ones that you find useful as you begin your own journey into self care. Self care is something everyone needs to practice, and it is in no way selfish. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. You’d do it if you were sick, and taking care of your emotional is just as important. So don’t allow guilt to scare you off taking time for yourself to relax and do things that you enjoy. There are plenty of other ideas out there for self care, but starting with what I’ve discussed will likely get you really going and keep you on the right path.
Are you just beginning your journey into self care? Share your thoughts below. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to stay up date on the blog.