Written by: Regina Raap
Self-care can be summarised as ‘giving yourself permission to pause’ (Cecilia Tran). In these worrisome times around the world, it’s more important than ever to give yourself time off from the news and the grind of working (even if you are working from home!). Think about it: when was the last time you stopped for a moment and took care of yourself?
The current world is so fast paced that most of us don’t even have time to stop for a second and just be. In fact, now that more than a quarter of the world’s population is living in isolation and practicing social distancing, now is the perfect time for some ‘me time’.
Self-care doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant; you don’t need to book a hotel spa-day, purchase a new wardrobe or eat dessert. Rather, self-care is the art of internally nourishing yourself, and doesn’t need to involve purchasing anything.
Remember: self-care isn’t a one-time event. Try to schedule some small things into your routine, so that they become habits and part of your regular schedule. A sustainable self-care practice is about creating moments within each day, week, month and year to practice self-care that makes you feel healthy and rested in your mind, body and soul. The more you practice self-care, the happier you will become in your life.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some of the simplest self-care practices that will have your body, mind and soul feeling more joyful than ever.
Meditation is an age-old Eastern practice that is growing in importance and popularity in the West; it’s escaped it’s ‘new-age’ stereotype and become recognised by society at large as a useful tool in combating stress and anxiety. It’s came to the attention of the scientific community through a number of studies that have proven regular meditation relieves stress by creating space between ourselves and our thoughts and emotions. Other studies have looked at the relationship between regular meditation and increased empathy, compassion and emotional regulation. Furthermore, meditators can focus better on tasks, have improved concentration, and sleep better! If all these benefits sound too good to be true, just try it out for yourself: as little as 5 minutes meditation a day can be beneficial to us, although skilled meditators and yogis will often meditate for upwards of 30 minutes to a couple hours a day.
- Unplug from your phone
“Creating space in your day to be without technology, whether that’s reading a book or going for a walk, gives ourselves time to breathe and step away from the constant cycle of checking our notifications, messages, emails and news bulletins. Try it – it’s sometimes really beneficial to disconnect for a little bit every day!”
- Practice self-compassion
Pay attention to how you speak to yourself – it’s effecting your emotional health. If your self-talk isn’t loving and kind, you might want to speak with a therapist to see if you can reframe your internal dialogue in a more positive light. After all, if we can’t be compassionate with ourselves, how can we hope to be compassionate with other people?
Taking the time everyday to sit down and write about your thoughts and feelings is incredibly beneficial – rather than letting thoughts swirl around your head, let them out on a paper or electronic journal. If writing isn’t your thing, you can start a video or audio journal. You don’t ever need to listen to or read these entries again – just the process of recording and venting can be very helpful. Collecting your thoughts over a period of time also helps you to see what’s bugging you constantly, too, and will allow you to make the necessary changes.
- Spend some time in nature
“Humans aren’t meant to be in an urban environment all the time – we are animals, after all, and making the time to connect with nature will make you feel much, much better,” says Jamal Ellwood, a wellness writer at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting.
“It doesn’t need to be day trips out of the city, either – something as simple as going to a park in the city or gardening can fulfil that need for nature in us.”
Studies have shown repeatedly that immersing yourself in nature calms the central nervous system, elevates your mood, and increases our energy levels. The benefits are felt for days afterwards!
Regina Raap is a professional content writer at Luckyassignments.com and GumEssays.com and hopes to make boring blogs sparkle. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. When Regina is not on the computer, you’ll likely find her reading her favourite book or playing with her dog.