Self-care seems to be a buzzword that’s been going around quite a bit lately, and for good reason! Taking time for yourself is important for your mental health. It seems like we’re all so busy with work, family, life, etc that we don’t always stop to take a moment and just relax.
One thing I’ve noticed people think about self-care is that it’s selfish. “I can’t spend time for myself because I need to be doing x, y, and z.” The idea that self-care is selfish and therefore unnecessary is kind of crap! When we take the time to tend to our own needs, we’re better equipped to do all the others things we need to do in life. When we relieve those stresses, we make room to get things done and get them done well.
Think about this: have you ever had moments where you try to write and your mind is clouded with a million other things? It seems like you can’t quiet your mind long enough to do what you need to do. Essentially what happens is you waste away your time that should be spent writing with worrying about everything else.
What self-care does is allows us to have those moments of clarity that calm our minds so that we remove those stresses from our lives. Read on for some tips on how you can practice self-care.
We’re writers, we love to read! We’re all probably already doing this anyway, but you may want to consider a few things to how you read. If you’re like me, I tend to think about my own writing while reading. While I enjoy it, it can feel kind of like work. Try reading a book that’s outside of the genre you’re writing (so you’re not tempted to compare) or read a favorite book of yours from your childhood (anyone else in a perpetual state of reading the Harry Potter series?).
Another suggestion I have when reading is to read physical books. I spend a lot of time starting at screens. I do it for work. I do it while writing. I even watch more TV than I probably should. When I read, I give my eyes a much needed break. I’m more of a fan of books as opposed to e-readers anyway.
I love a good meditation practice! You can literally do it any time, any where. Whenever I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed or my mind is running, running, running, I stop and do a meditation practice. There are lots of guided meditation apps out there. My favorite one is Buddhify. The app gives you lots of choices based on what you might be doing at that time of day (at work, trying to sleep, etc). It’s so handy to have right there on my phone!
3. Write a Gratitude List
Gratitude lists do wonders for your mental health. When we’re feeling stressed, frustrated, or anxious, it seems like the negative thoughts take over and cloud our mind. I find it to be so therapeutic to stop and list all the blessings in my life. It can be as simple as having fresh air to breathe to being grateful for having a loving fiancé.
Writing out this list can feel so grounding and helps us realize that the frustrating things happening in the moment are minuscule in comparison to all the wonderful things.
4. Get Pampered
There is nothing like enjoying a nice relaxing massage, facial, or pedicure from a professional. Being able to sit (or lay) back and allow your body to be tended to is intoxicating. It allows us to really let go and release the tensions from our body. Let’s face it; we all deserve a bit of pampering now and then! It just feels plain good.
5. Pamper Yourself
Attending a spa to get pampered is certainly a treat, but it’s not always in the budget! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to pamper yourself right in the comfort of your own home. My favorite at-home pampering is taking a bubble bath. I light candles, use relaxing bath salts, put on calming music, pour myself a glass of wine, and just let go. It’s a great way to release stress and I always feel amazing after!
6. Spend Time With a Friend
We all have a friend (or family member) who is full of positive energy and generally very uplifting. Call him or her up and meet for a coffee date! We tend to take in energies of those around us, so why not fill ourselves with positive energy!
Aside from that, spending time with friends is truly important. We need that human connection. As I’ve said before, our busy lives can get in the way of doing things just for us. So make some time when you can to relax with a friend!
7. Enjoy Your Favorite Food or Drink
How often do you indulge in your favorite foods or beverages, whether it’s a favorite restaurant, dessert, meal, wine, beer, etc? I know, lots of people are on diets these days, but indulging just once in a while won’t hurt. If you want to treat yourself to your favorite ice cream, do it! But don’t just mindlessly eat (or sip). Savor the flavors!
8. Experience Nature
I love hiking. Getting that fresh air and seeing amazing views is so exhilarating to me. I work at home and most days I only leave the house to get the mail. Heck, some weeks that’s the only time I’m outside! It’s so important to get outside whenever we can to get that dose of fresh air and just connect with nature.
I’ve shared on my Instagram before how much walking has impacted my writing. Nature seems to have this hold over me that enlivens my creative energies. I always feel so inspired after being outdoors. Plus, it’s a great way to help me stay grounded.
Y’all, I am here to tell you, we spend too much time on our phones. I know, I work in social media and I think it’s too much. I feel like I’m realizing more and more lately how chained to my phone I really am. I’ve gone weekends where I unplug and it feels amazing. I have more time to spend with my family. I notice more things going on. I’m away from the negativity that clouds my timeline.
Seriously, try unplugging for a day. You will feel infinitely less stressed.
Any Grey’s Anatomy fans here? Dance it out! Dancing feels so amazing. It’s such a great way to release the stress and put a smile on your face. (Seriously, you can’t dance with a frown!). Put on your favorite dancing song and just let go. A few of my favorites are “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake or “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
These are just a few of my favorite self-care activities to practice! Let me know what some of your favorites are in the comments below!