Stop Putting Off These 5 (Nearly Free and Simple) Self-Care Activities
by Chelsea Vincent
Thanks to the insane pace of technology today – where our bosses, friends, and family expect return emails, phone calls, and updates within mere minutes – many of us feel frazzled. We set up goals and follow figures who inspire us, yet how often do we carve out the time to actually incorporate these aspirational activities?
Self-care isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. More and more often, self-care is being recognized as an important counterpart to medication, and perhaps an eventual replacement, for some individuals.
Whether you’re a Type-A perfectionist who places too much pressure on yourself, or someone who constantly tries be there for everyone else, actually making time for self-care is critical. Self-care provides both physical and mental health benefits, as it plays an important role in developing resilience during adversity. Unfortunately, if you don’t cultivate resilience and compassion, neither can support you when life veers off course, as it often does.
Here are five self-care activities that are absolutely worth making time for right now (and which don’t take up too much time):
Unfollow “Negative Nancy”
We’ve all got that friend or family member who always has something nasty to say on our social channels. It could be a perfect day on vacation, in Bali, at a tropical resort paradise, and this person will still find something to gripe about. Time to cut him or her loose. Trim the friends’ list – you don’t owe it to anyone to put up with a non-stop barrage of hostility, neediness, or other negativity.
Clean Home & Headspace
Cleaning and decluttering have therapeutic effects, as well as positive health implications, and you always feel better after a bit of sprucing up. Don’t have time to clean your whole room right now? Try organizing one shelf, or one desk drawer. Breaking down tasks into smaller chunks makes them more manageable, and you’ll still finish feeling accomplished.
Also, take the time to clean your headspace. Meditation and pranayama (breath control) have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, as people long for a sense of connection and want to feel more present. You don’t have to have a guru to get going, either. Simple apps can let you meditate during your lunch break or in your car, for as little as a few minutes at a time.
Just like your mom used to tell you, go play outside! “Nature therapy” has a host of benefits – from reducing cortisol and blood pressure levels to lowering heart rates – and it doesn’t cost a thing. There are parks, fields, forests, beaches, trails, and beyond, all just waiting for you to explore them.
If you’re looking for a way to commit to getting that good-ole’ vitamin D on a regular basis, consider an activity. Volunteer to coach a kids’ outdoor sports team, meet up with a neighbor for weekly strolls or help out at a community garden.
Enjoy an At-Home Facial (Ladies and Gents)
Ahhh, the illustrious facial. While spas offer some pretty phenomenal facials, thanks to plenty of quality at-home options, you don’t have to spend an entire month’s rent to pamper yourself a bit. Doing a simple, 30-minute at-home facial can rejuvenate your skin and improve self-esteem, You can even light some candles or play relaxing music in the background, to really create an atmosphere of relaxation.
Start by cleaning your face with a mild cleansing agent, then use steam to help open up your pores. Place your face and a towel lightly over a bowl of hot water (feel free to add lavender or other herbs) for ten minutes, then proceed with a mask, a toner, a serum, and a moisturizer. Gentlemen, long-gone are the days where taking care of your skin was for women only – you deserve to get your glow on, too!
Revisit Childhood Favorites
Perhaps one of the most joyful self-care activities is that of rediscovering the joie de vivre of youth. We all get a little twinkle in our eye or find a shuffle in our feet when we are brought back to the worry-free days of childhood.
As a way of discovering play, to balance all of the work you do, try doing one (or a few) of your favorite activities from back in the day. Whether you watch a favorite childhood movie, host a board game night, or visit a local water park, you’ll be able to connect to those memories and feelings of happiness.
The trick with self-care is to start doing it before you’re feeling down and out. And honestly, what have you got to lose? So, instead of scrolling through your friends’ feeds or engaging in online retail therapy during your break today, try incorporating these self-care activities, to encourage compassion, health, and real resilience from within.
After all, you have to love on yourself, before you can care for anyone else in your life. Treat yourself like your best friend, by “treating yo self” to some genuine R&R on the daily.