SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES FOR PHYSICAL SELF
Great Quality Sleep
Sleep deficiency has several detrimental effects on our mental and physical health, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and impaired cognitive performance. Optimizing and prioritizing our sleep habits improves mood, mental and physical performance, metabolism, and energy levels. Getting on a consistent sleep schedule, monitoring caffeine intake, eliminating screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime, creating a before-bed relaxation routine- all can make a huge difference in the quality of our physical and mental health.
Learn to Self-Soothe
We will always have stress in our lives. That’s just life, it comes with its ups and downs. As a result, we will have both positive and negative emotions. The trick is to discover ways to self-soothe and cope with those negative emotions when they come (because they will) in a positive, productive, and sustainable manner. Both negative and positive feelings have an equally important part in our human development and growth and learning how to effectively manage difficult emotions strengthens our emotional wellbeing. Some of the self-soothing activities examples: journaling, meditation, mindful walking, exercising, colouring, taking a cold or hot shower, and saying positive coping statements to yourself.
Healthy eating starts with learning what our body needs to feel nourished and how we can fulfill these needs with nutritious foods we like and enjoy. The next step is learning the nutritional basics about the foods we consume and what fuel the human body needs to be healthy and strong. There are many apps available to help you learn the nutritional values and benefits of different foods and track your activity levels. Based on all this information we can make a solid, educated, sustainable, and very easy-to-follow meal plan for ourselves, which will give us a much higher chance of integrating this new healthy routine into our lives.
Moving Your Body
Any activity will do, bonus points if you actually enjoy it and can fit in your schedule! Think solo dancing in your living room, walking up and down your stairs, Zumba class, yoga, YouTube channel, pedalling a stationary bike for 15 minutes after lunch, doing jumping jacks, or walking. In other words, moving your body does not mean an hour-long advanced cycling class at 5 am (unless that’s your thing of course) but any realistic activity for your lifestyle, routine, and personal preference.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step process in which a person systematically tenses and relaxes different muscle groups in the body. Helps us to spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress and beat it before it grabs hold. Also, an excellent tool to practice to help sleep.
Massages can help you release any physical strain you may be carrying and are really great in taking care of your body especially if there is a lot of stress in your life. The relaxation produced by a good massage can greatly improve our physical and mental health.
Fine needles are inserted at specific points to stimulate, disperse, and regulate the flow of vital energy, and restore a healthy energy balance. The goal is to relieve a health condition or symptom, such as pain. This practice comes from traditional Chinese medicine and various scientific studies have confirmed its effectiveness.
Turn off your mobile phone
Turning off your phone (or putting it into flight mode) stops the bombardment of messages, emails, social media notifications, people, and apps competing for your attention. This practice gives you space to concentrate on tasks on hand or just take time to relax, de-stress, and just be in the present. Turning the off button immediately lowers stress and increases physical and mental health, as well as energy levels.
Originally developed for self-defence, Tai Chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, Tai Chi promotes serenity through gentle movements.
This modality is based on the idea that specific points on the feet and hands correspond with organs and tissues throughout the body. With fingers and thumbs, the practitioner applies pressure to these points to treat a wide range of stress-related illnesses, producing numerous positive health effects.
Practitioners of this ancient Tibetan healing system use light hand placements to channel healing energies to the recipient and to assist the recipient in achieving spiritual focus and clarity. Reiki promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes a positive mental state.
Other physical self-care activities:
Regular medical care
Taking time off
Taking a walk
SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL SELF
Time and time again, a gratitude practice was linked to better mental health and higher levels of happiness. Gratitude journaling focuses on positive memories and experiences and builds up our internal positive reference bank, as well as creates a sense of fulfillment and appreciation of what we already have. As a result, gratitude creates a positive outlook on life, boosts wellbeing, improves relationships, and builds resiliency.
Taking time to reflect builds self-awareness, self-knowledge, and inner strength. It gives us a better understanding of what’s important to us and why, what are our pains and joys, and what are parts of us that need healing and attention. In other words, with self-reflection, we have more clarity on who we are as human beings and what we need to live a life we love. Some of the things we can do to help us self-reflect scheduling time for regular contemplation, getting a spiritual mentor, spending time in nature, finding a like-minded spiritual community, practicing mindful body scans, and listening to guided meditations.
Guided imagery is a process of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. You can use an instructor, an app or a CD to guide you through the process.
Counselling is an amazing and highly productive form of self-care and an ongoing practice that dramatically our physical and mental health. Talking the situation out with a professional greatly reduces the power of negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
A simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique and is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music.
A physical and mental practice for attaining the physical and emotional balance, achieved through a series of postures and breathing exercises. Yoga practice is about self-healing via self-awareness, acceptance, and movement. It helps to shows us how to handle internal and external challenges that we face in our daily lives.
Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine that involves the use of essential oils, the power of smell to help with both physical and emotional issues. Essential oils are extracted from plants, and oils are massaged into the skin in diluted form, inhaled, or placed in baths.
Self-care can be enhanced using art. Because art makes us feel deeply connected to ourselves, puts us into the present moment, helps us creatively express ourselves, and even works through some emotional and mental challenges and struggles we might be dealing with. You don’t have to be an artist to benefit from this and there are always colouring books!
Joining a support group
We are social animals and have an innate need for human contact and interaction. Strong interpersonal relationships and support groups provide a sense of safety, create belonging, improve self-esteem, and as a result act as a protective barrier against life stresses.
Thinking about your positive qualities
One of the greatest contributors to our resilience and wellbeing is the quality of our relationships with ourselves. Some of the things we can do to foster relationships with ourselves are thinking about our positive qualities, noticing what’s wonderful about ourselves, what our strengths are, what challenges we have overcome, how well we treat others. Thinking positively about ourselves builds our sense of self-compassion and self-love, as well as greatly challenges the inner critic.
Practice asking and receiving help
Accepting that we can’t handle everything on our own and asking for help when we need it is sometimes all we need to do, and the act of doing this is very brave. Perhaps you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed because you’re trying to face the world on your own. You don’t have to do this – a problem shared is a problem halved.
Other psychological dimension self-care examples:
Going to symphony or ballet
Relaxing in the sun
Reading a self-help book
SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR EMOTIONAL SELF
Self-love is about striving to treat yourself like your best friend. It’s a feeling of self-appreciation, self-kindness, and self-acceptance that grows over time because of continuous nurturing actions that support our wellbeing and growth. It’s difficult to practice self-love but it’s an integral part of our wellbeing and figuring out your self-love practices is incredibly important.
Self-compassion is a positive, nurturing, forgiving, and accepting attitude we show ourselves. Some of the self-compassion in action examples: talking to yourself as you would to your best friend, challenging your inner critic, choosing to be tolerant of your shortcomings, nurturing yourself through hard times, and being patient with yourself.
Paying attention to the way you speak to yourself is the best way to begin caring for yourself. Recognizing when you’re engaging in negative self-talk is a crucial first step toward cutting this bad habit out of your life. The next phase is to replace the negative self-talk with loving and caring words. Step three is practice, practice, practice, and giving yourself a break when you don’t do it perfectly.
Detox from social media
Although social media isn’t necessarily bad, millions of people around the world are addicted to it. Numerous research studies show that very frequent engagement with social media creates depression and lowers self-esteem, especially in female users. Try a media detox and see if it positively impacts your life.
An affirmation is a positive statement of what you want in your life, expressed in the present tense. Affirmations are the tools for creating something you want, by “tricking” your mind to believe the stated concept while beating the negative thinking and building up your positivity bank. Example: “I’m strong, remarkable, and loving. I can and I do.”
Laughter releases endorphins and serotonin which are natural chemicals that elevate our mood, help us relax, and even reduce physical pain. Even if our smile is not genuine, just the physical act of smiling can help our bodies release endorphins and serotonin, thus boosting our mood.
Finding a hobby
Finding a hobby and making it a solid part of your self-care routine can help to increase your self-esteem, boost your mood, and bring more fun to your life, whether you’re into practicing something artistic, trying to relax and escape, or looking to step outside your normal routine.
Learning to accept compliments, starting with yourself, is a great self-care practice for boosting our self-esteem, appreciating ourselves more, and helping us find more things about ourselves we value and love. The next step-starting to accept compliments from others just by saying “thank you” instead of trying to devalue ourselves by denying the compliment. This practice helps your relationship with yourself and others.
The act of forgiveness is for us, not for the ones we forgive. It’s about setting ourselves free, and letting negative feelings such as resentment, fear, and anger disappear out of our lives. Studies suggest we forgive, we have better sleep, have less physical illness, better heart function, and higher quality of life.
Crying is very healing for us, emotionally and physically. Some studies suggest that crying is a natural way for your body to release stress hormones. Tears have been also shown to cause the release of endorphins, feel-good, pain-relieving hormones.
Cuddling with your pet
Pets can improve the quality of our lives in so many ways. They love us unconditionally, they keep us active, they always want to hang out, and support us when we are feeling sad, and make our lives meaningful and less stressed.
Other self-care examples for the emotional self:
Watching a funny movie
Buying yourself a present
SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR SPIRITUAL SELF
Nurturing our spiritual side doesn’t necessarily mean adhering to a particular religion or philosophy. Instead, it’s a way of supporting the most delicate, and profound, parts of our humanity, the spiritual force that brings all the other parts together.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years to facilitate healing. The calming effects of meditation allow the brain and body to work together more effectively, resulting in clarity of thought, lower blood pressure, and a calmer nervous system.
Dance is not only fun but it also improves muscle, heart, and lung function, builds stronger bones, creates better coordination, enhances brain activity, and helps us to have a better relationship with our body, which can lead to improved interpersonal interactions.
Seeking Spiritual Knowledge
The practice of expanding our spiritual knowledge can be life-long. Continually learning, experimenting, and practicing can not only improve our understanding of spirituality and our spiritual wellbeing but help cultivate life purpose and meaning, and expand our worldview.
Going into nature
Nature gives us so many fantastic opportunities to be inspired by its beauty and to experience a sense of gratitude for being alive and in awe, to reconnect with ourselves, to just be, here and now. Through nature, we have a wonderful chance to feel better, to improve the quality of our lives, and to boost our wellbeing.
Finding spiritual community
The like-minded spiritual community can give us a sense of purpose and belonging, help us develop a stronger connection to our intuition, teach us to foster serenity, give us roots and support, as well as nurture our interpersonal relationships.
Other self-care examples for the spiritual self:
Playing with children
Swimming in the ocean
Watching the sunset
SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR PERSONAL SELF
Learning Who You Are
When we get to know ourselves, figure out where we are going in life, we feel that our existence is meaningful and purposeful. This makes us feel more empowered, centred, peaceful, and joyful. This is because knowing ourselves as well as our purpose gives us clarity in our lives, helps us carry on when things get tough, gives us a sense of personal accomplishment, and a strong feeling that we matter.
Planning Short and Long-term Goals
Intentionally pursuing our personal and professional growth, setting, and achieving goals, learning or trying something new, boosts our mental wellness by producing a sense of personal accomplishment, improving self-confidence, raising self-esteem, and creating a sense of purpose in life.
Making a Vision Board
A Vision Board is a collection of images, words, and colours that reflect your visions and desires for your life. It is a tool that allows you to become clear on what you really want. Becoming clear on what you want is the key to manifesting your vision. Brainstorm about what you’d like your life to be like and put your dreams as a collage on a large sheet of paper. Put it in a prominent place in your home to remind yourself daily about your goals and dreams.
We are social animals and have the innate need for human contact and interaction. Strong social networks provide a sense of safety, create belonging, improve self-esteem, and as a result act as a protective barrier against life stresses.
Getting coffee with friends
We can nurture our relationships by regularly planning fun activities with loved ones, by improving our interpersonal communication skills, by setting and sticking to our boundaries, by joining a support group, and by engaging in volunteering for social causes. Real investment and commitment to nurturing our relationships with loved ones and our community greatly influence our overall resilience, wellbeing, and health.
Learning to play a musical instrument or rediscovering a past interest
Doing something you love or enjoy every day is vital to our wellbeing. If you find yourself feeling like your life passes you by in the realities of every day, make changes. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel if you add a bit more positivity to your daily routine.
Getting out of debt
Sometimes debt is completely unavoidable but having debt is a very stressful burden, creating numerous problems, including anxiety, guilt, and relationship stress. Alternatively, learning how to manage debt and getting financially fit by having savings, budgeting, following a debt management plan dramatically improves our physical and mental wellbeing and fosters a strong financial future.
The main goal is to establish a daily habit that allows us to calm our minds and minimize stress. With our continually hectic, busy lives, many people find it difficult to relax and take it easy, but every little bit helps to improve our physical well-being. Colouring with your children, watching a favourite show, or taking a hot bath are some examples of relaxation activities.
Helping others, of course, helps others. But it helps us so much more! It gets us out of ourselves, out of our own problems and life concerns, and gets us to focus on someone else. This process makes us feel good about ourselves, as keeps us grateful for what we have in our lives.
Other self-care activities for the personal dimension:
Planning a holiday and making future plans
Knitting, sewing or other craft
Reading a good book
Spending time with your family
Going out for a meal
SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR PROFESSIONAL SELF
Taking time for lunch
If you work in an office, getting up from your desk and changing your environment is vital for your mental health. You’ll be refreshed and more effective when you return. Plus, staring at your screen while eating lunch is not ideal for your digestion.
Do you find yourself saying “yes” to things that you really don’t want to do? Do you wind up feeling exhausted because of this? Imposing healthy restrictions on your time, space, and company is crucial for our self-esteem, physical, mental health, and very much needed to help us as well as undeniably important to us accomplishing our goals, living life we love, and leaving us time to do things we enjoy.
Not working overtime
Leaving work at work is paramount for humans in order for them to take much needed reprieve, rest, and refuel themselves before they return to work. Burnout is the only outcome of continually working long hours. If you can help it, don’t do it.
Getting regular supervision
Regular supervision lets both parties get to know one another better, find out more about strengths and challenges, likes and dislikes, and allows for a more open, strength-based teamwork approach. Once we establish trust with our supervisor it is so much easier to ask for help, for a mental health day, for a promotion, or a better-suited project.
Not working on holidays
Working without a break along with working on holidays has been shown to be detrimental to employees’ health. Not only that, the relationships with family and friends start suffering as well from lack of attention and time together.
Getting support from colleagues
Support and help from teammates can help us feel at ease, build trust with one another, and be valued and appreciated at work especially when we encounter obstacles. Having a coffee together, discussing our day, solving a challenging work task can create a sense of belonging and thus make our work life much more comfortable.
Learning to say NO
Learning to say ‘no’ to protect our time, energy, and mental and physical health is one of the most important methods to practice self-care. At the very minimum, we can allow ourselves some time to think about it before saying yes. By changing the cycle of routinely saying yes to everything, we’ll have more time, energy, and stamina to do our own life as support others when we are rejuvenated.
Planning a walk-and-talk meeting
It doesn’t cost anything to do your meeting with a colleague on a walk around the block or to the nearby park. Getting some steps in, some fresh air, and being out of the office and maybe making a new work friend in the process are just a few of the potential benefits.
Taking your leave and sick days
Use your sick leave when you are feeling under the weather or need to recover from a case of burnout. Also make sure you take your annual leave regularly to stay refreshed – even if your holiday is just a staycation at home the break will help you maintain work/life balance.
Go to professional trainings
Professional development allows us to feel more confident and effective in our job, it gives us tools to succeed and advance our career. Professional Development (PD) is important for self-esteem, achieving a sense of accomplishment and purpose, and psychological health.
Taking exercise breaks
Moving our body not only improves physical health but it has also been shown to improve emotional and mental wellbeing due to the production of endorphins. When you’re feeling stressed or fatigued, take a short walk around the office building to boost your attitude and productivity.
Other self-care examples for the professional self:
Creating a work support group
Planning your next career move
Using an Employee Assistance Program
Taking a class to further your career
SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES FOR PHYSICAL SELF