Earlier this year, I created a list of personal affirmations. A list that focused on my health, wealth, and career. Out of those five resolutions, one stood out the most, to focus on caring for myself first, and foremost. What does that large blanketed statement mean? Well, for me it involves self-care and minding my mental health.
Self-care and finding ways to delegate stress are not the easiest things to work into your schedule. For me, it often felt like something I could only squeeze in on a Sunday afternoon—not anymore. In this post, I share eight different self-care activities that have helped me to make big changes in my life. Through these self-care activities, I have learned to manage my stress and to overall take care of my mental, spiritual, and physical health.
1. Make a home-cooked meal
I find the most relaxing moments for me are when I cook at home. It’s a stress reliever and not to mention cheaper than eating out. I am not sure if its the chopping or sautéing, but making a home-cooked meal feels good. Science Daily shares that cooking at home is better for your overall health and wealth which are two important aspects of self-care. That makes sense!
I can honestly say that this has been one of the easier self-care regiments for me to grasp. While cooking a meal can take time, it is ultimately gratifying. Below I share images from one of my favorite home-cooked meals, Shrimp and Chicken Fried Rice. It was simple and easy to make, plus it tasted much healthier than take-out. Making a home-cooked meal is an activity that is fun and delicious. Here is the recipe that I used that I found on Pinterest.
2. Take a WARM Bath
Taking a bath seems like a very easy self-care regiment right? But baths compared to a shower are more time consuming and force you to relax—which is the point. Taking a bath is a wellness activity that anyone can enjoy. It’s a small, yet powerful way to practice great self-care, and is good at any time of the week.
The next time you take a bath, incorporate a few of these elements: light some candles, turn on some calming meditation music, wear a moisturizing sheet mask. You will enjoy the calmness of being still as you experience this relaxing self-care activity.
3. Become More Spiritual
I believe that no matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs are, that they are essential when things become stressful, uncertain, and out of your control. I find that the only way to get through hard times is to believe in something greater and to surround yourself with positive energy. Over the past few years, I have been on my journey of understanding my faith and my relationship with God. This is a connection that I am practicing by communicating, listening, engaging in him, and his word. This is my journey to becoming more spiritual and is not dependent on my family or my friends. For me, the only way to do this is to have a spiritual foundation while I practice self-care.
I recently took up meditation, and have found that a guided version is the best form for me. With meditation, I open my heart to hear what God has to say. I close off my mind from the outside world and seek guidance from a higher power. I also believe that prayer, studying, and reading God’s word are important to understanding my beliefs and becoming more spiritual as well. No matter your beliefs, I encourage you to find your purpose by practicing this self-care activity of becoming more spiritual. I guarantee that you will feel much better from the inside out.
4. Plan aHEAD
Planning helps you to visualize your goals and gives you something to look forward to. It is a guide for your day, week, month, or even year. By planning, you are alleviating the stress that often comes with procrastination. Personally, planning out my life is a self-care activity that I have practiced but quickly forget about. In high school, I was a planner obsessed person and lost that touch in my adult life.
Now that I am older, I have learned to approach planning differently. I do this by creating SMART goals; goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. One of my main goals this year is to invest in property. An example of a smart target for this investment is ‘I want to invest $200,000 or less in a multi-unit property in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago by November of 2019. Once a goal is set, it’s all about putting it into action.
5. Write Down Your Thoughts
Journaling is a simple and helpful self-care exercise. This self-care activity is significant because it helps to clear your mind of all of the things that may be weighing it down. Journaling is an activity that you have to make time for. Once you engage in this self-care exercise, you will be blown away by the change that you see in your mental, physical, and even spiritual wellness.
Simply + Fiercely shares some great ideas about journaling for self-care that I am certainly going to use. The blogger shares this idea journaling and creating “gratitude lists.” Gratitude lists are essentially writing down everything that you are thankful for. When you are feeling down or just in a funky mood, you can go back to those journal entries and reflect on how awesome of a person I am and how the life I am living and the ambitions I have are incredible as well.
6. Fill Your Day with Good Content
How many times during the day do you find yourself checking social media or watching the news just to find that none of it is actually good? That instead of being entertained or even social, you find that it causes feelings of anxiety, envy, and fear. At least, that’s how I often feel when spending too much time taking in too much media. That is why I have quickly adapted the self-care activity of taking in good content.
I like to read to listen to an audible book from someone I admire or a motivational writer. I also enjoy watching thought-provoking documentaries, finally, I reach out to family and friends who are a positive light in my life. There are people within our circles that are more than willing to listen and share good advice—they appreciate the reciprocation as well. Sharing good content and taking in good content is just a better mood booster overall.
7. Do Something Creative
Doing something creative is a great self-care activity to try. According to Forbes article about creativity, by being creative, you are increasing your happiness, boosting your immune system, and becoming smarter. Creative activities make us feel good and are great for our overall health. For me its blogging and photography. I love taking pictures using my film camera and of course writing for my lifestyle blog.
There are many creative activities that you can try to reduce stress as a form of self-care. Grab a marker or pick up a box of crayons and start coloring. Coloring for adults helps to generate mindfulness and quietness, which is just what you need after a long day. Right now, I am coloring in the ‘Colorful Chicago’ by coloring book by Colorful Cities. It is a book designed for adults and kids alike that is mixed with one part travel guide and one part color book. It features some of my favorite places to visit in Chicago. Chicago is just one of the many fabulous cities that you can color.
You can also pick up a new hobby such as learning how to sew or gardening. Whatever you choose, find something genuinely good for you.
8. Get Your Selfie-On
There is nothing narcissistic or selfish about showing yourself some love. You have taken so much time to work on your inner beauty, now it’s time to show love to your outer beauty. During a stressful period in your life, the last thing you want to weigh on your mental health is how your physical appearance.
Boost your self-esteem and your mood by snapping a photo of yourself. Setup a photoshoot if you are feeling advantageous! Take a photo that depicts you at your most naked or you’re most glamourous. When you view these photos, view them with an open heart and mind and pass no judgment on yourself. Know that in all of these photos, you are the same amazing human being that has to take one more continuous step in their journey towards a better and healthier life.
The journey to practicing self-care is a long but worthwhile health journey. Self-care takes time and is meant to be reflective and filled with amazing results. It won’t be easy, but incorporating some acts of self-care with ultimately help you feel better and bring about more joy in your life. I know, because they have certainly helped me!