This Is How to Make Self-Care a Part of Your Life
These days, self-care is all the rage, thanks to the proliferation of poignant quotes posted by countless people on social media. However, the truth is that self-care is a lot more than just a buzzword. Rather, it’s a legitimate way of life that does no harm and an infinite load of good, and it can be as simple as upgrading your skincare regimen or practicing yoga or meditation. So if you are yet to have a solid self-care practice in your arsenal, know that this is definitely one bandwagon that you want to be on.
The rewards of self-care for the body are plenty, but the mental health benefits are more important. Despite large-scale attention being given to mental health issues today, it’s an alarming truth that many of the afflicted aren’t receiving the treatment they require.
The fact is most people attempt to meet the needs of other people before meeting their own which inevitably takes its toll. This could then lead to a plethora of mental health problems like stress, anxiety, and depression, to name a few. But self-care is not a selfish act; it triggers the relaxation response, which lessens and even prevents stress. This, in turn, enhances self-awareness and self-esteem, making you better able to care for others.
How to Practice Good Self-Care
Self-care essentially translates to “me time,” which is often last on the agenda for most people. However, some of the best self-care practices are basic yet often-taken-for-granted tasks that should be part of your normal routine already.
A good self-care practice starts with good, old-fashioned sleep. It’s a grim reality these days that most adults don’t meet the requirements for sufficient sleep. This is mainly because most people see this as seven to nine hours of being unproductive.
Unfortunately, not only does the lack of quality sleep cause major health issues, but it also has ill effects on your emotional and mental state. On the flip side, the benefits are extensive when you do get enough sleep, including less stress, better moods, improved memory, and more.
To facilitate quality sleep, make sure your bedroom is dark, your linens are comfortable and that you implement a nightly routine to help you wind down. Use yoga, meditation or even read a book rather than scrolling through your phone. If you live in a noisy apartment complex, this could be contributing to poor sleep. You can easily alleviate this problem by moving into a quieter part of town. If you live in Tempe, look for a smaller multiplex away from downtown or the university. When touring a new property, be sure to ask residents about the noise levels.
These days, relaxation is seen as a luxury instead of a necessity. However, many experts argue that relaxation is the key to productivity. Among other things, relaxation improves focus, increases energy, and keeps you motivated. Moreover, relaxation also allows the body to recover quicker, keep blood pressure low, and fight off infections.
There are many ways to relax — many of which can be done in the comforts of your own home. This can be as simple as taking a hot bath or writing in a journal. You can also make your nightly skin care part of your relaxation routine. Play some soft music, light a candle and then slowly go through your skin care regimen one product at a time. When applying serums or moisturizer, massage your face during application. This can help you unwind and enhance whatever treatment you’re using. Consider also using a gua sha stone. When applied to the face and neck, a gua sha stone can enhance relaxation and even promote lymphatic drainage.
Additionally, it’s been found that meditation, with its numerous benefits backed by science, is one of the best ways to achieve optimum relaxation and fight stress. Indeed, designating a safe space in your own home for regular meditation is a huge step (albeit a simple one) in committing to a self-care practice.
It’s important to work in exercise into your self-care regimen. While working out regularly can improve your physical health, it also releases endorphins which can help lower stress levels. A healthy fitness routine also improves sleep quality, increases daily energy, and can help you concentrate.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get the exercise you need. You can set up a home workout space, then look for fitness videos to follow along with.
4. Say ‘No’
Most people find that “no” is one of the hardest words to say. This invariably leads to overcommitment and overwork which, in turn, leads to burnout, anxiety, and stress. Because of this, putting yourself first by simply saying “no” is an important component of self-care.
There’s just no good to be had by overextending yourself. You’ll be surprised how a polite “no” will not only reduce stress but leave you feeling empowered, too.
While self-care essentially means taking care of one’s self, it also involves recognizing when you need help and seeking it. This is true for those going through a tough time and/or recovering from traumas, especially for those feeling hopeless enough to entertain thoughts of suicide. Therapy uncovers underlying truths that might be hampering your capacity for self-care, and a good mental health therapist can help you set boundaries, develop a stronger self, and, all in all, improve your self-care skills.
Suffice to say, help exists for those who need it. Whether it’s a push in the right direction from a therapist or even just a timely quote on Instagram, self-care is how you take your power back.
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