You know how important it is to practice self-care right? I’m sure you’ve heard all the hype about self-care and the importance of practicing it, but what if you don’t know where to start?
The past year has given us plenty of reasons to feel anxious, stressed, and depressed. So this is why it’s helpful to understand and start doubling down on your self-care efforts so you can start feeling better.
Research shows benefits of practicing self-care
There are numerous benefits of focusing on self-care and self-awareness. For starters, begin by taking the time to tune in and listen to your body.
Soon enough you will find what you need to do to nourish and care for it. Perhaps your body is asking for rest or relaxation or maybe your body is asking for more physical activity.
Making self-care part of your daily routine has a domino effect on other aspects of your life.
For example, your mental health and mood will improve right away.
In addition, research shows that people who practice self-care regularly are more confident, creative, and productive.
Also, when you practice self-care regularly, you will experience more joy, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively.
Now, who wouldn’t want all those benefits of a self-care practice?
How do you practice self-care?
The good news is that there isn’t a perfect, correct, or best way to practice self-care. It’s whatever you need to feel happier, or more relaxed.
For some people, that means watching their favorite show on Netflix or taking a bubble bath. For others, it may be baking, going on a long hike, reading, or buying a self-care subscription box. And for others, it’s taking time to journal, meditate, or meal plan.
Whatever you choose to do, start making self-care a priority for you and you’ll begin to feel less anxious and depressed.
Practice self-care with one of these 10 easy ideas
If you’re new to self-care and want a simple guide, I have got you covered.
These any of these easy 10 self-care ideas and you will immediately feel better, less stressed, and more relaxed.
Over time, you will figure out what self-care practices work best for you and even discover ones that you are already doing, and then you do them more often.
The main thing to remember is that self-care is a daily practice.
Don’t wait until you’re super overwhelmed and exhausted to start a self-care practice. If you do that, you won’t feel the benefits as much because your body is depleted.
Instead, find two or three activities that you like to do and help you feel better. Then start doing them every day.
When you start a regular self-care practice, you will notice that you have a higher tolerance and little things don’t stress you out as much anymore.
1. Start a morning gratitude practice
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Let me guess, you look at your phone right?
If you want to start your morning feeling positive, more relaxed, and happy, then start your morning with a gratitude practice.
When you wake up in the morning, I want you to take 5 deep breaths.
Inhale through your nose and out through your mouth.
After you take deep breaths, think about 3 things you’re grateful for.
It can be simple, like “I’m grateful that I have a soft, comfortable bed to sleep in at night.”
Or you can express your gratitude for something that happened the day before, “I’m grateful that I spoke with my mom on the phone last night.”
There are numerous benefits of having a regular gratitude practice. For one, gratitude remarkably creates chemical changes in your brain, which causes a positivity chain reaction. Learn more about how to start a gratitude practice and change your life.
2. Make a cup of tea
If you’re a close friend of mine, you know that I’m a tea aficionado. Perhaps it’s because I’m Persian and I grew up drinking tea every day?
There are magical properties to tea including the health benefits of flavonoids. Historically, drinking tea is a big part of numerous cultures around the world and it is a wonderful way to show your hospitality and welcome someone to your home or office.
The benefits of having a cup of tea as part of your daily self-care routine are that it requires you to slow down.
There’s actually something called Tea Therapy where you practice mindfulness when preparing and drinking a cup of tea.
My favorite tea to have in the morning is Tazo Earl Grey because the bergamot and black tea combination are divine. In the evenings, I sometimes have a cup of chamomile tea to help me relax and unwind.
How do you think you can integrate having a cup of tea daily for your self-care?
In some countries, offices actually have afternoon tea breaks together. People step away from their work, gather around to have tea and biscuits with one another.
This little break has countless benefits, including being part of a community, relaxing and nurturing your body with rest and some liquids.
3. Take a 10 minute walk
We all sit way more than we should and even if you can’t start a new fitness routine, you can try walking more.
Walking is a simple yet effective way to get moving, increase physical activity, and even promotes weight loss.
Most smartphones have a built-in step tracker so try walking more as part of your daily self-care routine.
Try taking walks outside so you can get some fresh air and exposure to sunlight which is beneficial for your Vitamin D levels and will improve your mood.
4. Meditate for 10 minutes
My meditation practice is the daily self-care activity that I devote to regularly.
Taking a few minutes every morning to meditate before I start my day has had instrumental benefits for my mental health.
Meditation is a simple practice that is available to you at any time and has remarkable effects on your brain and body.
Studies have shown that regular meditation practice reduces stress, helps manage anxiety, increases calmness, and promotes happiness.
You can get a step by step guide on how to begin a meditation practice. Take a deep breath, and get ready to relax and start a path towards self-care, balance, and wellness.
5. Focus on improving your sleep
One of the most important self-care tips to integrate into your daily life is to prioritize your sleep. When you sacrifice your sleep, other parts of your life will suffer.
A common misconception is that you can learn to get by on less than 6 hours a night. However, research suggests that adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to be well-rested.
If you are in a chronic state of sleep deprivation, your brain is flooded with stress hormones like cortisol which cause inflammation in your mind and body. Over time, you put yourself at risk of becoming physically ill and possibly depressed or anxious.
Adequate sleep, on the other hand, helps stabilize your mood, appetite, memory, energy and boosts your immune system.
To learn more about self-care tips and prioritizing your sleep, check out my article on 8 tips to finally say goodbye to your sleep problems.
6. Drink water
You’ve probably heard that you should drink more water and swap it out for your caffeinated beverages. Staying hydrated is critical for your overall health and wellness because you’re made up of 70% water.
In fact, low levels of dehydration are linked to fatigue, headaches, and increased cravings. Maybe you’re not aware but try this experiment for a week and you’ll notice a difference.
In the morning right when you wake up, drink a glass of room temperature water. Make it easy on yourself, and leave a glass on your nightstand and immediately drink it when you wake up.
Drink a glass of water (not coffee), mid-afternoon when you notice yourself feeling lethargic. You’ll feel better and your sleep will improve at night.
Keep a water bottle next to you and sip throughout the day.
Once you get into the habit of drinking more water as part of your daily self-care routine, you’ll find yourself with more energy, a better mood, and overall health improvement.
7. Stretch and move your body
Like me, you probably sit a lot.
You sit while working, you sit while having a meal and then you sit while scrolling through your phone.
Imagine how many hours a day you’re sitting and not moving.
Ugh, I don’t even want to think about how all this extended sitting is wreaking havoc on my body.
You know that your body was not designed to sit and instead was designed for movement. Think about our ancestors, they were constantly moving because their daily routines were not optimized for sitting.
One way to start feeling better right away is to start stretching and moving your body. This will do wonders for your daily self-care activity.
Ask yourself how you can integrate more movement in your day? Perhaps you get up every hour and take 250 steps. This is easy to do if you have a Fitbit or smartwatch, just set up notifications.
Instead of scrolling through endless social media platforms, take a 10-minute walk outside during your breaks at work.
In the morning when you wake up, take a few minutes to stretch your body before you get out of bed.
Integrating movement is vital for your health, well-being, and physical self-care.
8. Take your lunch break
Are you amongst the hundreds that skip their lunch break? Or maybe you sit at your desk, work, and shove a sandwich down your throat? Perhaps you’re mindlessly scrolling through the internet while eating a bag of potato chips for lunch?
Yeah, you know if I’m talking about you.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is a judgment-free zone.
The majority of people don’t take their lunch breaks. For some odd reason, perhaps you think that skipping your lunch break or eating at your desk helps you be more productive.
Research has demonstrated that taking a lunch break not only helps you feel better, but you will also feel less stressed, more productive, creative, and even lose weight.
Remember what I said earlier about movement and not sitting all day? If you prefer, instead of eating go take a walk outside for 30 minutes.
Or, step away from your desk, take your lunch away and go sit somewhere else and focus on eating mindfully.
What helps me take my lunch break is that I meal plan and prepare all my snacks and lunches in advance. That way I have a healthy and nutritious lunch prepared in advance and I’m motivated to eat it away from my desk.
I’ve noticed that I feel 100% better after a 30-minute lunch break and I’m far more productive and relaxed.
9. Stop looking at your phone
How many times a day do you think you’re looking at your phone? 10 times? 50 times? 100 times?
Do you find yourself looking at your phone when you’re bored? Tired? Anxious?
Are you trying to distract yourself to avoid doing something that you don’t want to do?
To begin with, it’s normal to look at your phone throughout the day. We all do it for various reasons.
However, the important question to ask yourself is, why are you reaching for your phone? What are you trying to achieve? What are you trying to avoid? How important is it at that moment to look at your phone?
If you really want to start feeling better, less anxious, and depressed, then start developing a better relationship with your phone.
That may sound ludicrous, how do you establish a better relationship with your phone?
Well, you can begin by setting some boundaries and rules for yourself. You can also assess how you feel and check-in with your body and mind to really ask yourself what you’re needing at that moment.
Once you’ve figured that part out, you can come up with a plan.
Perhaps, you turn off notifications and only keep the ringer on for calls. Or you set a timer for the amount of time you want to permit yourself to look through emails, the news, and social media?
Taking this step as part of your daily self-care practice will help you feel remarkably better. I know that when I’m unplugged from my phone I feel 100 pounds lighter.
How about you? How do you feel when you’re not constantly tuned into your phone?
10. Start reading a book
I’m a voracious reader and have been since I was a young child. Immigrating to the U.S. from Germany and acclimating to life here was hard for me. I had difficulty making friends as a young child, so I escaped to the library where I befriended all the character’s in my favorite books like Matilda, The BFG, and Charlotte’s Web.
My dad was my biggest cheerleader and would patiently wait as I spent hours browsing at our local library.
Now as an adult, reading is one of my favorite daily self-care activities. I spend about 1 hour a day (more if I can) reading and I absolutely cherish this time.
If you’re not a big reader, don’t fret. You can read a magazine article, listen to audiobooks, or even try short stories.
There are numerous benefits of reading. You will learn vocabulary, your writing skills will improve, you will learn new information and best of all, you get to escape into a different world.
What I love most about reading is that I get to take a free vacation, a trip if you will, to a different time, place and even encounter new people.
Through reading, I learn a little bit about the life of these characters in the books. Using my imagination, we get to spend some time together and explore new places.
I’m proud to say that I’ve traveled to Mars in The Martian and even went to the Victorian era to witness Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy fall in love in Pride and Prejudice.
I recommend getting a library membership since you’ll have access to free resources including books, magazines, movies, e-books, and audiobooks. You can even join me on Goodreads.com and share with me some of your favorite books.
Learning to practice self-care shouldn’t be hard or cause you stress.
On the contrary, defining and creating a daily self-care plan should be easy. For some people this comes naturally, for others it takes a bit more time to identify what works and how they can do more of it.
For some people, self-care may be a luxurious bubble bath and glass of prosecco while others would want to be in their pajamas and watch their favorite Netflix show.
However, the self-care practices I recommend involve setting aside time every day to do these activities.
Spending 10 minutes a day to meditate, read, take a walk, stretch and have a cup of tea are easy to do.
Once you start finding a few of your favorite activities and integrate them into your schedule by blocking out time, you will realize how much better you feel emotionally. You will find yourself less stressed, more productive, creative, and have better relationships with people in your life.
What are your favorite daily self-care practices? Did you try one of the activities I recommended? What worked well and what do you recommend to others? Please share your stories and comments below.