In the world of wellness, self-care is the big talk of the town. With everyone being busy, stressed, overworked, and under-rested, the need for self-care is greater than ever. Practicing self-care is important for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It might be hard to imagine what that looks like, but you can follow these five principles to start your practice.
1. Do something for your happiness
When was the last time you made yourself happy? Do something that makes you smile and feel good—whether it’s going to a book signing for your favorite author, taking a vacation to a bucket-list spot, or even buying coffee from a cafe instead of brewing it at home. It doesn’t need to be anything major or time-consuming. Maybe you just need to watch a funny movie, blast music, or eat chocolate. Sometimes it’s the little things that can relax you and make your day. Commit to doing one small thing each day for your happiness.
2. Do something for your health
Self-care isn’t always about the fun; it’s also about doing what’s necessary. You have to take care of your body so it can continue to take care of you. Exercise, sleep, and diet are the pillars of good health and stress management. You can make those things easier to maintain by choosing a diet and exercise program you actually enjoy.
Eating healthy is an easy way to feel better overall. Variety is the spice of life, so eating a range of foods will prevent boredom with your diet choices and increase your likelihood of maintaining a healthy habit. You won’t cheat on a diet that gets you excited.
3. Do something for your relationships
Humans are social creatures, but we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we often forget to nurture our relationships. Get back to the things that bring you joy with the people who bring you peace. Make a relaxing date with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. It could be the low-drama friend or the one who makes you laugh and feel good about yourself.
4. Do something for your stress
Stress is a broad area to cover because there are many sources of it, and just as many ways to manage it. De-stressing could mean engaging in physical actions that help you reach a state of calm and relaxation—like meditative yoga, running, cooking, or just having a good laugh. It could mean taking care of your mental health by being mindful of your needs, taking a stand for yourself, or saying “no” to others. It also could mean optimizing your home to make it a stress-free space by decluttering, creating more light, and adding plant life.
5. Do something for your self-esteem
Self-esteem can be tied to many things, both physical and mental. Only you can determine your self-worth. If you’re proud of something in your life, the way others see you shouldn’t affect your self-esteem. At the end of the day, are you able to look at yourself in the mirror and be comfortable with the choices you’ve made, the actions you’ve taken, and the impact you’ve had on others? If not, remind yourself of everything you’ve done right, not the few things you flubbed. Be grateful for your virtues, and show forgiveness for your flaws.
Bonus: Spoil Yourself
Indulge in a little retail therapy and treat yourself to a gift you deserve. Life doesn’t always have to be about saving your money for survival expenses. After all, if you’re only spending money to survive, then are you really living? You don’t have to go into debt or go hungry while spoiling yourself—but a little prudent shopping within your budget won’t hurt. It’s worth the price to have something new and exciting in your life.
Self-care is a pathway to taking care of your mental health. It leads to positive feelings, less stress, and a confidence boost. When you value yourself by paying attention to your needs, you get a better sense of what love and respect feel like.