“Self-care” is a word that seems to come up a lot in today’s social circles and thankfully so. In the hustle and bustle of modern day life, we seldom put aside the time for our own well-being.
Self-care encompasses everything that will improve (or maintain) your emotional and mental well-being. Even simple activities like going for a stroll in the park during lunch, or taking the time at night to practice yoga or meditate can do worlds of good for you.
Essentially, self-care is intentionally performing an act which rewards you with physical, mental or emotional pleasure or benefits and allows space for you to reflect on inner-thoughts.
Building such a repertoire involves simply doing things you absolutely love to do! It’s that easy.
Whether you’re looking to expand your current self-care regimen or if you’re a self-care newbie, this post will get you heading down the right track.
Here are 6 easy self-care exercises that are proven to relieve stress:
1. Go Outdoors.
Research shows that being in nature can make you feel better emotionally, reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and can minimize the production of stress hormones, like cortisol. Being outdoors can be extremely beneficial to your mental and physical well-being.
So switch off the computer or television, take a walk in the park, put your feet in the sand, take a breath near a source of water like a river or lake. The sounds of nature are one of the many benefits us humans get to enjoy, and recent studies have proven it to be a powerful act of self-care.
2. Try adult colouring books.
It seems that the reason for the recent rise in the number of adults colouring is due to its therapeutic value. Not only is it a major act of creative expression, it has the potential to help people clarify their feelings, improve self-awareness, resolve emotional conflict, and even reduce anxiety.
Psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala says, “The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.”
3. Keep a journal.
Free writing your thoughts, feelings and experiences can allow you to get more in touch with your true self. It can resolve all kinds of interpersonal issues, find solutions to internal problems and aid in reducing that annoying ‘mind-fog’ we all get from time to time.
Its as easy as putting pen to paper, and if that isn’t your thing then open up a notepad on one of your electronic devices, or your PC. On top of all this, you get to monitor your growth by flipping back a few pages.
You needn’t be a monk to fully understand, or appreciate, the benefits of meditation. Whether you practice for 5 minutes or an hour, the clarity one achieves after a hearty session of meditation is astonishing.
The act of meditation is about focusing on internal presence and stillness, while allowing all the noise in the mind to fade.
Doing this regularly can improve your concentration and immune system function, as well as reduce mental and physical stress.
5. Perform yoga.
Thanks to affordable yoga apps and various online tutorials, we can all enjoy the benefits that tying ourselves into a pretzel has to offer, all in the comfort and sanctity of our home. And even though most yoga styles are basic and easy enough for a beginner, studies show the benefits of relieving physical tension and improving overall relaxation, self-awareness and psychological well-being are immense.
6. Appreciate the fauna.
Another tried and trusted method of improving people’s mental and physical condition is to spend time with animals of all types and sizes (not just dogs) and is thus an act of self care. Whether you pet (non-wild) horses or volunteer at the local (no-kill) animal shelter, the company of any animal is shown to reduce blood pressure, help you relax and is guaranteed make your day a whole lot more pleasant.
Besides these 6 helpful ways to practice self-care, do you have any daily routines that make your life a bit easier? Be sure to share them with us in the comments!
By Raven Fon