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10 Things to Check off Your Self-Care List

By Pam Dewey • self care, self-care, mental health, mental healthcare, mental health care, wellness • May 06, 2021

Self-care might conjure images of soaking in a tub or enjoying a nice massage. While a spa day is refreshing, self-care can also impact both your physical and mental health, even providing long-term benefits. This self-care list encourages you to slow down and truly focus on what is best for your mind and body. Here are ten ideas to get you started.

1. Move your body

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity each week. That might sound like a lot, but it adds up to just 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. You can go for a brisk walk, take a bike ride, do yoga, go roller skating or lace up those running shoes. Pick an activity that you enjoy. Exercising releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that boost your mood. It can also help you relieve stress and fight the symptoms of depression.

2. Stay hydrated

The general rule of thumb is to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day. How much water your body needs depends on several things, like whether you work out, where you live and the temperature. When you work out, your body will need more water because you’re sweating. Likewise, if you live in a dry, desert area, you’ll need to consume more water. Being dehydrated can cause headaches, fatigue and lack of focus. So if you find yourself struggling to concentrate, or you’re suddenly feeling sluggish, try drinking some more water.

3. Take time to eat meals

Eating healthy food is good for your body. But making time to sit down and eat a meal is also good for you. Even if you have a busy day, make time to sit down, take a break and focus on what you’re eating. This allows you to relax and enjoy what you’re eating. Remember, there are many ways to nourish your body.

4. Get enough sleep

Sleep helps your body recharge. The CDC recommends 7 or more hours of sleep a night for adults 18-60 years old. However, you should listen to your body. You might need more or less sleep to feel your best.

5. Challenge negative thinking

We’re often very critical of ourselves. Negative thinking can prevent you from believing in yourself, making positive changes in your life and achieving your goals. When you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, you might try asking yourself a few questions.

  • Am I just jumping to a negative interpretation of this situation?
  • What is the worse outcome here? Is that likely to happen?
  • Is there a positive way to see this situation?
  • How can I solve this problem?

Recognizing your negative thinking isn’t accomplishing anything is an important step forward. It might also help you look at things from a different perspective.

6. Get dressed up

Dressing in comfortable clothes can feel like self-care. But if you’re a person who enjoys getting dressed up, sitting around in yoga pants can affect your mood. So grab your favorite lipstick, dust off your most stylish blazer and shine up those party shoes. And give yourself time to primp and pamper yourself. Then, stage a selfie session in your fabulous look, or surprise your significant other with a fancy dinner at home. Changing your outfit can provide an immediate mood boost.  

7. Make time for fun

Your life is filled with responsibilities like doing laundry, picking up groceries and helping your kids with their homework. Carving out moments of joy is important self-care. Maybe that means taking the kids to the park, having an impromptu dance party or popping popcorn and watching your favorite movie. 

8. Connect with a friend

This past year has left many of us disconnected from friends and family. Even if you can’t see your friend in person, you can reach out to them via text, email or phone call. Send them a message to let them know you’re thinking about them and miss them. Talking with friends is important for your mental health because it helps you de-stress and express how you’re feeling.

9. Start a new creative project

Maybe you feel stuck in a rut. Learning how to do something new — like painting with watercolors, making pottery or dancing — can help get your creative juices flowing. Not to mention, recent studies have shown that “learn[ing] new things is good for your brain health.”

10. Take time off

Even if you don’t have a trip planned, you should still take time off. An extra day off gives you time to unwind and recharge. You can spend the day reading or plan a fun outing with your family or a friend. Whatever you do, don’t check your work email or reply to work-related text messages.

If you find yourself still struggling, you might want to consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Many of Fraser’s services are available via telehealth and allow you to talk to someone from the safety and comfort of your home.