Spring has finally arrived! The change in seasons certainly brings a sense of renewal. As you brush off the winter doldrums and look towards the warmth that lies ahead, it’s also a great opportunity to turn inward and assess your needs and habits. And one of the best ways to do this is to think about your relationship with self-care.
Do you volunteer? Have you considered massage membership?
Self-care is any action or activity that aids your own mental, physical, and emotional health. While the concept sounds simple and logical enough, you’d be surprised at how frequently people push aside their own needs. They routinely put “me” time on the back burner, only to wonder why they’re so frazzled and overwhelmed. Fortunately, practicing the art of self-care is easier than you might think. In fact, here are a few ways you can start prioritizing yourself.
Take a break from social media
We all know that social media can be fairly addictive. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds sometimes seem endless. And it’s become second nature to log on whenever a spare moment arises. However, there’s a correlation between excessive use of social media and depression. Time spent online actually isolates you from real life relationships and may lead you to make unhealthy comparisons. You should periodically power down, step away from your devices, and plug into what’s truly in front of you.
Honor your body with regular massage
Massage isn’t an indulgence, rather it’s an important facet of self-care. After all, there are numerous health benefits to massage including muscle recovery, pain relief, improved skin, and even treatment for sleep apnea. Plus it’s always nice to pamper yourself every now and again. You might even enjoy it so much that you decide to sign up for a monthly membership!
It’s all too easy to dismiss self-care as selfish and extraneous. You’d rather put your time and resources elsewhere. However, self-care is vital to living a healthy, productive life. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to extend that positive energy to others.
Meditation is a great activity for self-care. It allows you to quiet your mind and alleviates stress, anxiety and chronic pain. All it takes is a quiet space and few spare minutes in your day.
Commit to volunteering
Volunteering is a win-win. Not only are you helping a person or group in need, you’re helping yourself as well. That’s because giving back can curb anxiety and increase happiness. In fact, displays of empathy and generosity have been known to raise levels of oxytocin, a neurochemical that elevates feelings of calm and trust.
Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Sure, we understand the urge to stay out for one last round of drinks. Or to binge on just one more episode of your favorite show. Nevertheless, healthy sleep habits are a basic tenant of self-care. Individuals with poor sleep hygiene are more likely to gain weight, lack focus, and exhibit cranky behavior. Conversely, a good night’s sleep is restorative. It can spur creativity, reduce stress, combat depression, and even help you live longer.
Spend more time outside
It seems rather simple but stepping outside can do wonders for your mental and physical health. For starters, exposure to the sun will boost your levels of vitamin D (which helps fight everything from cancer to heart attacks). Sunlight is also known to elevate mood, allowing you to relax and feel joyful. Further, time spent outdoors typically means an increase in exercise. No matter if you go for a rigorous hike or a slow stroll through the park, you’ll be getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
Listen to music
If you want to kick your happiness into high gear and generate some positive vibes, turn on some tunes! Music has been proven to increase feelings of joy, optimism, friendliness, and calm. The best part is that the genre doesn’t matter. You can improve your outlook regardless of whether you like hard rock, classical, or easy listening.
Declutter your living and/or workspace
It’s easy for clutter to creep up – a few errant piles of paper here, a half-finished mug of coffee there. Unfortunately, a messy space can lead to a messy mind. Clutter can exacerbate feelings of guilt and stress. It can negatively impact motivation as well. And it gives the impression that you’re disorganized and unproductive. Therefore, we recommend that you consciously set aside some time to clean up and declutter. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and calm as you step into your newly fresh and orderly space.