Self-Care: What It Really Is and 16 Ways to Do It

Self-care has been described as hard-earned indulgence at best, and a Millennial-aged excuse to be lazy at worst. The simple, psychological principle of doing what’s necessary to ensure your emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing is a hot topic in our society right now.

To begin practicing good self-care, understand that it isn’t about being selfish or irresponsible. It’s about achieving a healthy balance by engaging in things that contribute to an overall healthier life. And contrary to what some believe, it isn’t necessarily about spending money on wellness retreats and designer shoes.

Don’t feel guilty – give your best by being your best with these 16 activities that add up to great self-care.

  1. Carve out time specifically dedicated to laughter.

A comic strip, a stand-up comedy, a screwball comedy, a funny memory. Whatever gives you a real belly laugh is worth some of your time.

  1. Have an aromatherapy moment.

Use lavender linen spray, scented candles, or a dab of oil on pulse points. Take the time to really notice the effect it has on you.

  1. Eat something healthy, but also kind of fancy.
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Pine nuts! Avocados! Fresh mozzarella! They may not make the list every week, but make eating a little better feel special by putting together a new dish that looks good enough to eat.

  1. Make a list of accomplishments.

Aren’t you tired of making lists of things you have to do? Make a list of things you’ve done, and marvel at your successes, even the really small ones.

  1. Sing your favorite song.

Your ability doesn’t matter here. Singing a song that makes you feel something out loud has an incredible impact on your emotional body.

  1. Plan your meals.

Spend less time throughout the week laboring over lunch and dinner. Create a plan, prep accordingly, and you’ll also be able to stick to a cleaner diet more easily.

  1. Stretch.
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Instead of dreading that aerobics class or long-distance run, opt to practice some yin yoga instead. Deep, passive stretching is good for joints and muscles you want to get more use out of in life.

  1. Find a new podcast.

Pick a topic that interests you – there’s sure to be a podcast on it. Play it on your morning commute, while you’re cooking, or before bed.

  1. Talk to someone you don’t know very well.

If you feel like you’ve been living in a bubble, branch out today by complimenting someone’s outfit, asking that shy person how their day is going, or making eye contact with the cashier.

  1. Take a social media break.

We stare at screens so much that it’s no wonder we can’t find time to relax. For a whole week, stay off of your social media accounts. Don’t even browse.

  1. Declutter.
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Physical clutter becomes mental anxiety. Reduce yours today by paring your collection of stuff down to what best serves your lifestyle.

  1. Take that nap.

Productive people are often very resistant to napping, but a short nap of just 15 minutes can actually boost your productivity.

  1. Give yourself a manicure.

Save money and stay well-groomed by learning how to do an at-home manicure. Watch a few video tutorials for inspiration and helpful hints as you buff, polish, and moisturize your fingertips.

  1. Go for a walk, but stop along the way.

Many of us know the benefits of walking off stress, but walks can become just as routine as everything else. Stop to browse that little shop, or take a break to sit under a tree.

  1. Go for a light read.
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The stack of educational texts, historical biographies, and self-help books will still be there tomorrow. Today, get caught up in a thriller that doesn’t ask too much of your brain. You could even go for a fashion magazine.

  1. Look for beauty.

Busting the monotony and feeling appreciative helps us make better decisions and come up with new ideas. As you go about a mundane task, such as a trip to the store, try to point out at least three things that you think are beautiful or interesting.