According to the American Institute of Stress (yes, that’s a thing!), 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. While yes, we know that stress is a challenge many of us face, let’s take a look at that statistic in more detail. Over 3 in 4 people experience it. And they experience it regularly. And it causes physical symptoms. Meaning it’s damaging our mind and our bodies.
While there’s no shortage of tactics we can use to reduce our stress levels, I would argue that self care strategies are some of the best tools in our toolbox.
Hold up: what is self care?
Self care is anything we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and/or physical health. Pretty broad, huh? The key lies in tuning into what your body and mind need, and catering to it through relevant activities.
Practicing self care is an unselfish act that can actually enable us to show up better and stronger.
Why practice self care?
First, unlike our boss’s temperament or our work load, we have direct control over practicing self care and can take action quickly.
Second, making self care a habit (versus a reaction) can transform our lives. (My coach wrote a fantastic post about seeing self care as an ongoing practice versus a treat).
And third, it has a domino effect as it enables us to show up better and give more to others.
Convinced yet? Here are 18 self care strategies you can try this week to kick start your practice.
Make an at-home spa
1. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.
Bonus: you’ll look more polished afterwards!
2. Have a bubble bath.
You can also listen to some soothing music! Spotify has some great playlists.
3. Apply a face mask.
Masks feel luxurious and indulgent, and you can do them at home.
Spend time in nature
4. Go for a walk or hike.
You’ll also be getting your body moving and releasing endorphins. Happiness for the win!
5. Sit outside.
Even just being outside poses benefits as it allows you to connect with nature and breathe in some fresh air.
Have some quiet time
6. Read a book.
One of my favourite self care strategies! Both fiction and non-fiction work. I find fiction books to be an escape into a new world, whereas non-fiction books have an added element of often teaching me something new.
7. Take a nap.
Even just 20 minutes of shut eye can leave you feeling refreshed.
A regular journalling practice has incredible benefits. I’ve started journalling more often and find it helps me work through worries and stress. Being able to download your feelings and thoughts is freeing and also a healthy practice.
9. Do yoga.
Join a class, or turn your home into a yoga studio by grabbing a mat and finding a great video.
Watch or listen to something
10. Watch a chick flick.
Some of my favourites are How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Love Actually, and Sleepless in Seattle.
11. Watch a funny sitcom.
A lighthearted, humorous show can also be a mood booster! Seinfeld is one of my favourites, but there are tons to choose from.
12. Watch uplifting YouTube videos.
13. Listen to a favourite podcast.
Dive into a hobby
14. Bake a batch of muffins
Bonus points if they’re healthy and will give you extra nutrition! I made these healthy Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffins a few months ago and they were delish.
15. Do something creative like a craft or colouring
I find designing stickers for my Etsy shop to be relaxing and therapeutic! To make the most of this practice, give yourself permission to truly express yourself versus being too focused on a certain goal.
Go on an excursion
16. Sit in a coffee shop
Sometimes just taking a quiet afternoon to be out in the world and people watch is just perfect.
17. Go to a farmer’s market or other outdoor space
A great way to get out and take in handmade products, local wares, and support small business owners.
18. Visit a museum or gallery
Passionate about art, music, or history? Find a museum or gallery that caters to this.
Bonus: Build a Self Care Toolkit
With any of the at-home activities above, make your atmosphere even cozier by lighting a candle and getting into your comfiest clothes. Find more suggestions on great products in my self care toolkit.
There you have it: 18 fantastic was to practice self care and integrate it into your daily life. Leave me a comment below: what strategies excited you the most? How do you practice self care? I’d love to hear!