If you’ve spent much time on the internet this past year (and I can assume you have because here you are—hi!), you’ve probably heard a lot about “self-care.” This term refers to taking care of one’s mental, physical, and spiritual health, which is a difficult and semi-revolutionary task with all the responsibilities and obligations we face every day. If you’re looking to indulge in more self-care in 2019, here are a few simple things you can do to get started.
1. Take a Recess
Remember in elementary school when you got to go outside and play to break up the monotony of classtime? Well, kids aren’t the only ones who get antsy after long periods of work. Scheduling in even five minutes of free time during the work day can make you feel reenergized and more creative—and it will make long hours at the office more fun!
2. Wear Something Luxurious
Sometimes, self-care is as simple as wrapping up on the couch in a soft, cozy blanket. Or dabbing on your favorite perfume or cologne. Or taking a little extra time to do your makeup just right. These little indulgences may seem silly, but they do feel wonderful—and at its core, that’s what self-care is all about! Don’t be afraid to get a little dressed up in the name of self-love.
3. Plan a Mini Holiday
We live in a busy, fast-paced world, and most of us believe that there is never time to stop. We take our work home with us, we manage our side hustles on the weekend, and we never, ever take a vacation. This is especially true if you’re American; in 2015, we let 658 MILLION vacation days go unused nation-wide! But here’s the truth: not only can you take a vacation, you need to. Try to plan a mini getaway next weekend. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; just a visit to a friend’s house or a night out at the movies could suffice. Anything you can do to let yourself unwind is absolutely worth it.
4. Have a Holiday at Home
I know, I know—the introverts among us are losing their minds right now. “Take myself out,” they’re saying. “Why would I ever want to do that?!” If you’re a homebody through and through, you can still escape the craziness of your busy life and try out a little self-care. Take a long, hot shower and sing along to your favorite tunes. Draw a bath and relax with some wine and a book. Paint your nails, put on a facial mask—do literally anything else that makes you happy!
5. Start a “Compliments File”
It’s so easy to fixate on the negative things people say about us (especially if you spend a lot of time online), and those hurtful words can really bring people down. Fight negativity by choosing instead to focus on the good! Keep a “compliments file” in your mind or on paper of all the nice things people have said about you, and reference it whenever you need an extra boost of self-confidence and positivity.
At first glance, this hardly seems like self-care. In fact, it seems more like diet advice. Doctors and fitness gurus are always demanding we drink more water, and accomplishing this task can feel like a chore. But keeping your body hydrated is actually a hugely caring act! Not only will you have more energy and better-looking skin, but you’re also literally helping your body do its job to the best of its abilities. What could be more caring than that?
7. Get Offline
Speaking of things that make you feel great—do you know what doesn’t? Social media. Multiple studies have shown that spending time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (especially Instagram) actually increases our levels of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. So, how can we swap out this daily habit for one that’s more self-caring? Simple: stop logging on! Or, at the very least, don’t visit these sites when you know you’re already feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just plain sad. Trust me, the cat memes will all be waiting for when you’re in the right mood.
As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Even when you’re feeling totally down in the dumps, a good ol’ belly laugh can really help brighten your day! Make sure to spend time with people who make you laugh, or take a few moments to read your favorite comic strips or watch a funny video each day.
9. Help Someone Else
It’s very easy to become wrapped up in the stress of our own day-to-day lives. When this happens, we don’t just fail to care for ourselves, but we often fail to notice when the people we love need help. Try your best to look for ways that you can help the people around you, whether you’re offering advice, helping with a task, or simply being there to listen. You might discover that their sincere gratitude is an uplifting balm all by itself, and by working together to help one another, we can all improve our own self-care practice.