12 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care

If a loss in cabin pressure were to occur, what do flight attendants tell us to do?Make sure to put your own oxygen mask on before you put it on your child. The reason being that if you aren’t well, you can’t be there to help your child. The same is true when it comes to self-care.  

If we aren’t making our own well-being a priority, it makes it difficult for us to be there for the important people in our lives. Our lives put so many demands on our time and energy that at times, it may leave us feeling as if our entire existence is spent doing the things that others require of us, while our own wants take a back seat to our responsibilities, leaving us overwhelmingly out of balance. 

Self-care seems like such a simple thing to do, but at times it isn’t easy to implement in our everyday lives because we allow our beliefs to get in the way. One belief that makes it difficult to engage in self-care is that people may believe that they don’t have "the time" or “the money." Self-care doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming venture.  In fact, self-care can include short and free things such as as listening to a meditation for 5 minutes, taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood, or saying “no” to an invite when you are feeling exhausted.  

Another thing that gets in the way of self-care is believing that we’re being “selfish” by focusing on ourselves. If you grew up in a caretaking role and had adult responsibilities such as raising siblings or emotionally supporting your parents or caregivers, you may be so used to taking care of others that taking care of yourself may seem unfamiliar and even wrong. However, if we are not taking the time to focus on ourselves, we run the risk of feeling unbalanced or overwhelmed, which makes it difficult to be there for others.

Lastly, sometimes we assume that others will provide the balance that we need.  While our family and friends may provide emotional support in different ways, they are not mind readers and don’t always know what we need or how we’re feeling.  This is why it's important to make taking care of ourselves a priority and not rely on others to do it for us.

So if you need to create more balance in your life, here are 12 simple ways to engage in in self-care:

  1. Re-watch your favorite childhood movies or tv shows
  2. Walk your dog  (Unlike you, they need a human to help them practice self-care!)
  3. Adult coloring books- (Check out Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, and Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford) 
  4. Practice meditation - (Easy to do with free videos on Youtube and meditation apps like Meditation Studio by Gaiam Inc.) 
  5. Listen to your favorite music while in the shower (Use a waterproof bluetooth speaker)
  6. Go for a run and listen to a podcast or audiobook
  7. Yoga- Take a class or check out free yoga videos on youtube that you can do in the comfort of your living room. (Checkout “Yoga with Adriene”)
  8. Say “no” when you don’t want to go somewhere or do something with others.
  9. Get take-out from your favorite restaurant (Apps like Eat24 bring your favorite foods right to your door)
  10. Set technology boundaries, such as stop checking your e-mail after a certain time or by taking breaks from social media sites 
  11. Watch the sunset.  Even if you’re still at work, go outside for a few minutes and enjoy the view
  12. Laugh!  Go and watch a comedy show or watch funny videos online (you can't go wrong with funny animal videos)