We live in a time where it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions. Whether it’s keeping up with work, investing in your relationship and friendships, or your list of errands and chores that is seemingly never ending, we often forget about the importance of carving out time for ourselves. Throw the stress of a global pandemic into the mix and the need for self-care increases tenfold. 

However, if there’s one shred of positivity that can be taken from the abrupt lifestyle change we’re all facing it’s that our usual pace of life has slowed down quite a bit. As a result you now have more time than ever to invest in yourself, to self-reflect and to re-evaluate what truly matters to you. 

What Is Self-care?
By definition, self-care is the practice of taking deliberate action to preserve or improve one’s mental, emotional or physical health. This can be done through any form of activity as long as it’s something that refuels you rather than takes from you. Simply put, self-care should be about doing something you enjoy and don’t feel forced to do.

Why Is Self-care Important?
Caring for yourself isn’t about self-indulgence but rather self-preservation. When you’re physically or emotionally exhausted, it becomes more difficult to handle stress as it compounds. Something that might seem insignificant on its own could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if you’re feeling burnt out in any way. Since self-care is about taking the time to nourish your mind, body and soul, it enables you to become more resilient while improving your mood and reducing anxiety.

By making the conscious effort to reconnect with positive feelings through activities you enjoy, your improved confidence and self-esteem will also have a positive influence on your relationship with others. Whether it’s leading by example in showing how not to overextend or overwork yourself or by having a greater sense of self-awareness that allows you to show up better for others, dedicating the time for your needs will help you foster healthy relationships with those around you.

How Can I Practice Self-care?
If you’re ready to relax and restore some balance to your life, here are some self-care ideas that are easy to fit into your day, and won’t cost you much time or money:

  • Journaling is one of the simplest ways to put yourself first as it helps you unwind, reboots your brain, allows time for deep thinking, and can help enhance your relationships.
  • Take a nap if you feel like you need to rest, recharge and get ready to continue the rest of your day with energy. Just be sure to set an alarm for 20 minutes so you don’t wake up feeling groggy.
  • Aromatherapy from a scented candle or diffuser have been shown to help ease feelings of anxiety and stress while boosting feelings of relaxation. 
  • Stretching for as little as 5 to 10 minutes can help relieve the tension we feel throughout our body when we’re under mental or emotional stress.
  • Make a phone call. Sometimes connecting with someone for a chat is all you need to help put things into perspective and turn your day around.
  • Get your body moving in any way that’s gentle and feels organic for you. By engaging the body to cope with stress, you can bypass a lot of unhelpful mental chatter.
  • Tap into your childhood wonder by trying an activity or hobby you enjoyed as a kid for a boost of lightheartedness. It’s the same reason adult colouring books have become popular in recent years.
  • Organize, declutter or purge items that are no longer useful for you. While this might seem like a chore at first, it has been shown to help improve mental health as you really focus on what items help make your life easier and happier.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, just remember that self-care is about what’s most fulfilling to you. As long as you engage in activities with this in mind, then you’ll be on your way to feeling your best.