36 Ways To Practice And Prioritize Self-Care
Self-care. Somehow people interpret this as selfish. Most of us were taught to put everyone in the entire world before ourselves. When the emphasis is on cultivating relationships with others, we often forget that we need a healthy relationship with ourselves, too. Combine this attitude with a consumer-driven society where everyone is climbing a ladder and few of us are stopping to smell the roses, and we have a bunch of people who don’t know who they are and don’t even realize that they deserve self-care, too.
But we do.
Life was never meant to be lived waiting for weekends, living for those rare vacations, or surviving from one paycheck to the next. It was meant to be lived. But it’s hard to want to stay present in moments that are stressful when we are exhausted and have just had one too many responsibilities heaped on top of a plate already piled high with them. These high stress lives often contribute to high-stress choices to cope like overspending, living well beyond our means, and turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
If we’re going to start prioritizing self-care and living better lives (because why wouldn’t we want to do this), we’re going to have to start now. Here are 36 ways to add self-care into our busy lives:
- Say no to new responsibilities that don’t add joy to our lives.
- Say yes to taking breaks when we need them.
- Stop investing in toxic relationships.
- Have a screen-free evening.
- Turn off WiFi at night and put the phone in a Do Not Disturb mode for everyone who is not an emergency contact.
- Make time to exercise each day, even if it’s just for a short walk across a parking lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Write in a journal.
- Spend more time in nature.
- Take a long bath.
- Light candles and enjoy the ambiance.
- Learn to meditate.
- Take time to color or draw a picture.
- Sign up for a class you’ve always wanted to take.
- Take a nap.
- Sing in the car (or shower).
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Only say kind things to yourself.
- Take a yoga class at a studio or participate at home with a video.
- Read a book.
- Watch a favorite film.
- Buy yourself flowers.
- Purchase a subscription box as a special treat for yourself.
- Take yourself out to dinner.
- Express gratitude.
- Do a home facial.
- Enjoy aromatherapy in your home or office.
- Go on a retreat, even if it’s only for a couple hours or a day or weekend.
- Skip a chore in favor of rest on a tough day.
- Literally, stop and smell the roses (or other seasonal flowers).
- Ground yourself by standing barefoot on the ground for a few minutes.
- Ground yourself with a mindfulness exercise to explore each of your senses.
- Play tourist in your own town for fun.
- Go to bed a few minutes early.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Make time for a guilt-free indulgence like a favorite snack or outing.
- Drink more water to stay hydrated.
I chose 36 things because I’ve had 36 years on Earth, many of them with no thought whatsoever given to self-care. Now self-care is a part of my daily ritual. On a single day, I’ll have written in a journal, gone for a walk, had a laugh or two, do a few minutes of yoga and meditation, and maybe even taken a nap or gone to bed early. I realized that I have value, and my care is not supposed to come last. When we prioritize our own care, we’re not being selfish. We actually tend to become happier, healthier humans who can afford to be a little more generous with our time and attention.
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