10 Small Acts Of Self Care You Can Do Every Day
Looking after yourself mentally and physically doesn’t have to be a big production – it can be all about the small details.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits and let the pressure and stress of every-day life get too much. It seems almost impossible to fit everything in – getting through the work day, having some sort of vague proximity idea of a social life, remaining healthy – so sometimes you forget to look after yourself.
Here’s some extremely easy ways to touch base and try to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy every day.
#1 Go for a walk
You know the saying “getting some distance from a problem”? Well, that’s not just a metaphorical suggestion. Taking a walk and physically removing yourself from a source of stress or your workplace or your annoying housemate is an immediate, if temporary solution to the problem. And while you’re out, it helps you get perspective on the issue.
Walking is also excellent for your physical health, having medical benefits for your heart and bones and being just as effective for fitness as running and jogging. It also can help you sleep, which is a great way to take care of yourself, because surviving on little sleep is the quickest way to feel unbalanced and awful about the entire world.
#2 Hang out with some animals
Animals are so pure and good, they’re an almost automatic stress relief. If you have a dog or a cat or a particularly friendly bird, make sure you take a moment to spend some time with them. Sitting for a moment with a big purring cat or playing with an excited dog is an almost surefire way to lift your mood, and remind you that things aren’t as grim as they could be. If you don’t own any pets, don’t feel ashamed to take your lunch break in a park and watch the puppies run around. Maybe if you’re lucky, one will run up to you and you’ll get to say hello.
#3 Listen to some music
It’s well established that music is an efficient way of changing your mood – listening to a favourite song can help get you motivated, make you calmer, de-stress you or just simply make you happier. However, science has also established that music can affect your health in other positive ways too, such as diminishing back pain, helping manage depression and improving memory loss. Listening to music throughout the day – especially if you can multitask and listen to some tunes while doing some boring spreadsheet work, is a great way to keep yourself happy and productive.
#4 Get some sun
The sun is more than merely a big hot light source, it’s the source of all life on our earth. Subsequently, spending time in the sun is really good for you.
Vitamin D – which helps regulate all sorts of important things in your body – is absorbed most efficiently from actually spending some time soaking up the rays. And it only needs to be a few minutes to get the right amount – you don’t need to burn yourself and risk skin cancers. It physically helps you stay happy and healthy. Furthermore, making sure you leave your house or your office to actually go and stand in a patch of sunlight is psychologically very rewarding.
#5 Reward yourself
Make sure you take the time to congratulate yourself on a job well done, such as finishing a big project or getting through your entire to-do list. Actually, some days it’s worthwhile rewarding yourself just for getting to the end of the day. Your reward can be whatever you like – a bottle of wine, new shoes, the freedom to lie on the floor and think about nothing.
#6 Switch off
For many of us, our jobs follow us around whenever we’re on a computer or phone – when you’re off the clock, make sure you spend some time where work can’t follow you. Put your phone down, or switch off email and Twitter notifications. Close your laptop – just take a break, without constantly being re-stressed by things.
#7 Get in touch with a friend
Feeling isolated, lonely and shut off from the rest of the world is a surefire way of making yourself feel awful. Even if you don’t have the time to actually spend some time with another person, send some messages or give someone a call or at least spam your group chat with gifs. If possible, go and have a coffee with someone.
#8 Eat a banana
Bananas are great, they make you happier and they also stop your legs from twitching in the middle of the night, because they are full of potassium. They’re a really easy way to do something healthy for yourself, as it’s often really easy to eat a bunch of bad food because you don’t have time to cook or the money to buy things. But looking after yourself with some fruit or vegetables or something healthy can make you feel excellent. Alternately, eating an entire party pack of gummi worms can also have a positive effect on your mental health, and is sometimes required.
#9 Read a book
You know how people say books are escapist? Well, that can be a really good thing. Spending some time away from the realities of your life – as generally wonderful as that may be – can give you a break and help foster some perspective. This also works with films and TV too, but books are the best.
#10 Make your bed
Sometimes, that feeling of chaos and anarchy in your life can be combated by doing really simple organisational tasks. Quickly making your bed in the morning, for example, can make you feel very adult when you come home and it’s all neat and tidy and not a tangled mess of Twisties packets and old clothes. It doesn’t need to be the bed – it can be some, easily controlled administrative portion of your life that while easy to manage, makes you feel a bit better about yourself every day.
Patrick Lenton is a writer and digital marketer. He runs Town Crier, a social media and marketing consultancy for authors.