For a lot of people, the idea of practicing self-care can be somewhat overwhelming. Platforms such as Instagram make it seem like there’s only one way to commit to self-care – and that’s devoting yourself to who you are. This self-love doesn’t come as easily as people would like to think, and it’s a hard thing to wrap your head around.
While self-acceptance is an important part of everybody’s lives, you don’t have to love yourself – or even really like yourself – to act in order to help yourself. Of course, self-love is great, but, if you don’t have it, it doesn’t mean self-care is off the table for you. Self-care doesn’t need to be anything big or extravagant, and, to prove that, here are a few small ways in which you can carry out self-care on a daily basis. Alone, these acts may not seem like a big deal, but they can make a world of difference.
Write Down Something You’re Grateful For
It’s so, so easy to forget what we’re thankful for when we don’t particularly like ourselves. Even if you have all the self-acceptance in the world, it’s likely that you still experience those days where it just doesn’t feel worth it. It’s easy to fall into this negative mindset and let it fester into something worse.
Every day, make an effort to write down something that you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as the air you breathe or the shoes that you walk in, or it could be more complex. The important thing is to make this into a daily habit, as it ensures that you’re able to remain perspective on what matters. Yes, things may suck right now, but there’s also a lot of good in the world and in your life that you’re going to be able to turn to.
Get a journal and put a pen to paper, or use the notes app on your phone. Whatever it is you’re thankful for right now, jot it down and save it so that you can look back at it later. This form of self-care allows you to see past the dark thoughts that you may be having and focus on what’s good about the day or the situation.
Hydration is important, and I say this as somebody who absolutely hates the taste of water! The thing is, even if you don’t like drinking water (like me), being dehydrated can make you feel absolutely terrible. You’ll start to feel lethargic and weak, and you’re generally going to feel crappier in general.
It’s good to try to stick to drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day, and it’s also suggested that you start off your day with a glass as we tend to get dehydrated while we sleep. Remember, it’s important to take care of your body as well as your mind, so drinking water can play a major part in self-care. After-all, it’s about caring for yourself.
If you don’t like drinking water on its own, try switching to an alternative such as sparkling water, tea infused water, or simply just tea.
Stick To A Sleep Schedule
This is easier for some than it is for others, but it’s an important aspect of self-care that we should all try to incorporate into our daily routines. Getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep each night is going to help you feel a lot better both within and about yourself.
Why? Not getting enough sleep tends to make us feel worse off, which, in turn, promotes negative thinking. You’re tired and stressed and you’ve been tossing and turning all night, so obviously you’re not going to be in a good mood. Likewise, it’s not just enough to rely on caffeine to make you feel better – that cup of coffee is just going to make your hands shake.
Make your sleep a priority and see the positive changes that it can make to your entire lifestyle. Sticking to a regular routine will help your body fall into a natural sleep pattern and reducing the amount of distractions will help you get a better night’s rest. Nobody is claiming that you’re going to be able to get rid of all the stressful things in your life, but you can learn how to manage your stress a bit better by talking about how you feel or reaching out to friends.
Eat Something Healthy
I’m all for people eating whatever they want, whenever they want, and my eating disorder doesn’t cloud my judgement on that. However, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s also rather necessary that you eat healthy foods every now and again. I’m not saying cut out your favourite burger or chocolate bar – not at all, and that diet culture can go in the garbage – but eating healthy can make you feel better too.
Just like sleep, adequate nutrition is one of the keys to feeling better within yourself. In fact, a lot of good foods can help reduce the likelihood of suffering from inflammation or certain diseases, so it’s obvious that your body is going to benefit from eating right.
However, keep in mind that ‘bad food’ doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as ‘bad food’, but there are certain food items that are more nutritious or will have more antioxidants, for example, and it’s important to keep a balance of these within your diet.
Be Honest About How You Feel
One of the best ways to practice self-care is actually to simply talk about how you feel and share your emotions with other people. It can be majorly damaging to keep bottling things up and keeping our feelings inside, as this often results in outbursts of violence or anger. Instead of keeping it all to yourself, try to start a conversation about how you or a loved one feels, and feel that burden lift off your chest.
Even though it’s tough – and I know just how tough it is – talking about our issues and actually knowing that other people are aware of them can help a great deal. It not only gives you peace of mind, but it also can act as a release that’s rather cathartic.
You don’t need to have a lengthy conversation if you don’t want to – sometimes it’s good just to write down your emotions, even if nobody else is going to see that piece of paper. The important thing is to be honest and open, else you’re just further adding to your own suffering.
Sit Outside For 10 Minutes
You’ve probably heard that mindfulness and grounding is all the rage recently, and it’s true! Mindfulness is so great when it comes to practicing self-care because it enables you to get in touch with your body and really get in tune with your emotions. However, just like self-care, mindfulness isn’t always easy to incorporate into your routine.
Grounding, however, is much easier, and it focuses on connecting yourself with the world around you. This can be done through meditation, or it can be as simple as going to sit outside for a few minutes. Notice the world around you and feel the fresh air – and, while you’re at it, you can focus on the things that you’re thankful for as well.
Just getting outside and being in a different environment, especially if you’re somebody who spends most of your time in the same place, can really make you feel lighter. A change of scenery is always welcome, and you’re going to start feeling more refreshed if you actively seek out new environments.
Self-care doesn’t need to be complicated or complex – and it doesn’t need to take all the time in the world. Here are just a few ways that you can start acting more kindly towards yourself, even if it’s only a small act.
Have any of these methods worked for you? Are there other suggestions that you have on how to practice self-care in small ways? Let me know!