We live in a busy world. Sometimes time passes in a whirlwind, leaving you no time to stop and think. Taking care of yourself is often the last task on the checklist, but when you put everything else before yourself, you suffer.
You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself, too. Self-care is not selfish, and it shouldn’t be a chore listed next to doing laundry and buying the groceries. You’re more important than that, and it’s time you started doing more for yourself. Here are 10 ways to practice self-care.
Snuggle With a Pet:
Giving and receiving love is a mutual exchange. Sometimes it feels like others take too much, without giving back, but this is never true for pets. Your pets will forgive you for anything and love you unconditionally. Take a moment out of your busy day to snuggle with your pet.
Get Your Hands and Feet Dirty
You need dirt therapy in your life. Forget gloves and forget shoes — get out in the garden! Dig in the dirt and plant new seeds with your bare hands. The microbes in the soil are good for the body, too. Feel the cool soil beneath your feet on a hot day, and enjoy your grounding connection with Mother Earth.
Enjoy a Hot Herbal Bath:
After getting dirty, pull some lavender from your garden and head in for a hot bath. Let the herbs steep in the hot water. Add candles, music, oils, and whatever creates the ultimate soothing experience for you. When the temperature is perfect, step in for a long and well-deserved soak.
Take a Class or a Tutorial:
Lifelong learning is important for the mind and your overall health. A curious mind is always pondering, taking apart things and putting them back together in interesting ways.
Take a class or a tutorial in something old or new. Brush up on your Spanish or French by listening to an audio tape in the car. Watch video tutorials on making your own clothes, and read articles about interesting historical figures between tasks. Keep your curiosity about the world alive!
Start a Journal:
When you’re busy taking care of business, the days tend to blend together. Keep track of your day, your thoughts and your feelings inside of a journal.
The entries can be long or short. Starting a journal gets your feelings out when no one is around to hear you, but especially when you need to listen to yourself. Many famous and enlightened people have kept journals, from authors like Mary Shelley to presidents like Barack Obama.
Clean Out a Closet
On the surface, the house looks clean, but that’s because everything has been stuffed into the closet. Pick one, and clean it out. In your dreams, the house represents the self or the body.
People are used to compartmentalizing their feelings and boxing everything away. Maybe cleaning out the closet will herald another change for you.
Take One Small, Brave Step
Take a small step on something personal you need to do — perhaps something you’ve been avoiding. Sometimes anxiety, fear, or confusion holds you back from something you need to do. If you break that large task into smaller steps, you will conquer it little by little. Sometimes fear is excitement in disguise.
Be Present With Your Emotions
When you can, laugh. When you need to, cry. Do not try to fit into a picture perfect mold of what others expect you to be. Simply be yourself, because you are doing the best you can, and you’re human.
Take a Nap
You deserve a nap. Feeling toasty in a blanket burrito sounds amazing, right? It is — as long as you don’t make napping a habit, because it could negatively affect your night’s rest. Regulating your sleep is important for your health.
Have a Random Dance Party
Doing boring chores or errands? Crank up the music and bust out some moves, whether there’s someone watching or not. Shake it! You need to have fun — and sometimes release your inner child.
It’s not selfish to take a nap, let your emotions show, or run around barefoot in your garden. Embrace a little self-care every day. You’ll feel much more energized when you start your day — and more relaxed before bed.
Savannah Hemmings is a Philadelphia-based personal stylist and writes about style, wellness and fitness on her lifestyle blog, Sincerely Savannah. Her work has been featured on Hello Giggles, Bustle, Self Magazine and TIME.
Images via Gal Meets Glam.