It’s important to show compassion for others, but how often do we treat ourselves with that same level of kindness? One of the best things that we can do for our minds and bodies is to take a break and remember that we are worth love.
For some people, adding self-care into a daily regimen can seem inconvenient, or even intimidating. Your first defense might be “I don’t have time for that,” or “I have too many other things to do.” But repeatedly putting the needs of others before our own can can lead to a lack of “me time,” which can, in turn, create stress and resentment and prevent us from being our best selves.
Research has illustrated that adding self-care into one’s daily routine reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical ailment, increases productivity, and inspires feelings of happiness. By giving ourselves a daily dose of compassion, we’re able to approach our work and relationships with a clear, happy mind, thus allowing the cycle of positivity to continue.
1. Eat healthily and mindfully.
Too often we eat our meals while multitasking, thus denying ourselves the pure experience of nourishing meal. Would you work on the computer when having dinner with a loved one? Treat yourself with that same level of respect, and allow yourself to indulge in a meal without any distractions.
2. Keep track of your accomplishments.
While there are great merits to a “to-do” list, we must also recognize the things we’ve done. At the end of the day, make a list (either mental or write it out) of the productive things you’ve done that day. Did you nurture a relationship? Do the laundry? Complete a work assignment? No matter how small, you deserve a pat on the back.
3. Express gratitude.
Just as it’s beneficial to keep track of what we’ve done, it’s also good to notice what we have. Keep a journal by your bed, and note the things that you feel lucky to have. Everything from clean sheets to a good friend is worth noting.
4. Gift your inner child.
What were some of your favorite things when you were little? Did you love sidewalk chalk, picking wildflowers, or eating marshmallows? Treat your inner child to a little present and allow the warm feelings to wash over you.
5. Create a cozy space.
Does your bedroom look they way you want it to? If it doesn’t, maybe add some candles or fun throw pillows. By building a space that feels warm and inviting, you establish an inviting retreat for when tough times arise.
6. Read a book.
Finding a book you love is a great way to feel happy. It feels wonderful to look forward to a good story, and the act of reading helps encourage a sense of peace. I recommend The Interestings, Tiny Beautiful Things, or A Homemade Life.
What people say about exercise and endorphins is true; getting active increases feelings of happiness. This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym. Rather find a form of physical activity that works for you. Go dancing with your friends, enjoy a Saturday morning hike, or go on a bike ride.
Instagram and Facebook have some benefits, but does it really make you feel better to expose yourself to everyone’s online versions of themselves? Most often people only report on their success, and so it can be hard when you’re comparing your entire life to everyone’s highlight reels. Take the time to break away from social media, and allow yourself to focus on the beauty of the moment.
9. Create something.
Whether it’s a batch of brownies or a pastel drawing, getting artistic allows us to feel mindful and productive.
10. Build a self-care kit.
Fill a pretty basket with some of the things that make you feel special. It could be nail polish, gummy frogs, coconut lotion, treasured photos, or a new pair of socks. Place your pick-me-ups in a pretty basket, and keep it in your bedroom or bathroom for when you need an extra dose of love.
Remember, by being your best self you’re able to share those beautiful feelings with those around you. Search for the good, share your peace, and watch the positivity grow.
Photo by Ali Kaukas.
Amanda Kohr is a 24-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet via her blog at cozycaravan.com.