Did you know that July 24th is International Self-Care Day? It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about self-care and the important role it plays in leading a healthy lifestyle. While International Self-Care Day is observed on July 24th, self-care is important to lifelong health and wellness and should be practiced regularly.
Good self-care means taking care of yourself in the best way you can and making choices that support your physical and mental health. This includes things like eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising. But it can also mean spending time with friends and family, enjoying a hobby, and getting out in nature.
Read on to learn 12 ways to help expand self-care day to every day—or at least most days.
1. Practice yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or meditation.
These breath-focused practices help calm your nervous system and improve your overall health. You can practice on your own, but it can also be helpful to join a class or connect with other people who practice yoga or meditation in your community through community centres, local studios and clinics, or something like Meetup. When you’re busy and want to practice on a flexible schedule, there are many online sites like Glo and MindBodyGreen. Many of your favourite local instructors also offer their own online courses.
2. Get moving.
Exercise can help you feel better physically, but it also releases endorphins which make you feel good emotionally. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, joining a sports team, or checking out some new activity that’s growing in popularity, like pickleball.
3. Schedule “me time.”
Think about what makes you feel good when you’re stressed out or feeling blue. Maybe it’s listening to music or taking a walk in nature or walking on the beach. Whatever it is, schedule some time each day (or week) when you can do those things without interruption from others.
4. Prioritize sleep.
Sleep is vital to your health because it helps regulate hormones, maintain weight, and boost immunity, among other things. It also improves mood, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure.
5. Nourish your body! Eat healthy food.
Eating well is important for both physical and mental health. Eating nutrient-rich foods provides the energy needed for daily activities while also helping to prevent disease by reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a slew of other health issues.
6. Drink more water.
Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and poor concentration. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. If you’re thirsty, drink water rather than sugary beverages or caffeinated drinks like soda or coffee.
7. Express gratitude.
Being grateful can help reduce stress and increase happiness. Think about all the things you have in your life that are good, or even great. These could be big things like your health or a loving family, or smaller things like your ability to get to work on time. Write down five things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed, then read them out loud while savouring the feeling of gratitude!
8. Take a break from technology.
Turn off your phone for one hour each day or go on a digital detox for the weekend. If you’re getting out in nature or spending time with family or friends, these are excellent times to take a break from your phone and social media. This can give you more time to focus on what matters most. While you might want to stay up to date with the news, you may also benefit from news-free days so that you don’t get overwhelmed. On a regular basis, it’s also ideal to limit the number and way that you get notifications.
9. Spend time with friends and family.
Socializing with people who make you feel good makes you feel good! Some of us like to spend time with groups, while others are better one on one. Either way, spend time with those who support the choices you make to take care of yourself.
10. Do something creative.
Getting a chance to express your creativity is often forgotten about when it comes to supporting health and wellness, but it has many benefits. Creative activities often cause a “state of flow,” also called “in the zone,” that helps people feel calm, feel at peace or happy, experience improved self-esteem, and find it easier to cope with difficult emotions. It also helps with motivation, which may make it easier to eat healthy and exercise! Try doing something creative like painting, writing poetry, or playing music—whatever makes your heart sing (or at least hum).
11. Seek help.
Sometimes it’s tough to self-evaluate what you can do to best support your health. Seek out a care provider (or more than one) who can offer you both physical and emotional health guidance.
12. Take reishi.
Reishi mushroom has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to improve health and vitality. As an adaptogenic, it has a wide range of health benefits. It’s been shown to support the immune system and promote a calm nervous system, making it a perfect addition to your self-care routine.
It’s important to remember that self-care is a practice. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get into the habit, but it’s well worth the effort!