It’s necessary to take breaks from the hustle and bustle of life — to pause and recharge. Practicing self-care can mean something different to each individual, but the whole family benefits when parents take care of themselves. Consider making your mental, physical and emotional well-being a priority this year. Here are 10 easy ways to practice self-care.
- Unplug and get outdoors.
It costs nothing to unplug and take a walk. For me, being inside for extended periods of time casts gloom over my mood. It does a world of good to log off social media, turn off Netflix and head outside. Find a green space or body of water and just take it in. It’s sure to be a mood booster.
- Start a journal.
Writing down thoughts when you’re in the middle of them is very therapeutic. Most mental health professionals will say it’s one of the best ways to deal with past and present difficulties. Issues that are challenging to verbalize have a funny way of coming out when you start to write. Putting thoughts down on paper offers perspective and the opportunity to reflect.
- Practice gratitude.
Train your mind to always be in a state of thankfulness. Whenever you’re too focused on things you don’t have or can’t do, take a moment to reflect on all the good that has happened and is happening. It will change your perspective on life, and teaching your kids to have an improved perspective is an invaluable gift.
- Make time for friends.
People crave connection — it’s in our nature. So grab a few friends and have a socially distanced girls night (Dads—get together with the guys). Plan a coffee date, get a pedicure or go out for dinner. If you can’t find time to meet, call or FaceTime a friend. Vent about your day, then catch up with each other and make plans to get together at a later date.
- Find a hobby.
Everyone is good at something. Find out what your passion is (dancing, golf, cooking, reading, photography?), then schedule some me-time to dedicate towards it. It’s OK to do things for yourself — guilt free.
Did you know that exercise releases endorphins (chemicals that trigger feelings of happiness)? That’s right, exercise literally makes you happy! No need to run a marathon. Start small by going for a walk or taking a class. Do whatever fits your schedule and budget. Try to make exercise a priority and part of your regular routine.
- Reorganize and decorate.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I often get bored with the decor in my house. I am constantly shuffling things around and adding new pieces. I love to take on little projects and tinker with stuff. It genuinely gives me happy vibes.
- Meditate and practice being still.
Being in constant grind mode prevents us from just being still. Don’t burn yourself out always reaching for the next thing. Practice being still, meditate or pray, and take time to appreciate the fruits of your labor.
This may seem out of place on a list about self-care, but it’s not. Offering a helping hand to someone in need is one of the best ways to feed your soul. The act of giving and serving others will leave you feeling fulfilled and purposeful. This is especially so when you’re not in the best place yourself.
- See a therapist.
There is no shame in therapy. The purpose is to help people navigate issues that are difficult to deal with on their own. Make taking care of emotional health a priority.
Althea Hutchinson is a local mom of two daughters and a contributing writer to San Diego Moms Blog.