Lifestyle

5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care

The term self-care is thrown around like confetti at a wedding these days. It's the buzzword of the minute – as a quick google search can confirm – yet this 'buzzword' has some serious merit hiding behind its trendy facade. In today's world of faster is favoured, bigger is better, and connectedness is crucial losing touch with self care is inevitable. But carving out time in our busy schedules is essential, now more than ever, in not succumbing to the chronic busyness of life today.

Self-care is about more than just a candlelit bath with some moody tunes playing in the background – though if that's what centres you, by all means get soaking! It's about investing in yourself, discovering what is soul nourishing for YOU and doing it, restoring – and maintaining – balance. It's about living well and FEELING well.

pretty flowers and appreciating nature

This can mean different things for different people, at different stages of life. If you're a new mum self-care could be as simple as leaving your house in its inevitable cyclonic state to put your feet up with a (key word →) hot cup of tea while bub takes a nap. If you're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company clocking upwards of 60 hours a week at the office, it could be taking five minutes each day to meditate.

Whoever you are and whatever stage of life you're at, prioritising and investing in yourself isn't a selfish luxury, it's a necessity. In fact, it's one of the most unselfish things you can do. It doesn't have to be some grand event, it can be simple and unremarkable – like reading a book or baking just for the sake of it.

Make a list of what you love and make the time to do these things habitually.

Here's a look at five simple ways you can incorporate self-care into your life to get your own list started.

cosy hygge lifestyle

Bring a little hygge into your life

The Danes know a thing or two about living a happy life, and hygge (hoo-gah, not hi-ghee..), may just be the key to their ongoing satisfaction and high-ranking in the World Happiness Report year after year. Commonly explained as 'cosiness', at its roots hygge is about nourishing your soul, living a life filled with simple pleasures, enjoying the conviviality of an evening with friends and family, creature comforts and relishing in self-care practices, whatever that means to you – be it sipping a hot chocolate next to the fire or whipping up your grandma's famous chicken pot pie to enjoy with friends.

Schedule a phone-free day each week

Crazy, I know, but hear me out. How many times have you sat opposite a friend at a coffee shop only to be fixated on your phone? I know I have. Here's a confession I never thought I'd make: I'm addicted to my smartphone. And you probably are too.

Society today is a funny thing. We're connected but not always in a meaningful way, we're available but not always to those in our immediate vicinity, we're present in body but not always in mind. Our tech-heavy world means we are living in a state of constant distraction, and it's affecting our relationships and mental health. Eliminating this distraction for just one day a week can relieve that phone-induced brain fog and make way for more purposeful thoughts. Quiet time allows for us to understand ourselves, to reflect and decompress.

So, make like Pico Iyer, a famed writer and advocate for mindful living, and take an 'internet sabbath' of at least 24hrs each week to unplug and reflect.

 

Choose who you surround yourself with

Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, famously said, 'You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with'. With studies now suggesting happiness is contagious, who you include in your social network can have a huge effect on your state of mind. Quality over quantity is what it's all about. Science tells us there are good reasons to choose your friends carefully, with increased longevity just one of the potential benefits of good friends. Having a strong social network you can confide in and trust, friends who make you feel good about yourself, who inspire you to be your best self can also make you more resilient to stress. Choose your circle and eliminate any unnecessary negativity from your life. Who wants to be around a negative Nancy anyway?

woman walking along a beach

Walk in nature

The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is one of the most underrated forms of self-care. It's good for your soul, good for your body, and refreshing for your mind. Time and again exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, to increase endorphins and therefore your mood; you can even try meditative walking. The important thing is that you take pleasure in it. This means leaving your phone at home, pushing your to-do list out of your mind, and walking consciously. According to a study from the University of British Columbia, nature is the perfect weapon to help us relax and manage stress, particularly if you're a city dweller. So, why not take your stroll to the beach or your local park?

Relax with an Epsom salt bath

Soaking in a luxurious bath infused with mind-and-body-loving additions, like essential oils and Epsom salt, can melt away stress and leave muscles lax and supple. According to natural health advocate Dr Axe adding Epsom salt to your nightly soak has many benefits, including boosting magnesium levels, eliminating toxins, and reducing inflammation. Try one of these detox bath recipes for a soak that's good for your mind and body.

 

What does self-care mean to you and how do you practice it? Or, are you someone who needs to hit the pause button and incorporate some self-care into your life? Let us know in the comments below.

Sarah Vercoe

Article by Sarah Vercoe

Sarah is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer with a special interest in health, travel, and fitness. Based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, she can be found hiking the trails of Noosa National Park, or, more likely, chasing after her one year old daughter, Illyana.

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