I learnt a lot about self-care last year. Although I am a yoga teacher, I admit that I may not have been practicing much self care over the past 10 years and perhaps even using yoga practices as an escape to my daily stress, avoiding it instead of facing my emotions.

So what is self care? I chanced upon this article on facebook and find that this is one of the best articles which explains self-care in a clear and simple way for most people who understand. Sometimes, when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, the last thing you want is to read a long article on how to relax – the words will just make your brain spin more. The linked article breaks it down easily for you. From the article, I also pulled out some main points below which I resonate with and allow you to understand self-care in a nutshell. Enjoy :)

What Exactly is Self-Care?

Initially I  (Author) had a lot of misconceptions about self-care; I thought it was about being eternally happy all the time. Then I realized it’s actually impossible to be happy all the time and suffering is a necessary part of life that is required for personal growth.

True self-care strengthens and deepens our connection with ourselves so we can understand how to meet our needs from a mental, emotional, and physical standpoint.

Self-care builds your connection with who you are at the core of your being so that when the tides of life get rough, you are anchored and don’t get swept away.

It helps you to not sweat the small stuff and prevents burnout and exhaustion. Ultimately, a self-care practice will allow you to understand yourself, find your passion and purpose, and take you on the path to live a fulfilled life.

It’s not easy to break bad habits, especially if you’ve spent years putting other people’s needs before your own. Here are some tips on how you can start to treat yo’self!

Self-Care Ideas for Mental Health

  • Relax and allow yourself to do nothing (no cellphones allowed!)
  • Meditate
  • Read an educational book with a focus on personal growth
  • Listen to an educational podcast (news is not included as educational)
  • Play with your pet
  • Cuddle your significant other
  • Do something that makes you smile
  • Create something artistic or play an instrument
  • Listen to music you love
  • Practice gratitude with a gratitude journal

Self-Care Ideas for Emotional Health

  • Forgive someone you have been holding a grudge against
  • Do something that’s scared you that you’ve always wanted to do
  • Focus on your own needs and goals instead of comparing yourself to others
  • Practice compassion for yourself
  • Take a break from social media
  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings instead of running from them or distracting yourself
  • Read a fictional book that lifts your spirits
  • Take a break from technology—unplug
  • Help someone and don’t expect anything in return
  • Practice positive affirmations (Example: You are enough just as you are right now in this moment.)
  • Write down a few things you appreciate yourself

Self-Care Ideas for Physical Health

  • Practice deep breathing
  • Move to music you love
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Lift weights
  • Walk
  • Play a sport
  • Go outside—get some sunlight on your skin
  • Try yoga or another mindful movement practice (also good for your mental health)
  • Eat healthfully (i.e.: fruits and veggies, unrefined foods)
  • Look in a mirror and love your body as it is right now, without judgment