Jumping into 2024, self-care is a continuous priority for me. I’m someone who struggles with anxiety (more on that here) and finding different ways to not only manage my anxiety but prioritize my mental health has made a big impact. Last year I made a conscious effort to do this and I can’t tell you how much it’s changed my life for the better! So we’re keeping it going in 2024. Now, when I say self-care, I’m not talking about a face mask. Don’t get me wrong, a face mask is nice, but it’s not something that moved the needle for me in terms of my mental health. That being said, I thought it would be helpful for me to share my favorite self-care that feels good and makes a difference.
Mindful Meditation: Meditation isn’t for everyone, but you’ll be surprised what 5 minutes can do. Simply sit in a quiet space, focus on your breath, and clear your mind. You’ll feel instantly relaxed! There are numerous meditation apps available that can guide you through sessions tailored to your preferences, or this is also a good time to do personal, daily affirmations.
Gratitude Journaling: Want to transform your mindset to a more positive one? Practice gratitude. Reflecting on the things you’re thankful for can shift your perspective and boost your overall mood. I think one of the simplest ways to practice this is by journaling. I don’t have time to journal for hours so I like the 5-Minute Journal which only takes a few minutes but has a daily prompt that makes it easy.
Digital Detox: Schedule some screen-free time. Trust me, your eyes and mind will thank you. Pick up a book, go for a walk, or just enjoy the quiet without the buzz of notifications.
Creative Expression: Whether it’s painting, writing, making videos, or playing an instrument, engaging in artistic pursuits allows you to channel your emotions and find joy in the process.
Spend Time in Nature: Spend time outdoors to recharge your energy. Nature is like a free therapist! Take a walk, hike a trail on the weekends, or simply sit outside in the sun. We’re all staring at our laptops and phones so many hours of the day, it’s easy to be inside 24/7. Connecting with nature has proven benefits for mental health, reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm.
Prioritize Your Sleep: A quality nighttime routine is SO essential to getting good sleep. Set up a peaceful environment, ditch the screens, and do something calming like reading so your mind can relax.
Move Your Body: Exercise doesn’t need to be this daunting thing that feels like a chore. The key is to find something you genuinely enjoy doing, whether that’s yoga, walking with a friend, at-home pilates, or workouts at a fancy gym. Incorporating movement into your routine will enhance your physical and mental well-being.
Don’t Forget Your Social Life: On those super busy weeks, it’s easy to let your social life and meaningful connections head to the bottom of the list. Don’t get me wrong, I think time to yourself is so important, but quality relationships with friends and family are essential for your mental health. Set up a Facetime date or meet someone on your lunch break. It’s that easy.
Try Something New (or Old): Last year, I got back into tennis, something I did frequently when I was young, and I am loving it. The impact of re-visiting old hobbies has been substantial. Creating new (or old in my case) hobbies is so enjoyable and something that stimulates the mind and enhances your skills without being work-related.
Acts of Kindness: Acts of kindness, whether big or small, can create a positive impact on both the giver and receiver. Volunteer, help a neighbor, or simply be attentive to the needs of those around you. You’ll be amazed at how much it will impact your life.