Most people spend a lot of time looking after others. Whether it's a child, spouse or just managing a household, it's easy to get bogged down in the daily grind. Routines can be good, but they can also take a serious toll on your health and well-being. Self-care is about taking time for yourself — without guilt. Here's a look at why self-care is so important, along with tips for incorporating self-care into your routine.
What Is Self-care?
Self-care is more than a new health fad or trendy buzzword. It’s something everyone should do for themselves on a regular basis. One women’s resource center describes it as “for you, by you.” Self-care can be anything that refreshes and restores you mentally, physically or emotionally.
If you’re a parent or caregiver, you might spend most of your time looking after others. Most people are brought up with the idea that selflessness is a virtue and that selfishness is something we should avoid. The important thing to remember is that practicing self-care isn’t selfish, nor does it mean you’re failing to care for others.
In fact, caring for yourself can help you be a better caregiver to the important people in your life. It can even improve your performance at work. When you’re calmer and less stressed, you tend to have more patience and better focus.Also, self-care doesn’t have to look a certain way. When some people think of self-care, they picture a spa day. While a pedicure or hair appointment might be an effective form of self-care for some people, there are countless other ways to invest in yourself. Whether it’s a long walk with your dog, a soak in the tub or just a few minutes of meditation in your car during your lunch break, the best kind of self-care is whatever works for you.
6 Self Care Tips to Try Today
If you’re new to self-care, or you’d just like to spend more time looking after yourself, there are plenty of ways to boost the amount of self-care in your life. Here are six self-care tips to incorporate into your routine.
Buy Yourself a Gift
Most people only shop for gifts for others. You might even enjoy selecting special items for friends, family members and co-workers. But when was the last time you bought yourself a present? We don’t mean the essentials, like toothpaste or groceries.
How long has it been since you treated yourself?
You don’t have to blow your budget to make your gift special. Instead, think of something you like but might not ordinarily purchase. It could be a pack of monogrammed stationery or a new water bottle for the office.
Maybe it’s a cozy pair of socks or a hardcover book instead of waiting for the paperback. Treating yourself can give you a boost and help you feel more restored.
You probably already know that drinking water is good for you. Dehydration has been linked to health problems like headaches, poor physical performance and even kidney stones. The average person should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or about half a gallon.
Although some people love water, the reality is that it can be pretty boring. If you’re tempted to reach for soda or a fruit drink, give yourself a little self-care by adding some fruit to your water. Fruit-infused water can taste delicious and make you want to drink more. You can find tons of recipes online, and most big box stores carry infusion pitchers at a good price.
If you dislike water, you can also try snacking on some water-dense foods. Applesauce, cantaloupe and pears are just a few foods that pack a flavorful punch while delivering the hydration your body needs.
Splurge on “Time”
Most people think of a “splurge” as spending a lot of money. But you can (and should) also splurge on time. More specifically, block off a substantial chunk of time and then do something you love in that window.
Make your time splurge an activity you love but don’t always seem to have time for. It might be bingeing on your favorite TV show, reading a novel you’ve had on your to-read list or going on a long, meandering drive in the country. Your splurge can be anything — nothing is off limits!
Learn to Say No
Do you find yourself volunteering to be your child’s homeroom parent even though you can barely manage your schedule as it is? Do you automatically say yes when your boss asks you to lead yet another project? Are you the first to sign up for passing a dish at neighborhood cookouts or family gatherings?
Many people are programmed to say yes because they feel guilty saying no. Others worry bosses or friends might think they’re not pulling their weight. But constantly saying yes can quickly lead to burnout at work, home or in your social life.
If you’re a yes-man (or woman), try declining the next time someone asks you to take on a task you can’t manage. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re lazy or selfish. On the contrary, forgoing a challenge or job you can’t manage allows you to focus more fully on your existing schedule and current responsibilities.
The good thing about learning how to say no is that it gets easier with practice. Once you start, you might find yourself saying no in many other areas of life. Amanda Hinnant at Real Simple has some great tips for saying no and redirecting awkward conversations.
Do you enjoy knitting but never seem to have time for it? Or maybe you’d love to do one of those wine and canvas parties but you’re afraid your artistic talents aren’t quite up to snuff?
It’s never too late to learn a new craft or talent — or spend time focusing on one you’ve set aside. In fact, research shows that hobbies can actually make you happier, and that people who spend time doing things they love enjoy higher mental satisfaction than those who devote themselves exclusively to working.
Whether it’s baking all your favorites or trying your hand at sewing new curtains for your home, creative projects can make for some beneficial meditation. Plus, you get the added bonus of making something you can be proud of.
Get More Sleep (and Use a Weighted Blanket)
Like water, adequate sleep is a crucial part of healthy living. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a person’s age dictates how much sleep they need at night. For example, toddlers need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep, whereas adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should get between 7 and 9 hours every night.
But it's not just quantity of sleep that matters. Sleep quality is important, too.
Dr. Yu Sun Bin of the Sleep Research Society writes in a study: “That sleep quality may be just as important, if not more important, than sleep duration in predicting future health is often overlooked.” Dr. Bin goes on to state that meta-analyses have shown that poor sleep quality is linked to a 20 percent higher risk of hypertension and a 40 percent higher risk of diabetes.
If you have insomnia or you struggle to get a good night’s rest, a weighted blanket may help. Science has shown that a form of therapy called deep pressure touch stimulation helps people feel calmer, less anxious and more rested upon waking. In one study, 63 percent of people who used a weighted blanket felt less anxious, and 78 percent preferred the weighted blanket as a “calming modality.”
Deep pressure touch stimulation works by applying firm but gentle pressure to the body — sort of like getting a great big hug. With a weighted blanket, which is made with about 10 percent of the user’s body weight, you can get this calming, relaxing effect any time you want. Many people find that sleeping with a weighted blanket helps them feel calmer and more relaxed.You can learn more about what research says about weighted blankets here: The Science Behind Weighted Blankets: Why (and How) They Work
SensaCalm Weighted Blankets
Are you ready to make better sleep part of your self-care routine? Order your custom weighted blanket today. You can also choose from our selection of ready-to-ship finished weighted blankets, which ship the next business day after your order.
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Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.