7 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care

This article has been syndicated to Her Campus from Ampersand, an InfluenceHer Collective member. Read the full post here.

I first heard the term “self-care” at my old job at a healthcare PR agency. Part of my job (and TBH, my most favorite) was working with bloggers/online health advocates who were living with chronic illnesses. Self-care was always an important topic of conversation–it was imperative for them to listen to what their bodies/minds needed, especially during times when they were in constant physical pain.

Ever since I was exposed to the notion of “self-care,” it seemed to pop up everywhere, for everyone (not just those living with a chronic condition like I originally thought). New articles and studies about how important it is for us to take care of ourselves, because apparently Americans, in general, are pretty terrible at it. I also started to realize that I didn’t really “practice self-care” up until this point. It’s not that I didn’t take care of myself–I’ve always eaten pretty healthy & exercised regularly–but truly practicing self-care takes a little more intention and awareness.

Within the last few months, I started making an effort to practice self-care & I’m baffled why I didn’t do it sooner. First of all, it feels great & makes you really happy, which seems super obvious because that’s the whole point of self-care, but you don’t realize it until you do it consistently. Second, self-care can really be whatever you want; there are no strict rules because it’s about listening to yourself about you want/need. At first, I experienced a weird sense of guilt because it felt like I was treating myself for no real reason, but once I got over that and realized  I deserve to be nice to myself (because again, obviously), self-care actually became really fun & something I look forward to.

If you’re new to this whole self-care thing, here’s a simple list to get you started. Everything below takes between 30 seconds and an hour to complete, making it easy to incorporate it into your day. Again, self-care can be anything you want it to be–it’s all about making yourself feel good–physically, mentally & emotionally–because you deserve it. Enjoy!

1. Buy yourself flowers

I love flowers. I’ve always loved them. I think flowers instantly brighten up any room & make you feel happy. In the past, the only times I had flowers in my apartment/at my desk were when boyfriends would send me them (which is always the best). But then I realized I can just buy flowers for myself just because I like them. I don’t need a reason besides that they’re pretty. Oh, and they’re relatively cheap at most grocery stores (shout out to Trader Joe’s–they have the best peonies) so you really don’t have an excuse not to buy them.

2. Get a massage

When I turned 24, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 25. One of them included getting a massage because why not? I went the other week, and it was lovely. Sure, it might not be something I do very often but every once in a while it’s nice to treat yourself to some kind of pampering. Don’t like massages? Whatever, get a facial, pedicure, blow out, etc. If it makes you feel good & is relaxing, then it’s self-care.

3. Meditate/Just sit quietly

Up until this year, I rarely just sat by myself and been quiet. It’s hard to do it in college–there are people constantly around & life moves a million miles a minute. And honestly, being completely by myself/being quiet used to make me super uncomfortable. I’m an extrovert by nature so being by myself is not something I do well.

As an adult(ish) though, there are times that you are by yourself which definitely feels lonely at times, until you get comfortable doing it. The real world can also get overwhelming very quickly, but I found that I just take a moment to actually b r e a t h e, I can think a lot more clearly.

Of course, the best way to do this is to meditate (highly recommend the Headspace and Calm apps), but if meditation isn’t your thing (honestly, I’m still working on it because it’s really hard!), just sit & be. I love doing this down the shore in the mornings on the dock with my coffee. Or if I’m at work and I’m getting stressed out, I take a walk around the block. Sometimes it’s nice to take a mental break & not think about anything for a couple minutes.

Read the full post here.