How to Actually Practice Self-Care

August 8, 2023

There is one common struggle that most of my clients experiencing anxiety, depression and/or relationship issues deal with… can you guess? 

It’s practicing self-care. Most of us don’t really even know what self-care is! We often think of having a spa day… but that’s not realistic for most of us.. and it’s not really what I’m talking about here. 

Here are some of the more well-known ways of practicing self-care (but this doesn’t mean they are easy to do!)

Maintaining a regular sleeping routine and getting ENOUGH sleep.

This means trying to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, and ideally getting 8 hours of sleep a night (though each person and their requirement for sleep is different). Lack of sleep can lead to depressive symptoms in addition to other mental and physical challenges. This article from the NY Times illuminates a lot of the health benefits to sleep and risks to sleep deprivation.  

Eat healthy.

First of all, it is crucial to eat enough and nourish our body so that we have the energy to not only make it through the day, but also to feel OK! Eating foods that are healthy and make us feel good has immense positive impacts on our mental health and wellbeing.

Move your body in a way that makes you feel good.

Even 30 minutes of walking a day can make a difference in our mental health. Or if walking isn't your thing, consider dancing, running, yoga, swimming… the key is to listen to our body and find what feels good. 

Seek connection with others.

We are social beings, so whatever way of connecting with others feels good or possible to us can fill our soul. It could be as simple as a friendly conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, signing up for a community event to participate in a shared activity, or reaching out to a friend for support when we need it. Feeling connected to others increases our mental health and wellbeing. 

Spend time doing a hobby that you enjoy.

Whether it is making art, curling up in a comfy spot to read a book, going for a run, hanging out with friends – whatever it is that fills your soul, do more of that!

Build boundaries with people or things that do not promote your wellbeing.

For instance, if you find yourself being pulled into conflict by surrounding family or friends and it is stirring up heated or anxious emotions within you, create distance by communicating your needs to step away from the situation. 

Express gratitude.

When we take stock of the things we are grateful for, we can be suddenly filled with this warm, fuzzy feeling that changes our entire perspective. We become focused on all of the things we have, rather than what we don’t have. It sounds simple, but it is a profound shift. 

Spend time in nature.

This can help us feel more grounded and calm, while also feeling energized and uplifted. Whatever is available and accessible to you, just take a few mindful moments to notice the plants or animals you see. Mother earth can have amazing healing powers.

When we engage in self-care, we are filling up our internal well of resources so that we can better handle all of life's challenges that might come our way. When we take care of our mind, body and soul, you will likely surprise yourself in all of that you can engage in or achieve in life!