For anyone seeking to live a healthy, sustainable life, one vital habit is self-care.
When we are living lives filled with activity, noise, and hurry, it is incredibly difficult to feel healthy and rested. When that is our overall experience with life, the result is that we become stressed and burned out.
In order to nurture the health of our mind, body, and soul, we need ways to recenter and restore. We need these in short spurts throughout the day, and also longer stretches.
The thing about self-care is that it is a practice that requires you choosing to do it. It will not happen unless you intentionally make space for it. But the result is worth the effort. With a bit of self-care, you can experience more joy, rest, and soul-health.
Here are some ideas for self-care:
1. Simplify your schedule.
Are you over-committed? Are there things that you need to let go? Ask yourself which activities and relationships are truly adding value to your life, and intentionally make space for those things.
2. Do something that energizes your body.
Stretch, swim, run, do yoga, or whatever physical activity you enjoy. Exercise is a key part of self-care.
3. Take a long, warm bath.
While you're at it, light a candle, read a magazine, listen to soothing music.
4. Create a Gratitude List.
Write down all the things that you're thankful for.
5. Meet with a counselor.
This could be a psychologist, therapist, or spiritual mentor.
6. Unplug for a day.
Go on a media and technology fast, and turn off any unnecessary electronic devices.
Find the kinks and tension spots in you body, and stretch them out.
8. Do something new.
Have you been considering learning a new skill or trying a new hobby? Go for it.
9. Practice mini-meditation.
Begin or end your day with a minute of deep breathing, and focused awareness of your body, thoughts, and feelings.
10. Dance it out.
Put on your favorite dance music, and shake your body.
11. Write or journal your thoughts.
Take 10 minutes, and jot down whatever is on your mind. Mentally release those things as you write.
12. Get quality time with a quality person.
Hang out with someone who you love. If they're far away, give them a phone call.
13. Be still.
Find a quiet place outside, and embrace the stillness.
14. Practice a full day of Sabbath rest.
Take a full day to rest and rejuvenate.
Choose a place -- your email inbox, your desk, a closet -- and get rid of the excess and junk.
16. Do an activity mindfully and slowly.
Savor the moment, and experience your activity with attentiveness.
17. Take a walk.
Explore your area at a leisurely pace.
18. Reflect on your personal mission statement.
If you don't have a personal mission statement, create one.
19. Enjoy a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine.
Better yet, enjoy both together.
Take a nap, go to bed earlier, give your body some extra rest.
What is one thing you can do today to practice self-care? How do you generally practice self-care? Share in the comments.
Larissa Marks is a spiritual director, ministry planter, and Director of Spiritual Formation at Bluewater Mission Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is the creator of Spiritual Journey. Sign up for her weekly Spiritual Journey notes for guidance sent to your inbox. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii with her husband and three kids. You can also find her at her personal blog The Larissa Monologues.