Self-care is a buzzword like synergy — often hard to define. “Self-care is being deliberate in taking time out for yourself with the intention of doing something that’s going to increase your energy, improve your health or reduce stress,” says Cleveland Clinic nurse practitioner Sandra Jay. “It’s having a mindset that taking care of yourself is a priority.” Once you hammer down the basics — exercise, meditation, a good diet and plenty of water and sleep — Jay shares a few fun ways to engage in self-care.
Indulge In Your Favorite Treat
So junk food does count as self-care? Kind of. An entire bottle of wine or pizza are what Jay calls “self-care detractors,” which reduce motivation, focus and energy. But a glass of wine consumed mindfully can be a boon. “Make it an experience,” she says. “Smell the wine. Taste the flavors. Engage in a conversation about it with others.”
Host Zoom Trivia
Social interaction is an essential tenet of self-care — one that many are lacking during the pandemic. Jay suggests simply scheduling Zoom coffee dates with friends or even organizing virtual trivia nights with a group. “Right now, we’re a little bit more limited. If you’re feeling isolated or lonely, there are options out there,” she says.
Act Like A Kid
Reignite that carefree feeling of childhood by flying a kite, which gets you outside; fingerpainting, which engages your creativity; or even blowing bubbles, which has been proven to mimic deep breathing exercises. “What kind of spontaneous things did you do as a child that brought you joy?” asks Jay. “Even if it sounds silly and inappropriate for your age, let go of those constraints that you put on yourself to act a certain way or do a certain thing.”
Get A Pet
Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend. They’re an important reminder of life’s most basic needs: eat, sleep, water and play. “Dogs require going outside and taking a walk, which can force you to take a break from your work or your daily activities even if you’re just simply sliding open a spring door to let them outside,” says Jay. “Petting an animal can also lower your blood pressure and slow your breathing.”
No matter your creed or beliefs, finding some connection with a deeper power can help you feel less powerless in this crazy world. “Spirituality can help you foster a deeper appreciation for life and let go of the belief that you have to have complete control over everything that’s going on around you,” says Jay.
Deeply Listen To Music
Studies have shown that painters’ strokes changed intensity when listening to different styles of music. But while classical music soothes some, others find solace in heavy metal. “Some people can relax to action shows on TV, but others become more anxious, their heart rate speeds up and their blood pressure rises,” says Jay. “It’s important to know what does it for you.”