Self-care has become a phenomenon, a massive money-making industry all to itself.
What was once a common phrase describing healthy practices and habits has now become a movement.
Social media feeds feature photos of young people practicing yoga, drinking green smoothies, or taking lavish vacations, all with the caption, #selfcare.
While there is nothing wrong with any of these depictions of self-care, it’s important to remember that it is so much more than that.
Self-care is any activity – paid, free, tangible, intangible – that contributes to your mental, physical, and spiritual and well-being.
It is also important to distinguish between practicing self-care and being selfish.
Selfishness involves only thinking about yourself and your needs, with no regard for how your actions affect others.
Self-care is about ensuring that your needs are met, for your own well-being, and also so that you can continue to serve others.
I believe that there are practical, straightforward, and easily-accessible ways of incorporating self-care in your life.
Here are 15 practical self-care ideas for your mind, body, and spirit.
Self-Care For Your Mind
1. Read A Personal Development Book
Personal development books are more popular than ever these days.
You can find them on every topic, from productivity and time management, to goal-setting and growing your business. Technology has made books easily accessible through eBooks and audio books.
In 2019, I started a reading challenge, including personal development books for financial and emotional growth. Here are a few highly recommended books (the first two are on my reading list for 2019!).
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
2. Take A Course
Education has become extremely accessible these days with non-degree courses offered either online or in person.
Libraries, local colleges, and organizations offer courses on many topics including business and finance. Some of your favorite bloggers also offer courses on topics related to their niche.
Learning from people who share information based on their own experiences and success has become very valuable. You don’t have to go back to school to learn something new!
3. Start A New Hobby
Hobbies are great for entertainment, personal enrichment, and fun.
Do you enjoy cooking? Have you always wanted to learn how to sew? Do you want to start a blog to share your travel adventures?
I’d suggest you just start, using the Internet and YouTube for inspiration along the way.
Also remember that you do not have to turn your hobby into a business if you don’t want to. Despite what our gig economy tells you, your passion does not have to become a side hustle.
Just enjoy learning something new that brings you happiness!
4. Consider Therapy
As a clinical social worker, I am a strong supporter of psychotherapy.
As a woman who lost her mother as a young adult, I understand the effects that unresolved grief has on every area of your life.
I have met many people in my personal and professional life who are hesitant to consider therapy due to shame and stigma. This is unfortunate and has serious consequences.
If you have a history of trauma, loss, abuse, and mental illness, or you’re engaging in unhealthy coping behaviors, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.
Please know that there is no shame in this and that there are people trained to help empower, support, and equip you with healthy coping skills.
5. Learn From Others
Seeking out opportunities to learn from others whose lives, career, or business you admire is important for your personal growth.
Find a mentor, hire a career coach, or attend networking events with others in a similar field. You’ll likely make strong connections that may lead to exciting professional opportunities.
Too often we feel timid, insecure, or worry that we’re bothering people by asking them for tips and advice. The truth is that many successful people enjoy sharing and want to help others succeed.
Self-Care For Your Body
6. Exercise Daily
Incorporating exercise into your everyday life is important for weight loss, fitness, and overall good health.
Joining a gym or exercise program is an option; however, there are easy (and free!) ways to incorporate exercise into your day.
Consider going for a brisk walk during your lunch break or after dinner. Also, check out thousands of YouTube videos for full exercise routines that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
7. Get Enough Rest
Getting adequate rest is crucial for your mental and physical well-being.
Rest includes taking time to relax, as well as getting enough sleep after a long day’s work.
Here are a few tips to get adequate rest:
- Set aside time to read a book or watch an episode of your favorite show
- Avoid caffeine several hours before bed
- End screen time (TV, computer, social media) several hours before bed
- Set a regular bed time and stick to it
8. Eat Whole Foods
Choosing a diet that consists mostly of whole, unprocessed foods is important for physical health and mental clarity.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or maintain your good health, a whole foods diet is a great way to achieve this.
You don’t have to deprive yourself by banning your favorite restaurants, desserts, and snacks from your diet. Moderation is key.
However, fruit, vegetables, grains, and lean meats prepared at home should be more common than processed foods on-the-go or dining out.
9. Pamper Yourself
Pampering yourself with manicures, pedicures, skin and hair care is about more than just looking good.
When you make an effort to look your best, it improves your mood, relationships, and self-confidence.
Here are a few tips for pampering yourself:
- Save for it; create a self-care sinking fund and budget in those spa days
- Learn how to do it yourself. YouTube (can you tell I love YouTube??) has tons of videos on hair, skin, nails, and makeup
- Have a spa night, where you and your friends enjoy wine and snacks while giving each other manicures and facials!
10. Get Your Preventive Routine Exams
Preventive care is extremely important for prevention and early detection of illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans are not following their providers’ guidance when it comes to preventive services.
This leads to preventable, chronic diseases that are poorly managed, untreated, and that may lead to untimely death.
Keeping up with your recommended exams is not only important for prevention; it may also save your life. Please consult with your healthcare provider regarding recommended preventive services.
Self-Care For Your Spirit
11. Make Time With God A Priority
One of the most important parts of my morning routine is the time I spend studying God’s Word. However, I realize how easy it is allow the busyness of life interfere with spending time with God.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is the story of Mary and Martha, and their visit with Jesus. Jesus reminded Martha of what was most important in that moment.
I realize now that there is nothing more important than making time for God, and that everything will fall into place as a result of that.
12. Attend Church Regularly
Attending my local church on a regular, consistent basis is one of the most important forms of self-care I practice.
In our technology age, it’s easy to watch a church service on television or Facebook Live; many churches also offer live streaming. This is great for people who are ill, disabled, or unable to attend church in person.
However, when possible, it is important to connect in person with a local church for fellowship and mutual encouragement.
13. Serve Others
One thing that never fails to give me a boost of positive energy is when I serve others.
Volunteering is one way that I continue to thrive as I wait for God’s blessings in my life.
Whether through serving with a community organization, at my church, or simply doing something nice for someone, serving others always leaves me feeling fulfilled and grateful for the things that God has blessed me with.
14. Build Relationships
Building strong relationships has always been an important part of my self-care journey.
Having friends that I can confide in when life gets hard is important for my mental and emotional wellness.
I especially appreciate my friendships with other Christian women, as these relationships help me grow, while also providing accountability and correction.
A few ways to build relationships:
- Join a local church
- Find a Small Group at your church or another church
- Join a Meetup group of like-minded people with similar interests
- Serve with others
15. Pray Daily
Prayer is the most important part of my self-care routine. It allows me to connect with God in a way that nothing else can. Here are some of the benefits of prayer that I have discovered:
- Provides strength when I am weak (Isaiah 41:10)
- Reduces anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Strengthens relationships with others when I pray with them (Matthew 18:19-20)
- Provides healing (James 5:14-15)
- Makes things happen that are in alignment with God’s will (1 John 5:14-15)