Jumpstart Your Self-Care Program

by 26Health Staff

Do you practice self-care? Self-care is more than making sure you are eating healthy and taking good care of yourself in general. It is a deliberate action or activity that we undertake specifically to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.

According to the University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work, “Self-care is an essential skill. Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for your effectiveness and success in honoring your professional and personal commitment.”

I like to think of it as the act of placing your emergency oxygen mask on first in order to have the capacity to help others. Self-care should include being honest about your needs; asking for help, and being emotionally open.

Practicing Self-Care

The most important aspect of practicing self-care is identifying and managing your basic needs. This sounds easy; however, many people find that they forget to eat or have difficulty sleeping during periods of stress. These are examples of neglecting yourself, not caring for yourself. Always take time to check in with yourself and make sure your basic needs are being met.

The best way to care for yourself is to implement tiny habits into your daily routine. Regularly including these small moments of love, nurturing, and attention is good for your body and mind. Self-care looks different for every person. For some, it is the Parks and Recreation “Treat yo’ self” philosophy. Two of the main characters on the show celebrate the idea that at least once a year, you should take a day to indulge in some luxuries and love yourself. For others, it is unplugging and staying off of social media when the news causes jealousy, sadness, or becomes overwhelming. Either way, self-care is the adoption of habits that soothe you.

20 Simple Self-Care Activities

In order to help jumpstart your self-care journey, I have provided a list of simple self-care activities.

1. Take a bath or a long shower.
2. Fix small annoyances, like a phone charger that only works at certain angles.
3. Help someone/volunteer.
4. Pet a cat or dog.
5. Spend time alone doing something that brings you joy.
6. Watch the sky – stargaze or cloud watch.
7. Create a joyful, deliberate habit such as singing in the shower.
8. Do a mini-declutter.
9. Listen to your favorite song or album.
10. Unplug for an hour. Turn off all of the electronics.
11. Edit your social media feeds.
12. Have a dance party!
13. Take a nap.
14. Give your body a treat. A massage, manicure, or pedicure.
15. Go for a walk or run.
16. Say no. Avoid over-committing yourself.
17. Prepare your favorite snack or meal.
18. Paint, draw, or craft.
19. Meditate or pray.
20. Play a game you enjoyed during your childhood.

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
– Lucille Ball