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17 Self Care Ideas for Stress Relief
Here we’ll explore some self care ideas for stress relief. We are living in an era of rapid growth which is demanding a lot from us. This is leaving a lot of people depleted and completely stressed out. So now more than ever it’s important that we make the time to take care of ourselves.
Please know that I’m not a doctor, all the advice given here is just from my own personal experiences. Depending on your personal situation make sure to seek out professional help.
What is Self Care?
Self care is basically taking the time to take care of yourself in different aspects of your life. We live in such a fast paced world, and we have developed the habit of rushing from one thing to the next, without even questioning it. We have just grown use to it.
It seems that when we are on the road, nowadays people are in a bigger rush than before. In part is because our minds are constantly jumping from one thing to the next, that we have forgotten what it is to just be still.
Just like we would not drive our cars non-stop 24 hours, 365 days without giving it a break, we should also make sure to take care of our bodies. We can buy many cars if they break down, but we only have one body.
The Importance of Self Care
Taking care of ourselves should be a priority in our lives. Some people may fear that by having self care, they are being selfish. However, it’s the complete opposite, since by doing so you’ll be of better benefit to others.
When you take care of yourself you can be there fully for your family, coworkers and friends. If you are constantly tired, stressed out and irritated; then how can you help others?
Whether we know it or not, we live in a world where we are competing with machines. We are not computers, we are not electronic devices, we are humans! Therefore, we need to treat ourselves as such, and incorporate two very important aspects: our body and mind.
This has to be done with a holistic approach, since we are not just the body or the mind, we are both.
It’s not enough to just be meditating all day long if we are ignoring our body. After all, it is the temple that holds our soul and we need to take care of it. The same goes for our bodies, it’s not sufficient to just be at the gym all day all and training to be an athlete, if we are neglecting our minds.
Self Care for the Body
Since we are going to live in our bodies for the rest of our life, we need to designate the time to give it proper “maintenance”. Just like we take our cars to get the oil changed or rotate the tires, we need to do something similar with our bodies as part of our self care routine.
Of course, the oil change and rotating the tires might get done once or twice a year (depending how often you drive your vehicle). However, there are diverse actions to care for your body that can be done daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.
The ideas below are not the perfect recipe, but just a general idea to start you on the right road. Most of them will need to be done on a daily schedule, others weekly and some annually. It all depends on your health and lifestyle.
Self Care Activities For Your Body
1. Getting A Good Night Sleep
Many people have a hard time falling asleep or getting enough sleep due to insomnia. Here are some ways to help get a better night sleep:
- Go to bed regularly at the same time.
-Don’t eat right before going to bed, that way it allows the body to fully digest the food.
- Not using electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed. If you must them, try changing the settings so you don’t have too much blue light coming out. You could also try using some blue light blocking glasses.
– Use a lavender scented eye pillow to help soothe the eyes this fragrance helps with relaxing the mind.
- Do not sleep with your phone in the bedroom! The EMF released by these devices harms the body’s sleep pattern.
Instead, use a regular alarm. Some of them even come with soothing nature sounds.
2. Moving Your Body by Exercising and/or Doing Yoga
If you don’t take care of your body now, it will cost you later down the road. Many people say that they don’t have time to exercise. However, the time not spent now doing so will mean that you will have to deal with illness down the road. What’s more time-consuming (not to mention more expensive), a few minutes a day exercising now, or hours of physical pain, going to see the doctor, taking medication and not able to take care of yourself when you get older?
3. Preparing Healthy Meals
We are what we eat. We make most of our meals ourselves so that way we make sure we get the nutrients that we need. If we eat out, it might be once a month as a little treat. Most people eat foods because it tastes good (and yes that’s very important), however, not many people pay attention to the nutritional factors.
Everyone has different bodies and require different nutritional needs depending on their health and lifestyle. Take the time to do some research about nutrition and cooking tips. A great way to save time is to do batch cooking. For example, we prepare our meals on Sunday, and that way they are ready for the week.
These days I eat WAY healthier than I did years ago. It takes time to do research, but believe me, it is time well spent. You are worth it, and deserve to have a healthy body!
4. Melt the Stress Away by Getting Massages
There is no better way to pamper yourself than getting regular scheduled massages! I still remember the first time I got one done many years ago, when I came out it was almost like I had been born again. I was beyond relaxed!!
Our bodies hold tension from every day stresses, not to mention any emotional pains, disappointments and bad postures at the workplace. All of these tensions get stored up in our bodies for years and remain there.
Getting massages is really important to maintain optimal health since it helps get rid of those stresses from our bodies.
Depending on your budget you can try different options:
- Seek out massage therapy schools. These may offer free or a very low priced massage since their students are still learning.
- Ask for a massage for your birthday, or for any special occasion when you are going to get a present. This will ensure that you get what you really want, and it will make it easier for people to buy you something that you will enjoy rather than having to be guessing what you might like.
- If you start cooking at home, not only will you be eating more healthy, but this money saved can be use to pay for your monthly massages.
- There are massage places where you get special offers if you get massages on a regular basis, so check them out.
Make sure to drink lots of water after your massage, since you will have released a lot of toxins from your body.
5. Taking a Hot Bath
An easy way to let go of the stress of the day is by taking a nice hot bath. I just started doing this a few months ago, and I really enjoy it. Normally I take cold showers since this really gives me a lot of energy in the morning, although at least once a week I do take a hot bath.
It’s really nice to just lay there and do nothing, just relax. Not only does this help your body release any tension it might be holding, but it gives your mind a break. Just lay there and close your eyes. I like to add Epson salt and combine it with either lemongrass or lavender essential oil, which are good for relaxation. If you try this, make sure not to do more than about 3 drops of essential oil for about a cup of Epson salt. Too much essential oil can burn (I did not know this, and the first time I used about 30 drops, yikes it burned!).
6. Self Care for the Mind
We are constantly thinking all the time, so it’s important to give our minds a break. Many times we may feel tired, and it’s not necessarily because we have run a marathon, but in a way our mind has been extremely active jumping from one thought to the other without any rest.
This can be caused by different factors such as:
- Stressful job situation that requires constant analyzing.
- Not being able to say no, and having to deal with multiple tasks that are more than we can handle.
- Having resentments and constantly reliving the past.
-Watching too many scary movies that make people think of all the possible worst case scenarios all the time.
- Playing video games all the time, where you are constantly thinking the best strategies to win the game.
- Spending too much time on social media which makes people think of themselves as not worthy, or that they will only be happy once they are like so-and-so, who seems to have it all together. However, keep in mind that these people create a virtual persona, in which they only show the best of the best, not the whole picture.
- Being surrounded by too many electronics such as computers, microwaves, TVs, cellphones etc, which emit EMFs and affect people’s nervous systems.
If you are reading this and you are a teenager or in your early twenties, then having an extremely busy mind is what most of your life has been like. However, this was not always the case for the older generations. For example, people didn’t use to have cell phones, actually this use to be a luxury reserved only for the rich. Then, less than 20 years ago, it became available to most people.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not against cell phones, they are extremely helpful when user properly. However, there are many people that have become slaves to their cell phones and don’t even realize it. Think about it, are you OK being physically separated from your phone for more than an hour, or do you get anxious not having it with you all the time?
Self Care Activities for YOUR mind
Below we are going to explore some activities that you can start doing right away to give your mind a break. If the ideas are new to you, try to incorporate one at a time and create a habit. Doing all of them at the same time may be too much, so just try little by little.
7. Having Quiet time– Go to a place in your house or backyard where you won’t’ be distracted. Just be there for about 5-10 minutes not really doing anything, but just sitting, laying down and enjoying your surrounding environment. You can have your eyes closed or open, just be still.
8. Journaling- This is the perfect place to do a mind dump. Whatever you are thinking of, just write it out; by doing so you are releasing emotions and expressing how you feel. This can be really helpful to let go of anger, resentment or just anything you want to get off your chest.
Also, everyone’s lives is different and we have gone through different experiences. If needed, consider going to see a therapist who can help you see things from a different perspective, and help you let go of issues that you may have been carrying for years. Life is too short and you don’t have to live in perpetual suffering.
9. Reading inspirational/Motivation Material– Just like eating healthy nutritious food to nourish your body, there are so many great books, audio books, podcast, videos, etc, that help nourish your mind. These material can motivate you, uplift your mind and see a whole positive look at life.
10. Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping): This technique is so simple and easy to use. It works by “tapping” on certain acupressure points of your face and body while saying certain statements. This is an amazing technique that can help with releasing anger, stress, sadness, limiting beliefs, loosing weight, etc. I’ve done tapping for some years now, and I just LOVE IT. With as little as 5 minutes of tapping you can feel better right away.
11. Loving Yourself
There is a very common phenomenon that happens with people, and it’s the thought of not being good enough. This might have been passed down from parents, teachers, religious authorities, friends, etc. However, the moment you start loving yourself it’s a complete game changer. Your life will NEVER be the same.
There are people that tend to go from one bad relationship to another, and it’s all in the search of having that other person love them. However, once you start loving yourself it raises your standards, and most importantly there isn’t the needy feeling to be loved any someone else.
Loving yourself is the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself. By doing so, you open your heart to be able to love others as well.
12. Creating a Loving Relaxing Space
It’s important to have a special place where you’ll be practicing self care. This is beneficial, since it will send a special signal to your brain that this is “me time” and no interruptions are allowed. If you have children, don’t feel guilty for taking this time for yourself. Ask yourself, does your cell phone feel “guilty” when you plug it in to get charged? We all need to charge our batteries per se, remember you are a human, and need to take care of yourself.
13. Using Relaxing Furniture:
We have to be able to take care of our bodies as much as possible. Make sure to to have some comfortable sitting furniture in your home. This will allow you to invited a peaceful space within yourself.
14. She Shed: This is such a cool idea of taking an ordinary outdoor shed and turning it into your very own “woman cave”. You can decorate it as simple as you wish or make it very luxurious. The idea is to be able to have your own space to do the things you really enjoy such as reading, meditating, painting, yoga, doing crafts, coloring, etc.
15. Meditation Room: This is your sacred space in your home, where you go and enter into your little piece of Heaven on Earth. The designs style can vary from zen to bohemian, it all depends on your personal preference. The important thing is to decorate it with things that make you feel harmonious and that you are comfortable.
16. Bathroom: When taking a bath, make it your mini spa palace. Start by cleaning the bathroom, so there is a fresh feel to it. Then you can decorate it with crystals around your bathroom. You can also light up some candles, allowing you to turn off the light and create a peaceful ambiance. To add a special touch have some relaxing music playing in the background. Personally, I like to have some relaxing tea and also have fresh water to drink.
17. Outdoor Meditation/Relaxation area: In your backyard you can create a peaceful oasis for yourself. This place will allow you to be in tune with nature, and at the same time relax. For more ideas see my post: How to Create your Peaceful Outdoor Meditation Space
You can also pull out a comfortable restorative yoga mat and just lay down while enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature.
Final words of advice
Let all the stress of you life melt away. You don’t have to hold on to suffering. By setting the time to do some self care, not only are you making yourself feel better, but you are also making this world a better place.
For example, if you are feeling calm you’ll be happy at the checkout counter at the grocery store and be courteous to the sales cashier. In turn this cashier will be nice to the next customer in line.
It may seem like something really small, but by taking the time to care for yourself, indirectly, you are helping take care of others. That way the next time your children ask you something, you won’t snap at them, but instead listen carefully. You’ll have more patience with your coworkers and help create a harmonious work environment.
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