5 Self-Care Tips To Improve Your Life
I took a poll on Instagram recently and asked you guys if you would be interested in a blog post all about self-care and there were a bunch of "yes" responses! I'm not a self-care expert in any way shape or form, but I do have some tips that have proven to help me.
Over the past couple of years there has been an enormous amount of talk in the media about self-care and taking time to rejuvenate yourself. I know that my self-care routine is extremely important to me. I need time everyday to relax, unwind and be by myself. I'm an introvert by nature so my alone time is super important. I love being with my friends and hanging out with my family but the stimulation can get to me. A concert will wear me out the next day. Hanging out with friends from morning till night will leave me dragging my feet. Personally, long days will suck the energy out of me and by the time the clouds start to shift and the moon replaces the sun I am dead tired. This is where my self-care routine comes into play.
I'm someone who constantly needs to feel in control and because of that I can feel stressed very easily. There are so many different factors that can cause me to feel overwhelmed. Whether I'm worried about a research paper I have to write, a test coming up, family drama or my own personal struggles, it doesn't take a lot for me to feel stressed and consumed by work. One of the ways I have learned to deal with stress and anxiety is to find time to do what makes me happy.
1.) Express Yourself
In my first semester of college I was in a state of overwhelming stress. College seemed foreign to me and it basically took me the entire first semester to get into the swing of things. I would finish my work, eat dinner and spend the night scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. I love to see what the people I follow are up to but staring at my screen till I went to sleep was not beneficial. I thought I was taking care of myself and taking time to wind down each night, but in reality I still had a racing heart and tired eyes the next day. I was feeling frustrated, irritated and spent some nights literally crying because I felt so stressed.
For many people, it is hard to understand that physical pain and mental pain are similar. I go to the doctor when I have a sinus infection or if I need a new eyeglass prescription. It is important to treat your mind the same way you would treat your body. If you have a cold, you go to a health professional. If you're having constant panic attacks, YOU GO TO A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. So, I would say my first self-care tip is to never hold in your feelings, thoughts or emotions. Doing this can only cause damage to your mental health and wellbeing. Taking care of yourself means doing what is right for you. Maybe seeing a therapist isn't right for you, but talking to a close relative or friend is. Maybe speaking to someone directly isn't right for you, but writing your thoughts down in a journal is. Maybe writing isn't your thing, but painting is. Whatever it may be, I highly encourage you to find a way to express your feelings. I promise it will make you feel lighter, happier and more understood.
2.) Find What Makes You Happy
I'm sure you have heard the phrase "do what makes you happy." At least three times a week, I follow this saying through and through. I can't stress enough how important it was for me to find the things in life that made "me smile with glee" (name that song). For me that's taking time to watch a movie on my computer, put on a face mask, take a warm shower, listen to music and have a good laugh. My second self-care tip is not "put on a sheet mask and you'll instantly feel better." My second tip is to simply find the things that make you smile. Find what helps you take a deep breath and forget about some of your worries for a while. Personally, watching a movie after a long day is just what I need. I'm not ashamed to say that in last three days I have watched four movies, (my favorite being Mystic Pizza) because that's what I needed to do! I needed to get under my covers and press play.
3.) Be With The People Who Make You Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter can decrease stress, boost your immune system, releases endorphins and can even help you live longer. I'm lucky enough to have a best friend that has the same humor as me. We are at that point in our friendship where literally anything can be funny, because we make it funny. It is so important to find the people that can make you laugh and that you feel comfortable around. We live in a world where everything is go, go, go. Sometimes you need to take a step back and slow down. Spend the day with your favorite person. Go to the movies, veg out on snacks, spend a couple hours showing off your dance moves. Whatever it is, do it with the intention to have fun, laugh and make memories. Try not to focus on your to-do list. Instead try to live in the moment.
4.) Treat Yourself
There's a reason why we have a national Treat Yo' Self day (we can thank Parks and Recreation for that). This may mean buying that shirt you've been eyeing for weeks, getting a pizza from your favorite restaurant or spending the day with yourself. Treating yourself does not always mean buying something. It can also mean treating yourself to a day alone, a day at the beach, a day in the sun. We all need to take time for ourselves.
5.) Practice Self-love
I saved the best self-care tip for last. This is something I'm still working on too. Maybe it was my upbringing or just my personality, but I don't think I ever knew what self-love was. I looked at celebrities or other influencers who seriously loved themselves and instantly felt jealous. Why do they get to love who they are and I can't? Maybe for some people self-love is easy and natural. For me, it's the opposite. I immediately look at my face, my body, my hair and automatically start listing my flaws in my head. I have a scar from a pimple on my forehead. My hair is frizzy. I'm not a size 0. I'm not the smartest. I'm not the prettiest. I'm not the funniest, most personable, creative, etc. etc. etc. Over the years I have been able to conquer a lot of my self-doubt. I am confident in who I am. I can easily say that I have self-love towards my inner self. What I mean by that is I love who I am as a person, but I still have a hard time loving my appearance. Yes, that may seem self-centered or shallow, but I think an important part of self-love is accepting and loving your outer appearance as well as your inner appearance.
The other day I finished doing my makeup and I looked in the mirror and thought "damn, I look good today. My hair is on point. My lipstick looks good. These jeans make my ass look gooood." I immediately felt guilty, and I seriously don't know why. I think it's because I have always thought that being confident in your appearance means that you're superficial or cocky. It's the exact opposite of that and I know that it's something I need to work on. Instead of feeling guilty, I should just agree with myself. If I think I look good, then why should I immediately shut myself down? Flaunt what you got honey!
This last tip was long winded so I'll sum it up. Part of self-care is self-love. Loving yourself means that you don't just like who you are, you love who you are and you wouldn't want to be anyone else. In our society it is more accepted to hate yourself than to love yourself. I know that growing up I saw that hating who are you was more appropriate that owning who you are. It's time we realize that loving yourself is not a bad thing. It is not shallow. It does not mean that your emotions are only skin deep. So, I encourage you to pick something different that you love about yourself each day. Maybe it's your eyes. Maybe it's your intelligence. Write it on a post-it note and put it on your mirror. Look at it every morning and remind yourself that you are worthy of self-love and love from others.
This blog post was a little heavier than others, but it felt like an important one to write. Self-care is so important (count how many times I've said that in this post already)! I hope you found these five tips helpful and plan to use them in your own lives. Comment down below what your self-care routine is!
Have any blog suggestions for me? Leave them in the comments down below! I would love to hear from you!
Welcome to VoiceBox! Grab a floor pillow, turn on your favorite hippie playlist and join the circle.