Look, sometimes life is hard (and life has felt particularly hard for many since November). It's easy to become overwhelmed with the stress of your everyday life, and it's even easier to forget to take care of yourself. So, what are some small ways to practice self-care? What are a few tips to help you get back to feeling like you, even as anxiety and stress continue to pile on on a daily basis?
Luckily, there are tons of tiny, easy-to-manage adjustments that most of us can find a way to add into our routines. Maybe you're not going to be able to do all of them (seriously, what's up with those super humans who are somehow able to find the time to both read and exercise on a daily basis?) but even just doing one or two will help you find some measure of equilibrium in your life. Heck, sometimes, it's as simple as putting yourself first every once in a while.
So, whether it's just taking a little time to chat with your bestie, treating yourself to a majorly relaxing bubble bath, or even committing to go on a short walk everyday, read on for 11 ways to practice self-care right now.
1. Don't Forget To Drink Water
Do you ever feel like you're literally wilting? Sometimes all it takes is a glass of water or two to give you a new lease on life. Besides, it's a key ingredient for everything from kidney function to digestion, according to WebMD.
2. ...Or, Tea!
Boost your hydration game with a relaxing cup of hot tea. The ritual of preparing the tea is simple yet calming, and the extra time it takes to drink it (since it's ideally too hot to gulp down in a hurry) gives you a few quiet minutes to yourself.
3. Unwind With A Good Book
I watch spend an unhealthy amount of time watch Friends on Netflix, and while I'm not knocking TV, I do find that it decreases the amount of time I spend reading. Everyone's different, but I feel more myself if I take a little time to read every day. According to a University of Sussex study reported on by The Telegraph, even just six minutes of reading a day can reduce stress by two-thirds.
4. Give Mindfulness A Try
We all like to poke fun at meditation, but who knows? Mindfulness might work for you — even Harvard Health thinks so. And hey, even if you don't believe in it, giving yourself several minutes just to focus on your breathing certainly can't hurt you.
5. Listen To Music
"Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece," advised nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Cathy Benninger to WebMD.
6. Indulge With A Bubble Bath
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Honey Bath, $45, Sephora
Showers and baths are a great way to practice self-care, so why not take that to the next level with some relaxing, aromatic bubble bath?
Rifle Paper Company Tapestry Notebook Set, $15, Amazon
You might feel a little funny and self-conscious about going full Dear Diary-mode, but journaling is heralded as a way to manage stress and anxiety, according to Psychology Today. Plus, then you'll finally have an excuse to splurge on all those adorable notebooks you've been coveting.
8. Don't Forget To Have Fun
Isn't it amazing how easy it is to forget to have fun? Whether that means signing up for an art class, making extra time for family and friends, or even baking a batch of cookies, don't forget to make time for yourself.
9. Get Out & Exercise
This one's a toughie for most of us, but it's an important step towards feeling good. According to Mayoclinic, "Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever."
10. Go Out For A Leisurely Stroll
Look, sometimes intense exercise just isn't your game. A short walk can be a great way to get some fresh air and clear your mind, even if you don't quite reach that endorphin high. Full disclosure, I started walking three miles a day because I'm one of the only people I know who still plays Pokemon Go, and I actually feel a lot better for it (and I just reached level 30!).
11. Sleep. Full Stop.
This should be one of the easiest things to achieve on this list, but strangely, it's not. Still, when you're feeling run down and burnt out, you'd be surprised what a difference a solid eight (or nine... or ten...) hours of sleep will make on your outlook on life. In fact, "a good night's sleep makes you able to tackle the day's stress more easily," says WebMD.
The concept of taking good care of yourself actually isn't too hard, is it? Heck, even if you're really, really angry right now (and a lot of us are), there are still ways to channel those frustrations into self-care.