Many of us struggle with feeling less positive and upbeat than we would like to be. Here are 5 simple self care practices for a happier, less stressful life.
Many people are interested in finding ways to take care of themselves more proactively.
So, here are a few simple self care practices that might be helpful on your quest to enhance your overall well-being, and move past whatever troubles might be afflicting you.
1. Do things that improve your future, not just how you feel in the present.
Sometimes people mistake “taking care of themselves” with only “taking care of themselves in the present.”
They wind up pursuing a hedonistic approach to self-care – that doesn’t take the future into account.
Of course, doing things that make you feel good in the present is an important self care practice.
But, it’s also important to realize that some actions – which might relax you momentarily – may compromise your future well-being in significant ways.
To take an extreme example…
People use drugs or alcohol because they find the effects pleasurable or desirable in the here and now.
But over time this may create many health problems and emotional issues.
When picking a good self care practice, look at it from 2 perspectives:
- the perspective of a friend
- the perspective of a parent
When you practice self care, keep in mind …
- Don’t just do things that make you feel good now.
- Do things that help to improve your circumstances, prospects, and sense of well-being into the future.
Just what this entails will vary depending on your life circumstances.
- A good self care practice could involve taking up tennis -if you’re younger.
- Or simply taking long walks -if you’re getting older.
Here’s a list of simple self care habits – which work in the short term and long term – for everybody.
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2. Do things that are good for you, not just things that you “feel like.”
This point is closely related to the previous one, but differs slightly. It’s simply a reminder that often the things you need to do for self care might require a little effort.
If you were just doing what you “felt like,” you might decide to go on a large junk food binge.
Maybe you’d order a pizza or eat a pint of ice cream.
This would “feel good” for a moment. But it wouldn’t be too long before you felt a significantly worse “rebound effect” – in the form of a “food hangover” or a sugar crash.
The lesson learned?
- Often the things you need to do to feel better require a little effort and work.
- working out at the gym takes effort
- going for a long walk takes effort
- resisting eating chocolate ice cream takes effort
Memorize this mantra:
- Often the right thing is the hard thing.
3. Don’t just be all work. Do light-hearted things that make you happy.
As we’ve been discussing, people need to do actions which are not…
- “too short-term in their thinking”
- “too hedonistic in their results”
But, it’s also important that the pendulum does not swing too far in the other direction.
You must not become preoccupied with hard work, long-term thinking, and self-denial!
Be sure to find a point of balance where you do light-hearted and fun things on a regular basis.
Make regular time to …
- Hang out and have fun with friends
- Spend time in beautiful places
- Catch up with family
- Read good books
- Listen to good music
Self care means that you keep your work life in balance – so you don’t burn yourself.
4. Stop to be present and smell the roses.
There are plenty of opportunities, every day, to stop, be present, and “smell the roses,” so to speak.
- On the morning commute into work, you might take a moment to appreciate the way the sun looks in the early morning.
- Or, you could smile at the sight of a cute animal playing in the park.
If you’re never “here,” you’re never going to truly appreciate each moment for what it is.
With this in mind…
- You do not need to “add in anything new on your to do list” to improve your well being.
- You just have to be more present whenever you’re doing whatever you do!
- Cherish those moments with your loved ones
- Develop the habit of pausing more often to count your blessings
- Appreciate the small joys of life.
5. Take steps to be a person you can “like” and be proud of.
One of the best ways to improve your sense of well-being is to improve your overall sense of self!!
Each day you must take steps to become the kind of person you can actually “like” and be proud of.
When you feel pride in who you are, you experience a greater sense of inner peace.
- It’s not just enough to try to become more well-established in your career.
- You must think about who you are as a person – not just what you have.
Self care includes caring for your soul.
- Try to live in a way that is consistent with your core values.
- Be honest.
- Show kindness.
- Maintain your integrity.
- Work to resolve character traits within yourself that you might not like.
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