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5 Simple Self-Care Strategies You Can Try Today

wellness May 12, 2022

Self-care doesn’t have to mean $400 spa treatments and a 14-step skincare routine. If we apply the practice of mindfulness to self-care—which at its core is just being able to maintain a sense of awareness while undergoing any simple activity—we can carve moments of self-care out of virtually any daily activity.

I was a little late to the self-care party, and by no means am I an expert, but these are five of my favourite ways to nourish my mind, body and soul throughout the day. The best part? They’re quick, easy and inexpensive. To any self-care newbies out there, this one’s for you.

1) Go for a walk, but leave the headphones at home

This is one of my favourite midday self-care techniques to practise, and this is coming from someone who used to be a diehard headphone-walker. As soon as I left the house I’d listen to something, whether it be a podcast or album, for the entire duration of the walk. But a few months into the pandemic I tried walking without any audio distractions and to my surprise it improved my mental clarity tenfold.

To turn this activity into a mindful self-care practice, I really enjoy tuning into my senses when I walk. If it’s windy, for example, I like to ask myself how the wind feels and where I can feel it. Do I feel it brushing across my face? My hands? Is it warm or cool? Can I hear anything? Are there birds chirping or cars whizzing by? Reconnecting with my senses helps bring me into the present moment, even if just for a short while.

2) Do some yoga or gentle stretches

I know this is an age-old self-care strategy, but if you have yet to get on a yoga mat yourself, now’s the time. If you’re not up for a 45-minute yoga sweat sesh (which I am seldom up for these days), try just 10 minutes of gentle stretching. Yoga with Kassandra is one of my favourites and she has dozens of short yoga/stretching videos available free on her YouTube channel.

The best part about yoga is that it has mindfulness built right into it, so you don’t have to do any extra work. In order to follow along with an instructor, you have to be aware of your mind and body while you’re entering and exiting poses anyway. If the class incorporates any attention to breathing techniques or affirmations (which Kassandra often does), even better!

3) Try some colouring 

We all know colouring can have relaxing benefits, and for that reason it’s a great self-care strategy to practise during a busy work day (or really whenever your brain is in overdrive) because you can do it in short spurts and it initiates mindful thinking organically. The simple act of choosing a colour, deciding where you’re going to use it, and then carefully drawing within (or outside of!) the templated lines forces you to become aware of something other than your bustling thoughts. Whether it’s the image you’re colouring, the sound of your marker against the page or even just the slow and steady rhythm of your breath as you doodle along, colouring is an easy way to give your mind a break.

4) Take a warm and soothing bath

Starting to catch on here? I’m not reinventing the wheel! Self-care really can be as luxurious as a spa facial or as low-maintenance as a pre-sleep soak. But I have to say, if you’re going to go ahead and draw yourself a bath, you might as well make it a little fancy! I love to light candles and use calming salt soaks. Anything rose or lavender scented is my favourite, and you can add a tranquil playlist to really maximize your experience.

While you’re in the bath, you don’t have to do anything special as the warm water and soothing atmosphere should be doing most of the work to relax your body and mind, but if you feel like adding another element you can try some deep breathing exercises. All you have to do is place your hands on your belly and try breathing deep into your stomach. If your belly moves in and out with your breath, you’ll know you’ve done it right. If you feel it more in your shoulders, just try again with more of a focus on your abdomen!

5) Spend some time writing in your journal

 Realistically, you don’t even need a journal. A scrap piece of paper will do just fine! Something I like to do when I’m short on time and in the middle of a busy day is just jot down everything circling in my brain at that moment. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formulated—standalone words or sentences are perfect for this—but try focusing on emptying your mind completely. It helps if you time yourself, too. 

After you’re done, take a look at what you wrote. Is there anything that surprises you? Are you astonished that your brain can house all of those ideas and feelings at once? I am everyday! If there’s anything that you need a bit more time to work through, save it for later. In the moment, just work on the things you can improve right then and there. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Take a minute to ask yourself what you need before you get back to the daily grind.

And that’s it! Five totally simple self-care strategies you can do virtually any time, anywhere (especially if you’re still living that WFH life).

Article by: Arisa Valyear

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