Being an adult is stressful, that’s no secret. How we deal with that stress and how we go about self-care after a long and draining week is imperative for both your physical and mental health. This can take many forms for people who relax in different ways.
Whether it be taking a relaxing bath with a glass of wine, doing a puzzle, reorganizing your bookshelf, spending time with loved ones, or taking a long-deserved nap, self-care is a must-have in your routine.
1. Get enough sleep
Sleep is obviously important when it comes to recharging after a long day or even a long day. But getting good quality sleep is equally as important. You could go to bed early but if you spend hours tossing and turning, you won’t feel rested.
But getting quality sleep can be hard for those who struggle to fall asleep due to racing thoughts or also struggle to stay asleep or even both. There are a lot of ways that you can try to overcome this by taking a mindful approach before your head hits the pillow.
- Slow your breathing. Inhale for 4 seconds through the nose and then exhale for 4 seconds out through the mouth. Continue this until your whole body feels like it’s sinking into the mattress.
- Put your phone away. Setting your phone aside an hour before you plan to call it lights out is important because the blue light from our electronics stimulates our brain and makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Listen to a meditation or sleep podcast. Taking into account the previous tip, make sure to select which podcast or video you want to listen to before putting down your phone for the night. That way you can queue up the video and just hit play before you turn out the lights.
2. Unplug for the day
There’s nothing more disheartening after a long week than social media. When you’ve got dishes in the sink, wet laundry that’s been sitting in the washer for days, and clutter all about the house, you already want to flop on the bed. Seeing your old college roommate sipping a margarita on the beach in Greece really takes the wind of out your sails.
But while it’s known that people mostly only post highlights of their week or day on social media, it’s hard for our minds to understand that when we are mentally struggling to stay afloat.
Putting your phone on do not disturb or emergencies only and walking away from the internet for the day can be a much-needed cleanse. You could do a puzzle, snuggle up with a cup of tea, dive into a good book, or spend some quality time with loved ones playing board games. The options are endless so long as it doesn’t involve the internet.
3. Go for a walk or hike
I’m often told that getting outside for a walk and getting some sunshine can do wonders for your physical and mental health. You can clear your mind as you breathe in the fresh air and getting some rays will help produce the vitamin D your body needs.
If you are looking for something more than walking your dog along the block, you can always find a local hiking trail. There is a noticeable difference between the sounds of a suburban street and that of a lush green forest.
4. Spa Day
If you aren’t someone who can drop money on an expensive spa day but feel the need to pamper yourself, you are in luck. You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars to have a spa day that will rejuvenate your weary bones and tired minds.
If you normally rush in the shower to get out the door, slow down and take your time. Shampoo with a cleansing shampoo and let it sit as you massage your scalp. Exfoliate and shave as you deep condition your hair. Enjoy the warm water as it will help relax your muscles.
After you get out, if you only use a cleanser, toner, and SPF for skincare like me but have the serums and face scrubs in your bathroom, try them out. My face was never smoother and softer than after I did my first chemical peel.
A big part of mental self-care is hygiene. Taking the extra time to care for your body and your mind by having a spa day is a sure way to recharge your mental battery for the week ahead.
5. Make Your Favorite Meal
They call it comfort food for a reason. There is something about going grocery shopping, getting the ingredients, and cooking your favorite meal that makes all your troubles melt away. For me, it is any meal involving pasta. But that is the best part of a meal being your favorite, it doesn’t have to be the same as someone else’s.
It’s also very soothing and rewarding to cook a meal for yourself especially if you don’t consider yourself the cook in the family. Not having to talk to anyone or think about anything other than making the meal gives your mind a much needed break.
Lastly, we have a self-care routine that is most often recommended for people experiencing stressful times, and that is journaling. Starting the day or ending the day by writing down what is on your mind is a great way to practice self-care.
If you are someone who needs a little structure you can get journals that have prompts for each day to keep you focused. But if you are someone who just wants to write whatever comes to your mind, just write as the words come to you.
There are specific journals out there like Burn After Writing that I have done that are very helpful to deal with trauma, guilt, confusion, and any other mental health issues you may struggling with. The journal asks you questions that you are supposed to answer with the utmost honesty. The goal is to write like no one will read it and once the book is full, you burn it.
It is a very therapeutic and great way to self-reflect on things that you may not be ready to discuss with others. You can pick it up at any book store along with a regular spiral book journal if you just want to write for the sake of getting the words off your chest.