In many ways, there is no idea more intimidating than that of “taking care yourself.” This tends to conjure up images of, like, sunrise yoga and grueling ten-mile jogs and green juice-based elimination diets–all things many of us might like to do in theory, but when it comes to the actual execution of the idea, are a lot harder to actually see through. (You sleep through your alarm, stop your jog around that first ten minute-mile, and take one sip of juice and leave it to ferment in your blender where, frankly, it probably belongs.)
For this reason, you may have lumped “self care”–a term you’ve probably seen floating around the internet once or twice–in with these more strenuous elements of health, and subsequently, chosen not to do anything that you feel is related to self care. And, on a surface level, they do seem the same (self care certainly can include Soul Cycle and kombucha, if you want) but a lot of it is actually much simpler because, basically, it depends on you and what you need right now, rather than forcing yourself to do things that you don’t want to do.
In fact, there are actually a ton of tiny, not-intimidating, but still super helpful self care tips you can do every day. Check ’em out here:
Try To Be UsefulFeeling down? Try this self care mantra from psychologist Mindy Greenstein, which is: "If I can't be happy today, I can at least be useful." It doesn't even have to be anything like pledging to finish all of your homework in one hour (which, honestly, if you're already feeling depressed, probably won't help that much). Instead, try to do something that gets you moving and you know you'll actually see a result from once you've finished--clean your room, do the dishes, or walk your dog. Obviously, there are caveats with this (sometimes you just need to lay in bed and watch back-to-back episodes of Vanderpump Rules, and this is totally fine!) but it's worth seeing if you can distract yourself momentarily with a simple task. Image source: iStock
Eat Something That You Just Really Want To EatIf you genuinely want something that is not technically healthy, just go ahead and eat it. You'll be fine. Eating, like, all sugar will obviously not make you feel great, but please don't freak out about having a cupcake here and there. Image source: iStock
But Also Eat A VegetableYou contain multitudes! And, besides, it doesn't even have to be, like, a superfood type of vegetable. Don't eat kale if you don't want to eat kale. Try, like, a radish. Or some Romaine lettuce. Or a red pepper. (These can all be in, like, a sandwich or something too. Do what works for you.) You can feel good from eating a cookie and you can feel good from eating a carrot but, chances are, you'll feel best if you allow yourself to eat both. Image source: iStock
Leave That PartyYou know, the one you forced yourself to go to because you need to "get out there more" but you've been there for an hour and you're still just, like, standing in the corner smiling at people and hoping they don't come over to talk to you because you have no idea what you'll say. You did your job! You got out there! Now you can get back. Image source: iStock
Get Into Face MasksI don't know. Face masks are fun, okay? Besides, they're a really great way of feeling like you're doing a lot for yourself without having to put in a ton of effort--you just have to pop one on while you're doing homework or TV--thirty minutes later, your face will be glowy AF. Image source: iStock
Get A (Temporary) TattooIf you need something to perk you up and keep you motivated throughout the day, you can try getting a tattoo. A temporary one, that is--having a little bit of color on your body can make your day seem a little more fun. (Motivational Tattoos, the temporary tat brand pictured in the slide, has a ton of self care-themed looks to choose from, if you want.) If you like it enough, you can look into getting a real one, too--besides being a great mood booster, this is also a super easy way to test out tattoos without having to commit. Image source: Motivational Tattoos
Go For A WalkYou know that exercise is important, so I won't harp on the physical benefits you'll get from it. I will harp, however, on how much better exercise can make you feel mentally--it's been proven reduce stress, boost brainpower, and improve your self-esteem. This doesn't have to be super-strenuous cardio, either. If you just commit to walking, say, ten minutes more a day than you usually do (physical limitations aside, of course--you know your body better than I do, so only do what works for you), I promise you'll feel better overall. Image source: iStock
Let Yourself Turn Off Your Brain For A Little BitDon't feel guilty if the first thing you have to do as soon as you get home is stare at a screen for a little (uh, a long) while. Whether you're in middle school, high school, college, or out in the working world, chances are good that you have a lot to do, always, so allowing yourself some time to forget about everything is totally fine. As long as you get your important responsibilities done eventually, there is nothing wrong with vegging out in front of something dumb for a little bit--in fact, a lot of mental health professionals recommend it. Image source: iStock
How do you feel about self care? Did I forget any easy self care tips? Let us know in the comments!