Self-Care for the Mind, Body, and Soul
by Cameron – Thursday, 6. January 2020
Gautama Buddha was more than just a spiritual figurehead speaking about the end of suffering, or what he called nirvana. He was one who helped open the early communication among people that self-care of the mind and body could lead to a happier and healthier life. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers explored the same concepts, including Socrates, who according to Plato, spoke in his last days, “are you not ashamed for devoting all your care to increasing your wealth, reputation, and honors, while not caring for or even considering your reason, truth, and constant improvement of your soul?“. Famous French philosopher Michel Foucault further explored this concept of epimeleia heautou, a greek term for “care for the self”, explaining that techniques like meditation and moral reflection are technologies that help us improve as people.
All of this philosophical exploration has become more meaningful in our modern society, because people have never had so many responsibilities outside of themselves. We have little time to consider our own well-being, and burn out, depression, and anxiety are among to most treated inflictions. With all of the pressure of daily life weighing upon our minds, becoming overwhelmed is all too common. Being satisfied with yourself and finding happiness doesn’t come from Amazon boxes and two week vacations as much as we wish it were that simple. Finding peace in your life comes from within, and with it comes a healthier body and mind. Mental stress has adverse effects that can impact you in so many ways that listing them all would only bring more stress to your life! Here is a list of ways to reboot, refresh, and reinvigorate your mind, body, and soul.
Self Care Ideas for the Mind
- Unplug and Unwind: Find some time in your day to put your phone and other gadgets down. Let your thoughts and concerns flow freely and try not to focus on any one thing. Let both the bad and good feelings happen and don’t dwell on any one thing.
- Meditation/Mindfulness: The psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment. Through mediation for even 10 minutes a day you can practice this strategy to feel more present and less focused on uncertainty of the future. All this to say you can begin the process of limiting your worry about an uncontrollable future.
- Create Deliberate Habits: Something as simple as making your bed every morning can set your day off in the right direction.
- De-Clutter: Whether it’s rearranging, cleaning out the closet, or reorganising your things, de-cluttering can allow you to simplify your surroundings and bring more relaxation to your life.
- Get Out of your Comfort Zone: Introduce your self to someone new or participate in a new activity. Doing so can help you overcome your fears and reduce worry.
- Learn Something New: Take up a new activity that you’ve always been interested in trying. It could be dancing, cooking, playing guitar, or whatever you set your mind to. You’ll find your brain stimulated by the change up in your routine and find new motivation in your life.
- Take Another Route: Switch up the roads you take to work or back. New surroundings help our brains neural pathways as they process the foreign input.
- Create a List of Compliments: Take a moment to write down what you like about yourself or document what other nice things people say to you. Save it for one of those days you feel down as a reminder of what is great about you.
Self Care Ideas for the Body
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise is proven to help with fatigue and stress. Even 15 minutes just 3-5 days a week can reduce stress as much as 50%.
- Breathing Techniques: 3 seconds in through the nose and 3 seconds out through the mouth. Deep breathing can activate the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which can help you calm down and find focus
- Eat Healthy and Hearty Meals: Eating healthy and multiple meals a day helps replenish needed nutrients that provide with extra energy. As an added benefit, a balanced diet can help build confidence in your body and overall fitness.
- Find A Quiet Place and Be Still: Go and find your happy place, lay still and take in the sounds and sites. Try to be present in the moment.
- Have a Laugh: Attend a local comedy show, watch a show, or meet some friends you know will keep you giggling. Laughing actually has been shown to boost antibodies, improving your immune system, so we can say that laughter really can be the best medicine!
- Take a Power Nap: Ten to twenty of sleep can help replenish your energy reserves and help stay more focused throughout the day.
- Stretch Out: Stretching can help prevent you from injuries, remove stress on your nervous system and improving circulation in the body helping you feel your best.
- Mindfullness of the Body: Similar to what we talked about before, lie still or sit down and close your eyes. Try to narrow your attention to different parts of the body and pay attention to what you feel. It can help identify pain and make you more aware of what ails you in the body.
- Soak in the Sun: Vitamin D is essential and is known to help boost seratonin levels, which are linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety.
- Shake it Off: Put on your favorite tracks and dance like noone is watching!
Self Care Ideas for the Soul
- Go on a Date – With Your Self: Spend some time alone doing what you love.
- Help Out or Volunteer: Helping others in small ways like carrying groceries or cooking something for a neighbor in need. Volunteer at a shelter or engage in some community service.
- Relax and Take a Spa Day: You don’t have to wander far or pay exorbitant fees. Draw a bath, light some candles, kick back, and relax.
- Spend Time with Someone: Take some time to be around a positive person in your life. Let them be a reminder that no person is failure who has friends, and that being around enthusiastic and enjoyable people can bring the same energy into your life.
- Check in with your Emotions: Take a little time to think about how you feel. If you’re feeling down, look in the mirror and think about what a best friend would tell you in that moment to lift you up and repeat it to yourself.
- Get Positive Feedback: We all enjoy being told good things about ourselves, surround yourself with those who enjoy who you are and give honest feedback to you.
- Ask For Help: If you are in need, reach out to others, no matter how big or small. We can only do so much on our own, so be open about confiding in others that you trust.