10 Ways to Practice Self-Care This Week
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With the holiday season just around the corner, stress levels are bound to rise. But even if you’re cool as a cucumber, it’s still important to take care of yourself. Here are some simple ways you can take a few minutes to remember yourself this week.
- Give yourself a foot massage. Take five minutes at the end of the day and work the stress out of your tired feet. Do what feels good, or follow this simple tutorial from babycenter (baby not needed!) to target key spots.
- Solve a puzzle. If your brain is constantly full of lists of things you need to do, distracting it is sometimes the easiest way to calm down. Web Sudoku has tons of free puzzles, or try my personal favorite, a logic puzzle from Puzzle Baron.
- Take a walk. Try to focus on your surroundings, or try to clear your head completely. Inhale deeply, and delight in the colors and sounds around you.
- Savor a rare treat. Have one piece of candy, a pastry, a beverage, or a savory treat that you don’t usually allow yourself. Be sure to truly savor it, though. Let it melt on your tongue, or take your time between each bite.
- Spend five minutes focusing on your breathing. This is an excellent way to clear your head, and it will also help you feel more at peace. You can do this simply, by focusing on taking long, deep breaths, or you can try breathing according to a different technique. Real Simple has several breathing routines you can try.
- Take 30 minutes to yourself. No phone. No computer. No distractions. Do something that you’ve been wanting to do, like read a magazine, or just sit quietly. Life is so noisy and busy that having occasional peaceful, solitary moments is important.
- Read a poem out loud. Even if you aren’t a poetry lover, there’s something freeing about hearing your own voice pronouncing beautiful words. You don’t have to analyze the poems, or even pay attention to the meaning. Just focus on the sound of the words, the rhythms of your voice, and the patterns of poetic language. Some of my personal favorites are Mark Doty, Anne Carson, and James Joyce.
- Light a candle or put a dab of essential oil on your wrists. The sense of smell is more powerful than we sometimes give it credit for, and indulging in a delicate perfume or using calming oils to relax can be a great way to take a few seconds to stop and tune out the world around you.
- Stretch. Move your body in ways counter to its typical patterns. If you have just a few minutes, find some positions and stretches that feel good to you. If you have a longer amount of time, I’ve found that yin yoga, or restorative yoga, is a great practice. Here’s a nice hour-long online tutorial from Ekhart Yoga on YouTube.
- Listen to a song you like. Really listen to it. Or belt it out. Whatever you do, don’t let it just be background.