When most of us think about self-care, we think of bubble baths, hot stone massages, and vacations! Those are awesome ways to practice self-care, don’t get me wrong. But fluffy robes and lavender bubble baths are only scratching the surface of what self-care entails. Unexpected self-care methods are often just as necessary, if not more so!
Broadly defined, self-care is any action you take that makes you feel good and is good for your physical/mental/spiritual health.
Today, I’m going to be blogging about some unexpected self-care practices that you should definitely add to your routine.
#1. Completing a task that’s good for your well-being
This is the un-sexy side of self-care that doesn’t get as many “likes” or “follows” when you talk about it.
Here are some examples of self-care tasks:
- Making a doctor’s appointment
- Going to the dentist
- Preparing a healthy meal
- Taking medications as prescribed
- Doing laundry
I know you might be looking at those last two like, really? Cleaning is self-care? No way. It’s just something I have to do.
Well, not the way I see it.
The way I see it, you don’t have to do anything. Many people live in filth. You choose to clean because you and/or your loved ones enjoy living in a clean space. It makes you feel good, and it’s good for your health. And those are the two defining characteristics of self-care.
Sometimes we get so caught up in doing these tasks for others (parents and grandparents, I’m looking at you) that we feel like we don’t have time to cross things off our own lists.
If you don’t have the time, figure out a way to make the time.
You are as much a part of your family as any other member. Your health and well-being are important, too!
#2. Setting a boundary
For caregivers and people who are natural helpers, this one is especially important.
We tend to prioritize the needs of others and put own needs last.
And when our own needs come last, we will drive the car until we’re running on fumes. Meaning that we’ll get resentful, bitter, passive aggressive, exhausted… and eventually, break down in the middle of the highway.
Everyone needs to practice self-care by setting boundaries. Don’t wait until you burn out; start now. Here are some ideas for how to do so:
- Say “no” to something you’re asked to do, even if you don’t have a “good reason” to. The good reason can be that you just don’t want to.
- When you’re taking care of yourself, put your phone on silent. Others do not have to have access to you 24/7.
- Plan things you’re looking forward to, and make a commitment to yourself not to cancel, even if someone has an ’emergency.’ If it is a true emergency, they can call 911. If it’s very urgent, they can find someone else to help them – it doesn’t always have to be you.
#3. Doing absolutely nothing
Have you ever heard the Kurt Vonnegut quote, “I am a human being, not a human doing”?
It’s true. And in a world where productivity is king and being “so busy” is the norm, how often do we get to just… exist?
Here are some different interpretations of ‘doing nothing’:
- Zoning out in front of the T.V.
- Staying in pajamas all day
- Spending time in nature
None of these is a “right” or “wrong” way to do nothing. It all depends on what you need more of, and what’s going to help you feel rested and rejuvenated.
For people who are always on the go or who have anxiety, doing nothing can feel uncomfortable at first.
My advice is to stick with it through the discomfort. The more you practice doing nothing, the more you will start to really enjoy it.
Have you tried any of these unexpected self-care methods? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
Rebecca Ogle is a licensed therapist who practices teletherapy with millennials who live in Illinois and internationally. Rebecca empowers her clients to cope with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and relationship problems using their strengths and inner wisdom.