We’re used to thinking of wellness in terms of physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc., but it is so much more. Wellness is the process by which we stay healthy and combat stress.
Our needs go beyond the physical. And not taking care of those other needs can build up and create a lot of problems later on. It’s a lot like not changing the oil in your car regularly. Eventually, your car will overheat or suffer other damage.
Every day, we take similar risks with our health when we don’t take care of a broad range of human needs we all have.
In this post, I want to look at a broader spectrum of health and well-being and offer some self-care options that just might fill a hole you didn’t know needed filling.
1. Connect with family and friends
Fifty-seven percent of people turn to friends or family to help them manage their stress, according to the American Psychological Association. This area of wellness known as social wellness, is crucial to our well-being. If it’s missing or barely existent for you, life can feel more stressful for you than it would were you to have that support.
Because it’s true, in times of hardship and loss, it helps to have people to help us lighten our emotional load.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Nurture, protect, and invest more in the healthy relationships you have.
2. Step away from your problems
Stepping away from your problems isn’t the same as avoiding them. Rather, it’s putting them on hold while you reconnect with yourself and take a breather. Taking a step back may even help you see your options more clearly.
It’s a common mistake we all make when life gets chaotic or when we’re faced with a major problem, to think we have to remain in the trenches to fix it… and until it’s done, we can’t have a life, have fun, or take a break from it.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Have someplace to retreat to, when you need it. A mountaintop, lake house, hotel, seaside town, or anywhere else that always relaxes you.
3. Learn a martial art
Karate, Tai Chi, and Taekwondo are good martial arts for improving confidence, and sometimes the low feeling that we have is really old self-esteem issues showing up. Martial arts are a great tool to improve confidence and for our personal growth.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Create your ideal Defunk Playlist, and keep refreshing it as you find new favorites.
4. Take a class
How can taking classes help you combat stress? When we’re learning, being creative, and sharpening critical skills we are using more of our brain. Creativity has long been known to be a great stress reliever, but so is learning new things and for similar brain-focused reasons.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Bookmark some spots for learning such as the 92nd Street Y (in New York), Coursera (online), and your local college. When you’re too stressed and need to reset, learn something new. It usually makes us feel more confident.
5. Go swimming or use hydration therapy
Being underwater or floating is shown to have a calming effect on the mind and like other nature-based self-care, it’s a way to take care of our environmental wellness needs. Water is especially relaxing and sometimes very needed. Here’s the thing, with as much time we spend indoors, we’re missing out on the benefits we could be getting from nature.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Learn how to use hydrotherapy to relieve stress and find your local version of Just Float.
6. Do some organizing to combat stress
If you’re like me and get off on organizing things, this can be a nice distraction. When my closet looks organized, my mind follows. I feel productive and accomplished and anything but stressed.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Create an organizing system that you can fall into when you want to distract yourself. I will save baskets and containers that I can use to sort things later. I also use dead storage to pack away seasonal items and keep functional storage to get the best of these spaces such as under-bed storage containers on rollers.
7. Do some serious self-care
And by serious I mean, seriously decadent. There’s nothing like a good splurge to help my troubles melt away. And splurges don’t necessarily have to be expensive. A $2 face masque is a treat that my skin and I love. Another decadent treat is a bubble bath (something I probably do twice a year) that can take hours. From getting the bathtub ready to find the right playlist all the way through to the 30 minutes I spend oiling my skin and layering it with various perfumed body mousse. The luxury is in the detail and time you spend on yourself and your de-stressing self-care.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Stock up on that Korean facial masque you like and other skincare and beauty treats, especially great-smelling ones.
8. Take “stress pills”
When used in moderation, stress pills, and other support you can get from a bottle or plants can keep you calm and help you ride out the storm. To combat stress, we don’t need to wait until we feel it to address it. Taking supplements in the morning can help your body and nervous system better manage the effects of your busy day.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Read the Healthline article and do more research on beta-blockers and other supplements to relieve stress and anxiety.
9. Do something creative
Coloring mandalas or any type of visual art are creative exercises we can all do, which makes the point, you don’t have to be super creative to do something creative. Creativity invites imperfection and the very act of doing something calming and absorbing can move you away from your current problems.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Put together a creative kit with the supplies you might use to get creative.
10. Vino and Chill
Wine has a “calming effect” on the brain allowing us to de-stress after a day of hard work. But that’s not all. Scientists have found that wine may have long-term benefits for our mental health when consumed in moderation. If you’re feeling stressed, a light meal paired with 1.5 glasses of wine, candles, and chill music will reduce your stress levels in minutes.