12 Self-Care Habits That Can Have A Huge Impact

Estimated read time 5 min read

Self-care is big on everyone’s minds these days and with the topic trending, some self-care ideas and products can get complicated, expensive, and leave you asking why. So what I want to share here are the simple sustainable ways we can profoundly care for ourselves.

That means easy-to-stick-to habits that cost little or nothing and that have a potentially huge pay-off for everyone who does them.

These habits will help you get more of what you need from self-care, which for most people is either emotional, physical, or therapeutic.

Not only do these self-care habits address emotional, physical, and therapeutic needs quite well, but as they are things that anyone can do long-term, you can stick to them for as long as you need to for them to have the deepest impact on you and your life.

1. Reach out and hug someone

Make a point to connect with at least one person every day and if you meet up in person, get your hug on. A hug can reduce cortisol, a stress hormone because touch deactivates the part of the brain that responds to threats. Touch also releases oxytocin which has a calming effect on us. So take every opportunity to hug your family, S.O., pets, and even co-workers because hugs are powerful things.

2. Have a daily walking routine

Walking boosts your metabolism and counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. It is also a great stress reliever. Your daily walking routine can be paired with another activity if you worry you don’t have time: It’s a great time to listen to your favorite Podcast or organize your To-Do list. Btw, it doesn’t matter so much how many miles you walk or for how long, what matters most is the habit of walking daily.

3. Get some fresh air every day

Fresh air helps the airways of your lungs to dilate more fully and helps you to get more oxygen into your lungs. It helps to improve heart rate, blood pressure, and is very good for your mental state. It even helps you feel more energetic. Make it a point to go outside twice a day for at least 10-15 minutes each time.

4. Keep up your appearances

You don’t need to get dressed up but you don’t want to let your appearance go either. Our self-esteem is boosted when we care for our physical selves and our appearances. So, take care of your hair, nails, and skin. Dress up in nice activewear or whatever style you choose for your everyday look. You’ll feel more confident.

5. Unplug after at a certain time

Managing your time is one of the keys to mastering yourself. Set a time (7:00, 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00 pm) when you shut out the world and technology and turn to your downtime. Your downtime might include watching TV, hanging out with your SO or family, or enjoying a hobby, but as you can imagine, protecting this time from outside interference means you will enjoy your downtime more. And your “mind” will come to recognize when it’s time to shut off every day. That in and of itself has potentially huge and positive implications for your wellbeing.

6. Plug into positive content

There are TV channels, podcasts, social media feeds, and websites dedicated to positive news, uplifting messages, comedy, and impactful content. A few we like are Good News Network, The Skimm, Comedy Central, and Goodniks podcast. Consume more positive content so that your entertainment not only entertains but leaves you feeling positive too.

7. Netflix and Chill

Tune into non-commercial TV for your entertainment. On Netflix and many premium-content channels, you have more control over what you watch and you reduce the noise and psychological manipulations of advertising. “Netflix and Chill” even have a good ring to it.

8. Play Music

Music is scientifically proven to uplift and improve well-being. It can help you concentrate while you work or study. And research has found that listening to and playing music increase the body’s production of the antibody immunoglobulin (a key factor in the body’s immune function) and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

9. Use scented lotions and candles 

Scents are one of the simplest ways to feel better making them a great way to self-care. Rosemary, lemon, lavender, cinnamon, pine, and rose scents each have their own effect on our senses (calming or invigorating, for example) and each has unique beneficial properties.

10. Take 10 to Zen

Now I know that when I mention taking time to do this thing or that, some of you think you have to find time you don’t have. But taking 10 minutes to Zen, can be done while you’re doing something else. For example, your 10 minutes of Zen can be done during your nightly skincare routine.

11. Go to bed by 11

Many of us are natural night owls but are you effective? If your schedule isn’t working for you, then it’s working against you. Going to bed by 11:00, works with your brain to repair cells and form healthy new neural pathways.

12. Check-in with yourself throughout the day

We get so busy that a bad mood can sneak up on us. That’s because we haven’t learned to self-regulate. Andrea Bell from GoodTherapy.org has a great definition of self-regulation: It’s “control of oneself by oneself.” When you get into the habit of checking in with yourself at least a couple of times a day, you can take care of your needs in time. Overlooked physical and emotional needs can cause us to be reactive and lose control. By making time to tune in to how you’re feeling, you can sooner take care of yourself.

Christine Angelica

Christine is a Mindfulness trainer and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation, routines, systems and personalization.

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