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A guide to self-care that’s more than face masks.

Why You’re Here: You want to know yourself better, explore your health as an avenue of personal growth and commit to taking care.

What’s Inside: Consider this Toolkit your resource to finding practices of self-care that you need. Included are self-care suggestions that move you where you need to be, which might be forward, or exactly where you are.

How To Use It: This isn’t a prescription, so feel free to take or leave the ideas we share depending on what your body tells you and what habits fit in your life.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The foundation of self-care is about listening to yourself, knowing yourself and creating space to give yourself what you need. What that looks like is flexible. It may be boxed into face masks and epsom salt baths (which we are into btw), but it can also mean setting boundaries, getting rest or seeking therapy.

CONSIDER THIS

Often, putting yourself first can be difficult—life sometimes gets in the way. That includes your job, car, living situation, family, friends and all the other elements of your life. A 1980 study published in the Journal Med Care found that by monitoring your self-care and tracking how you feel in a journal or simply staying aware of your body can help improve overall practice. Of the 26 women in the study who kept a health diary for four weeks, they showed that self-care was practiced on more than 80 percent of the days when their medical problems were present. This shows that even though it might be hard to make major health changes, monitoring how you feel and paying attention to self-care can help aid in healing health concerns.

WHAT TO DO

The best next step is the one you take, whether that’s a little something you do today, a habit you start tomorrow, or the plan you make for long-term health. Here are some ideas for each.

Today

Ask yourself how you’re feeling and be honest in your answer. Give yourself one thing you need based on where you're at. For example, if you’re feeling stressed, you might take 5 minutes to breathe deeply. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might take 5 minutes to re-prioritize your to-do list.

Tomorrow

Create a plan for the bigger things you need like finding a therapist, signing up for a gym or scheduling time to exercise with a friend, changing your nutrition plan and committing to more time alone. But don’t just stop there, tell someone about your plan whether that’s a friend, partner or family member.

Long Term

Commit to going back into this space to assess if all of this is really working for you in each new season. Create the support system you need to follow what you learn about yourself into different and challenging new phases.

FAQ

What are some budget friendly self-care practices?

You most likely have a budget, but that doesn’t mean that self-care isn’t achievable. Start very simple: Eating right, drinking plenty of water and sleeping. Once you begin there, you are well on your way to creating a foundation for your self-care at a low cost. Get your social circle involved and ask for support and advice from your friends and family as you begin to care for yourself better. Ask how they self-care on a budget, too. Check out YouTube tutorials to help find DIY solutions for skin care masks, meditation or yoga exercises to help you wind down. Take a walk. Go take your lunch break outside. Open your window and breathe. Watch TED Talks that help inspire you, listen to podcasts that address self-care and motivate you.

It’s free to take stock of your life and the people in it. Try writing your personal mission statement, a tip included in “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Know what you’re about so you can keep up with your life and thoughts. Kiss the people you love (or hug them tightly) and move away from the ones who harm you. Cut out negativity. This can, in time, help you practice healthy boundaries and promote better personal self-care without spending a fortune.

How does feeling lonely impact my health?

There is a surprising connection between loneliness and how it impacts a person’s health, according to The New York Times. Research has found that loneliness can increase your risk for heart disease, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and even suicide attempts. Loneliness doesn’t discriminate based on age or gender. In fact, younger people and much older people tend to face loneliness more often, according to a study of 3.4 million people. Feeling lonely might even happen to you when you’re surrounded by people as well.

There are many ways you can address both loneliness and its connection to your health. Some experts recommend taking a class or trying a new interest, getting a pet, doing volunteer work or joining an activity center or group. Taking those steps to improve measures of depression and anxiety helps to create an overall better sense of well-being.

What are some tips for taking care of myself in times of chaos?

You might feel uncertain or afraid during times of chaos in your life. Remember this: you are definitely are not alone. Remember you can fall back on these tips to help guide you toward healing: Maintain your sense of self-worth, remember who you are, recount your inner qualities even when you feel like you struggle to maintain your self-worth. Laugh, have fun and take care of those little things that you need to do (and probably put off). Those little things can say a lot about your overall well-being. Don’t abandon yourself and stay present. Ask yourself this: Is your fear rational?

Accepting yourself is a major step, Tiny Buddha describes. Recognize the things or people that make you feel good. Be compassionate toward yourself and re-focus using your self-care as a guide. Focus in on time for you - that could be time to nap, time to sit quietly or even separate yourself from social gatherings if you feel like they are not nourishing you. Build compassion with yourself. Say I love you to you. Believe it when you say it. It can be powerful, and it might not be something you are saying to yourself. Watch how it changes you.