When you think about self care your mind probably goes to spa days, naptime, and binge-watching a season of your favorite show. However, there is so much more you can be doing to take care of your mind and body that’s going to benefit you more than traditional “time off” would. Instead, let’s focus our attention on intentional self care
This isn’t to say that there’s no value in resting during your time off, but most people take this to the extreme. Many people see self care strictly as an unnecessary indulgence, and with a bad rap like that, it’s easy to see why. Self care is a necessary part of our lives, so let’s look at some productive ways to restore your mental and physical health for a better tomorrow.
Choose the Right Activities.
Self care is just like everything else when it comes to your body. If you choose to supply it with quality activities that also provide a challenge, there are greater benefits than if you choose an activity that gives you instant gratification—although it doesn’t feel that way immediately.
Think of it like fast food versus a home-cooked meal. Fast food seems quick, easy, and gratifying in the moment, but a quality home-cooked meal gives your body nutrients and benefits that will last longer. Your self care activities are no different.
It doesn’t always need to be a massive shift either. Want to watch television? Maybe choose to watch a documentary about a subject you’ve been interested in learning more about instead of binge-watching 8 hours of a reality show.
Choose to take a leisurely bike ride instead of your afternoon nap (your sleep cycle will thank you, too). Or, up your game and decide to work out for your self care ritual of the day. Working out has proven to be just as good for your mind as it is for your body. Intentional self care is about taking care of your body, not pampering it, so sometimes physically pushing yourself further than you want is what you really needed all along. You’ll be better for it in the long run.
The arts are a definite go-to to entertain and destress after long days at work. Whether watching movies, reading books, or listening to music, all of it came about as an artistic expression from someone who was looking to create. Creating something of your own is a good way to explore your inner psyche and, unsurprisingly, it’s good for your health as well.
Looking for a few creative projects to tackle in your free time? Try some of these:
- Write a short story
- Take a painting class
- Learn how to play a musical instrument (or play if you already know how)
- Try your hand at photography
- Record a podcast
- Create a scrapbook
- Write a screenplay for a short film
- Produce that short film
- Join a band and perform live
No matter what you decide to try, being creative will help you express your feelings, and you will be better for it.
It Doesn’t Always Need to Be Exciting
A common misconception is that all self care needs to be a big, extravagant event. It can be this way sometimes, but for the most part, good self care is usually boring. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your well-being is force yourself to go to sleep early so that you can wake up early for that 5 a.m. workout. Or maybe you need to make yourself eat a salad instead of that juicy double bacon cheeseburger that’s calling your name.
It’s not always going to be easy or fun, but the stuff that’s worth it usually takes some work. You might not even think of some of these examples as self care, but if you make the boring and unexciting decisions now, the rewards are going to come your way, and you will, again, be better for it.
Intentional Self Care is Listening to Your Body
Your body is going to tell you what it needs, and you would be advantageous to listen to what it has to say. Sometimes you need to just plain rest but remember to always strive to do more than the bare minimum. Take what you need and add to it, and you will become an unstoppable force of productivity.
Still looking for more ways to make the most of your free time? Take a look at our blog on “Four Easy Ways to Use Free Time for Personal Development.”