There have been numerous think pieces plastered online to share tips on how to properly "self-care." In efforts to attend to our mental and emotional wellness, we’ve been advised to take long, soothing bubble baths, journal, read our favorite book, or simply spend time with nature. All of these are viable options for self-care but there are some healthy habits these think pieces often overlook. Some of the most impactful gifts we can provide ourselves are can be found right within. Here are 6 uncommon ways to self-care.
1. Correct a bad habit.
You already know what it is. That one thing you know you should’ve stopped doing or engaging in a long time ago? Cut it out. Not all of the stress we experience in life is from circumstances beyond our control. There are many things we can control and our habits are one of them. If you are subconsciously aware of something you’re doing that’s detrimental to your wellbeing, just work on resolving it. You’ll feel less stressed out in the end.
2. Say ‘no.’
Say it right now. Out LOUD. You may feel dorky if you’re one who rarely says it but sometimes it’s necessary. Being a people pleaser can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Practice saying no to frivolous requests, bad energy, and unnecessary drama. Some of us fear that if we say no, we’ll lose friends or companions. But the truth is that anyone who truly values you will respect your decision. Saying no is not always easy but your well-being is much more important.
Some self-care tips advise us to treat ourselves to our favorite meal, splurge on a new item, or travel on a whim. These are indeed ways to fulfill oneself but before acting, ask yourself if it’s a good decision. Will this temporary gratification only lead to more stress in the future, ultimately counteracting the entire point of it all? Prioritize your self-care habits. If you know you need to save money for rent and utilities, perhaps you can find another means of self-caring aside from buying a new pair of shoes or jewelry. Do something FREE. It’s important to find ways of treating yourself occasionally but do so wisely.
4. Find closure.
*Cue Erykah Badu’s song, “Bag Lady.”* The bags we carry around restrain us in so many ways. Whether it’s resolve from a past relationship, abuse, or a traumatic experience, we live with these issues on our backs and it affects our daily lives. We ought not to force ourselves to forget these experiences because they form the fabric of who we are. But we should learn from them and put those bags down.
5. Eliminate unhealthy relationships.
Yes, this one is quite heavy, but the benefit is very well obvious. Many of us like to convince ourselves we’re content with our relationships and friendships but deep down we realize it’s not the truth. Maintaining struggle-ships longer than needed only burdens ourselves and the other people involved. The longer we try to hold on to a bond already broken, the harder it’ll be to recover from it all.
6. Check yourself.
In terms of resolving our issues, we tend to place our focus on the external. However, there are some aspects of our lives that can be transformed by our own perspectives and actions. Reflect on your behaviors, reactions, and mechanisms for problem-solving. In doing so, you may realize there are critical ways you can eliminate some of the extra stress in your life.
Continue your bubble baths. Schedule your personal hikes and yoga classes. But remember to allot time for introspection because that is where the ultimate transformation begins. If you discover that these tips work for you, feel free to share with someone you know who may need them.