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7 ways to practice self-care

With so many things vying for your attention, self-care may be at the bottom of your to-do list. Childcare, work, family commitments and household responsibilities can often occupy the bulk of your time and energy, making it difficult to find time to take care of yourself. You may also feel like it's too indulgent to take time out to just focus on you when there are so many other things on your plate.

Unfortunately, delaying self-care may affect your physical and mental health. It may also make it more difficult to care for your family or excel at your job. That's why self-care should not be at the bottom of your to-do list.

How You Benefit from Self-Care

When your life is all work and no play, you're bound to feel exhausted, frustrated and stressed, at least occasionally. In addition to causing headaches, insomnia and upset stomachs, stress may affect your immune system, making it easier to catch colds and other viral illnesses. Over time, stress may increase your blood pressure and even be a factor in depression. Without regular self-care, your health may suffer and you might not have the energy you need to take care of yourself and your family.

That's why it's important to take time to care for yourself – no matter how busy your life may be.

Try These Self-Care Activities

Feeling overwhelmed or stressed? That's a sign that you need some "me" time. Self-care doesn't require hours, although the more time you can devote to it, the better. In fact, all you need is a few minutes per day to relax and recharge. Find time each day for any of the things on this list:

  1. Escape from reality: Give yourself a break from your usual routine by visiting a museum, scheduling an afternoon at a spa, reading a book, taking a nap or playing a video game.
  2. Make a date: One-on-one time with your spouse or partner is crucial for a healthy relationship. Getting out of the house for a few hours is ideal, but there's no reason why you can't enjoy an at-home date night after the kids are asleep.
  3. Find time for friendships: Friends make life more rewarding and offer much-needed support and companionship. Regular get-togethers, whether they're in-person or virtual, can provide laughs, a shoulder to lean on or a way to feel connected to life outside your family.
  4. Educate yourself: It's never too late to master a new language, learn how to paint or take up snowboarding. Find something you've always wanted to do and then give yourself the time to learn how to do it – or do it better.
  5. Get moving: Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve your health. Walking, biking and running are inexpensive forms of exercise that help reduce stress. These activities will also give you some alone time to recharge and regroup.
  6. Improve your diet: Prepared foods and packaged snacks will satisfy your hunger pangs, but these foods can make you feel sluggish. Swap convenience foods and sugary or salty snacks for foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats for more staying power.
  7. Take care of your health: Making (and keeping) well-visits, dental, vision, therapy and other health care appointments is essential for maintaining your physical and mental health.

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Date Last Reviewed: January 11, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
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