Self-care – it’s something we often overlook during the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. However, in order to nurture the health of our mind, body, and soul, we need ways to promote well-being and reduce stress.
The thing about practicing self-care is that you intentionally need to make time and space for it. Luckily, there are many things you can do right from the comfort of your home. Keep reading to hear from experts in the field on their favorite at-home self-care practices for a healthier, happier you.
1. Create a sacred space. Whether it’s a room, chair, or bed, find a place to spend a few moments or longer to relax your mind and connect with your inner self any time in the day or night. Allow this time to be free from having to do or be anything whatsoever, give yourself permission to just ‘be’ by taking a few breaths, closing your eyes, and letting yourself relax.
2. Plan next week’s meals over the weekend. Have good quality tools in your kitchen so home-cooked meals are easy to prepare. Stock your pantry with whole grains, broths, and beans for healthy eating.
3. Start and end the day with a healthy habit. Home self-care is where we kick start the routines that move us towards feeling and functioning great. We’re ruled by our habits, and consistency is what will ultimately get us to our goals. The home is where we begin and finish our day, so starting and ending the day with a simple healthy habit can be the game-changer that keeps our health moving forward.
This can be simple like drinking lemon water in the morning and at night spraying your pillow with lavender.
4. Fill one of your spaces at home with color. Whether it be small decor items, plants, or a throw blanket featuring your favorite color. Think less about clashing and more about vibrancy, positivity, and intention to create a space worth living in.
5. Get enough sleep. 7-9 hours of quality sleep is fundamental to good self-care, and sleep is arguably the easiest thing on this list. Plus, sleep has a multitude of other benefits for your brain and body.
6. Start a skincare ritual. A soul-nurturing skincare routine can help you feel like you’re having a spa treatment every day, even if it’s just a few splendid minutes to yourself while chaos ebbs and flows on the other side of the door. Choose self-care products that are made with essential oils, and infused with crystals and good energy because they smell wonderful, feel nice on your skin, and offer a holistic, deeply replenishing healing effect on your mind, body, and spirit. Creating this ritual will make you never want to miss your “me time” sanctuary of self-care.
7. Get outside. There’s no easier way to push “restart” than getting outdoors and going for a walk. Use the rhythmic crunching of dirt under your feet as a cadence for breathing and before you know it, you’ve sauntered into a serene, meditative state.
8. Use Aromatherapy. This is a powerful way to provide comfort and healing at home. Studies show that rosemary, for example, can improve cognitive performance. Peppermint and jasmine can enhance brain function and focus too. Lavender and lemon balm have been found to soothe pain and stress. These essential oils interact with body chemistry and can also improve sleep patterns, increase daytime alertness, and stimulate sociability.
9. Recognize simple rituals as acts of self-care. Self-care rituals at home serve to remind us that we are worthy of the good that comes from giving our emotional, mental, and physical needs their due—from a slowly sipped cup of hot tea to a hot shower that steams up the mirror while listening to your favorite podcast. Recognizing these simple rituals as acts of self-care is where it begins. From there it becomes easier to recognize and be grateful for all of the ways we can build ourselves up in the face of the daily grind.
10. Create a morning routine. For many, creating a morning routine is the best way to consciously devote attention to our own needs, so we feel energized for the rest of the day. Examples could be mindfully preparing a pot of tea, savoring a slow breakfast with a favorite book, and/or incorporating exercise and movement.
11. Keep your home tidy and smelling good. Before getting into relax mode after a long day, burn a candle or incense and make sure to straighten up the house. Decluttering from the day is essential!
12. Remember the benefits of physical exercise for your brain. Do some burpees. Jump rope. Go out and walk briskly around the block. Do some push-ups and planks. Anything that elevates your heart rate and breathing rate (within reason) for at least 10 minutes is super beneficial for mental focus and state of mind. Get up and move around, and you will feel and think better!
– Miller Chandler, Owner/Certified Exercise Physiologist, Foundation Wellness
13. Address stress or anxiety when you feel it. If you notice yourself feeling stressed, anxious or tense, find a calm quiet space to sit down and breathe. Take a long, slow, gentle inhale; exhale out through your mouth with a sigh. Exhale completely, making it slightly longer than the inhale. This sends signals to your nervous system that you are in a safe space, and it is ok to rest and relax. Your breath is the one organ in your body you control; it’s free and always available.
14. Make it work for the season you are in. One of my favorite acts of self-care is making sure I am moving my body, but as a business owner and mom of four little ones, I don’t always have time for long runs or hours at the gym. Therefore, I keep it simple: a brisk walk with my twins in a stroller or a short at-home Pilates workout on the floor of the bathroom while my kiddos are in the bath. Sometimes keeping it simple is the secret to success.
– Robin Long, The Balanced Life
15. Try dry brushing. Not only does this exfoliate your skin keeping it looking smooth and feeling soft but also it is one of the few ways in which you can improve the flow of your Lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the main waste line for all toxins in your body. The health of your lymphatic system will determine the health of your body. Dry skin brushing is an inexpensive way to truly help your body inside and out.
16. Make a deliberate transition ritual. Our lives are full of over-stimulation and sometimes high-tension. If we aren’t careful, we can carry tension and stress from one situation to another. Instead of being strung along, bringing our day’s baggage into our safe home space, create a simple ritual to transition out of work or into your home space. It can be as simple as three, mindful breaths, a dance sesh to a favorite song in the car, or a stroll around the block.
17. Make self-care a priority. Hopefully, you have already discovered ways to show yourself, love. Whether it’s meditation, a warm bath, sitting in the sun, music that warms your heart or other ways to nourish your soul, the most important thing is to make sure you take time for it every day.
18. Get physical. Moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day will greatly enhance your physical and mental well-being. You can move your body in a variety of ways, such as a brisk walk around the block, a slow jog, some jumping jacks, sit-ups or even an online yoga class from the comfort of your own living room.
19. Meditate in the morning. To foster self-love at home, get in the habit of meditating in the morning for 10-minutes before jumping into the fast pace of the world. Just like exercise, meditation requires consistency to see any meaningful results. By practicing first thing in the morning, you guarantee that you won’t forget to do it.
20. Breathe. Close the eyes, feel the breath (make it long and slow if it is not already), and find yourself in the body. Don’t focus on the body itself, but instead find the You inside the body. Connect completely with that spark of eternity, which is within you for a few breaths, and feel good!
21. Make small changes to your environment and routine. Diffuse essential oils or burn a non-toxic candle, play ambient spa or meditation music, turn off digital devices, and put your feet up. Little luxuries like at-home masks will hydrate and pamper your skin along with a silk pillowcase for the ultimate beauty rest. Epsom salt baths are soothing and help aching muscles and tension in the body.
– Elizabeth M. Donat, NY and internationally licensed esthetician and founder, EMD Skin Solutions