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Have you ever been stranded on a road or a freeway when you ran out of fuel? Many, many years ago, on a cold winter Saturday, I was returning from the university after attending a full day grad class and was eager to get home. I overestimated the amount of fuel left and assumed that I had enough to reach home. Well, the result as you might imagine, my car came to a screeching halt on the freeway. Lucky for me, after about 10 minutes or so of waiting, a county patrol came to the rescue. While the fuel indicator gives you fair warnings when the vehicle is low on fuel, we tend to overestimate how far we can go with what we have. I find that it’s similar to how we handle self-care. Similar to the fuel indicator metaphor, we might know when we’re draining, yet we think that we can last a tad bit longer without caring for oneself..Worse yet, if you are not in tune with your fuel indicator or don’t pay attention to where you’re at with your energy levels, you might be caught off guard and confused with your own burn out.

So, what is Self-Care?

Self-care is about taking care of yourself in all aspects of life including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It’s about being in tune with your needs and taking the time to nurture yourself first before pouring out to others. It takes deliberate practice and action to identify your needs and practice activities that bring you joy and happiness.

What isn’t Self-Care?

It’s not Selfish:

I know a lot of us feel guilty to take the time for ourselves to relax and refresh. There is this notion that somehow spending time on our own care is selfish and self-serving. We’ve heard it several times that you can’t pour from an empty cup, right? So, the next time you feel guilty going to the gym while kids are at home, DON’T! Remind yourself that by investing in yourself, you are setting the example for your kids to prioritize self-care!

It’s not something you don’t enjoy:

Self-care also doesn’t mean that you do something that you don’t like or enjoy doing. Self-care might look and feel different for each of us. Check out the list of self-care activities below and pick a few that you might enjoy doing the most!

It’s not self-sabotaging:

While the activity you pick needs to be something you enjoy, make no mistake here- it should be something that nourishes you and contributes to your overall well-being. While binge-watching Netflix series might be OK to do once in a while, it’s not safe to consider that as self-care. Similarly, emotional eating might not be completely unavoidable, however, managing your stress and emotions through eating and not addressing the root cause of stress is not the best approach either.

It’s not an activity you practice rarely:

We often tend to overestimate the time we take for nourishing ourselves. If you go on a trip alone or with friends maybe once in the last few years, we call it self-care and move on. Well, self-care is not something that happens rarely or occasionally, it’s vital to make it a regular practice. To run our car, we need to invest in maintenance and fill up often and not rarely right? Humans are no different!

It’s not a one-size-fits all:

People are wired differently, there’s no doubt about that. What that means is self-care can look and feel different for each of us based on our likes and interests. Just because a specific practice might be soothing to someone doesn’t mean that it will work for you. It’s important to reflect and figure out your individual needs and chart out a plan for self-care.

So,how do you come up with a self-care plan that works for you? It’s simple, curate your list by reflecting on these questions.

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What activities make you a better person?
  • How can you incorporate into your daily routine or make it a regular practice?

Here’s a list of 50 simple and effective self-care ideas. Pick what you might enjoy and try it out.

  1. Read a book.
  2. Pick a different genre if you are an avid book reader.
  3. Walk in the nature
  4. Go for a gratitude walk
  5. Talk to a friend or a family member
  6. Try a new recipe
  7. Listen to a podcast
  8. Listen to a podcast you’ve never heard before
  9. Dance to music
  10. Listen to your favorite music
  11. Listen to music in a different language
  12. Exercise
  13. Try a new workout video
  14. Learn something new online
  15. Journal about your feelings
  16. Practice gratitude
  17. Make a vision board
  18. Help someone
  19. Volunteer for a local non-profit
  20. Spend time gardening
  21. Meditate ( you can use Headspace app)
  22. Practice mindfulness
  23. Go for a mindfulness walk
  24. Play with kids
  25. Go for a swim
  26. Practice yoga (here’s one I like, it’s free)
  27. Sign up for a free yoga challenge
  28. Give up a food group that’s not serving you
  29. Take a personal development course (some are free on Coursera)
  30. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Check out my blog here on this topic
  31. Take a 21 day plant based challenge
  32. Organize your space
  33. Take a nap
  34. Take a long, leisurely bath
  35. Go on a bike ride
  36. Go for a run or a jog in the neighborhood
  37. Try a stretching routine
  38. Start a vegetable garden
  39. Watch a TED Talk
  40. Read a blog post or an article
  41. Talk to a mentor
  42. Read a motivational quote
  43. Write down your list of dream vacations
  44. Take time to self-reflect
  45. Spend time connecting with your spiritual practice
  46. Donate to a cause you care about
  47. Indulge with a pedicure or manicure
  48. Take a break from technology
  49. Make yourself a cup of tea
  50. Pamper yourself with a face mask

Invest in yourself and make your self-care a priority! What are some of your favorite self-care activities? Comment below, I would love to hear from you!


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