Yesterday was International Self-Care Day! In honor of that, I want to take some time to talk about some of my favorite self-care practices and how they’ve benefitted me.
Self-care is such an important component of mental health and wellness, and building and maintaining a self-care routine has truly been life-changing. Since working on practicing self-care regularly, I’ve become more self-aware. I can more easily recognize what my body needs, what my brain needs, and how to process everything that’s happening within myself.
One of the most important self-care practices in my routine is monitoring my sleep. I use an app to track my time asleep, sleep phases, and sleep trends. Starting my day after a good night’s sleep is such a great feeling, and it’s been so helpful in regulating my mental health. I can also tell more about my mental wellness by seeing how well I’ve slept. On nights when I don’t get a lot of deep sleep, or when I wake up multiple times, I can tell there’s anxiety building up that I need to work through. On nights when I get too much deep sleep, though, I can tell I need to give myself more time to rest and that I may be taking on more than I can handle.
Another big one is mindfulness. Before I started practicing self-care regularly, I never tried practicing mindfulness. I didn’t even really know what it meant to be mindful. Now, I try to incorporate mindfulness into my daily routine through practices like meditation, breathing techniques, being intentional with my thoughts and actions, or taking the time to just observe what’s happening around me and how I’m feeling. These practices have increased my self-awareness and made it so much easier to recognize where my emotions are coming from or why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling.
The final big practices I want to talk about are gratitude and forgiveness. For me, these often go hand-in-hand. When I talk, think, or write about gratitude, I am often referring to the actions of others that have benefitted me in some way. Maybe someone helped me out when they saw I was struggling. Maybe someone did something nice that was unsolicited. Maybe someone supported me without the expectation of getting anything in return. Whatever it is that I’m grateful for usually comes from an external source, and it usually means there was something I could not do for myself and that I needed someone else’s help. In those cases, it’s so important for me to also practice self-forgiveness. I know I fall short sometimes, and that’s okay. These two practices have helped me recognize that I am not alone in this world, I am loved, and I am okay.
This week, take some time to think about your favorite self-care practices and how they’ve benefitted your wellness. Feel free to write them down, talk them out, share them on social media, or just meditate on them!
As always, stay safe + stay healthy.