Practising self-care is something you need to choose to do, setting intentions each week to look after yourself and making yourself a priority. Self-care is becoming more important in the world we live in; mental health struggles are becoming more and more evident. Stepping back and taking the time to take a breath and should not be a rarity but a necessity in our lives.
Life is busy for a lot of people; if you are working full time and have a family, time can run away from you. This is why scheduling some time to show yourself some care and love is so important and should be a regular part of your life.
Here is a list of 14 underrated self-care activities that you should be practising:
1. Create A Gratitude Journal
Showing gratitude is the smallest change that you can make in your like, but can be such a beneficial activity for your mental health and wellbeing. Life passes us by so fast and it is so incredibly easy to forget to be thankful for the small things in life. Studies have shown that consistently keeping track of what you are grateful for an acting these feelings of appreciation can boost your immune system, making you healthier and happier.
A gratitude journal is a diary where you can write what you are grateful for; it is that simple. Gratitude journaling allows you to keep your focus on positive areas of your life and appreciate what you have. The mental health benefits for journaling in general are so great. If you are struggling with your mental health, keeping a gratitude journal can help to improve your self-esteem and ensures that you are focusing on positive feelings and thoughts.
2. Edit Your Social Media Following List
Social media has a huge influence on people’s mental health and your self-worth. With a lot of our lives being online, it is so easy to get sucked into the comparing yourself to others and feeling bad about yourself. Editing your social media following list is a great way for you to practise self-care because when you engage on social media, you want to be surrounded by positive people, so removing people who do not add value to your life is a great form of self-care.
3. Challenging Self-Sabotaging Behaviour
We are our own worst enemies and critics much of the time and can be guilty of being too hard on ourselves; I am completely the same. I am always thinking about what else I should be doing, or how I could be doing better. Self-love is so important for your mental wellbeing and identifying when you are exhibiting self-sabotaging behaviour is the key to overcoming it.
Exploring the root causes, taking the time to self-reflect and speaking positively about yourself is where affirmations would work so well to improve your behaviours. Another way that you can challenge self-doubting and self-sabotaging behaviour is to set goals and make plans, so that you can move forwards with confidence. Making small changes like waking up using affirmations or just speaking positively tom your self is how you will overcome these thoughts and feelings.
4. Plan In High Quality Connection Time
Spending time with loved ones and friends is a majorly powerful form of self-care. Taking time out of our busy lives to have fun, make memories and be present is crucial to appreciating what you have. Put your phone down and enjoy the company of others. You don’t really think about socialising as self-care, but I would argue that human connection is probably the best form of self-care. With the lockdowns that we have all had to endure has proved how important social interaction and connection is to our mental health. There are so many health benefits of spending time with family including: reduces stress, boosts self-confidence, promotes resilience and an increased sense of belonging and self-esteem.
5. Declutter A Space Or Room
I have shared this quote before, but ‘a tidy space means a tidy mind’ and this is so true. Of you are surrounded by clutter and mess, your mind will be disorganised. Taking time out to clear and declutter a space or room in your home can be very therapeutic. Transforming a space and seeing the difference can really give you a sense of achievement and can make you feel good. Having a clear and organised space can help you to feel calmer and less stressed. Decluttering your bedroom, for example, can enable you to feel less distracted and help you to sleep better.
6. Learn New Skills
Personal development is a form of self-care and learning a new skill is a great way to grow. It could be learning a new language, learning to be more organised, how to paint or use brush lettering; these are just a few ideas. Taking time to plan in an opportunity to explore what you want to learn for enjoyment or to better yourself is important ‘me time’. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can still learn something new.
7. Cultivate Your Creativity
Art therapy is powerful and a great way to take care of your mental health. Being creative is not just about drawing or painting. It can take many different forms like: knitting, colouring, writing in a journal, writing a story or making a vision board. Focusing you mind on a creative activity can help you to alleviate anxiety, depression and stress. Being creative can lead to feelings of accomplishment and pride.
8. Listen To A Motivational Podcast
There is something relaxing and soothing about listening to a podcast. Moreover, when you listen to podcasts, it makes you use your imagination and build pictures in your mind. So if you are regularly listening to podcasts, you may have a stronger and more vivid imagination. There are a range of motivational podcasts that can help inspire you, lift your mood and improve your mind set. It is a great form of self-care that you can do before bed whilst you are cooking dinner or when you are relaxing.
I recommend: Work in Progress by Sophia Bush and Coffee Convos by Kail and Lindsie.
9. Cultivate Your Green Thumb
Being at one with nature is a great form of self-care and can be really grounding. Gardening is good for mental health. Not only does burn calories, it works your all your muscles; it so beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. Interacting with nature especially with the presence of water can increase self-esteem and mood, reduce anger and have positive effects on behaviour. Watching your hard work pay off as plants grow and flowers bloom, can improve your confidence and self-worth.
10. Saying No When You Want To
How many times have you said yes to something, but you really wanted to say no? I used to be guilty of being a ‘yes’ person as I wanted to please everyone; however, this can be detrimental to your mental health and you can burn yourself out by trying to please others rather than looking after yourself. Life is short and you should be spending time doing things that make you happy and spending time with the people who add value and joy to your life.
11. Organising Your Thoughts
Regularly organising your mind is a powerful activity of self-care. Carrying out weekly brain dumps as part of your weekly reset can be so beneficial to organise your thoughts, write down your worries, or everything that you want to achieve. Writing morning pages can allow you to use affirmations and prompts to express your thoughts and feelings. Clearing your mind can help you to: reduce stress, improve your sleep, reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
12. Read A Self-Help Book
Reading is a popular ‘go to’ self-care activity for a lot of people, but reading self-help books can help you to explore techniques and tips to help your personal growth. Reading can bring deep relaxation and calm which helps to fight stress and anxiety.
I really recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear; The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*@k by Sarah Knight; and An Edited Life by Anna Newton.
13. Life Admin Tasks
There are certain tasks that you should get checked off your list that are all forms of self-care. Life admin tasks can be activities like: booking doctor’s appointments, clearing out your email inbox, paying bills, planning or purchasing gifts, planning home improvement projects and many more. These tasks can often get put aside or be forgotten about, but once completed, they will make you feel less stressed and more organised.
14. Have Those Difficult Conversations
Having a difficult conversation and not avoiding a scary subject can ensure that you stop being a victim of the situation or people who are in your life. If you avid these conversations, it leads you to burying your feelings which is unhealthy and can manifest into bigger and deeper problems.
If someone has done something that has upset you, don’t avoid it. The conversations become more difficult the longer that you wait.be open and honest about what you what bothered you, so that you can set boundaries between you and the other person. Just remember to have a purpose or end goal from the conversation, be empathetic, listen and remember to be direct and clear about your frustration and the reason you are having the conversation.
What are some underrated self care activities you do? I’d love to hear in the comments.