“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”John 14:27
As someone who considers herself a mental health blogger (at least a newbie one or at least one in training), I figured it was high time to make a self-care ideas list, especially for all you anxiety-prone people out there like me. Some days I just come home, and I am badly craving something to help me relax. These are some of my go-to unwinding and relaxing practices that I think you might enjoy as well. Some of these can go hand in hand if you have had a tough day, week, or month and need some heavy relaxation.
- Taking a long, relaxing bath
BATHS. I call baths “liquid therapy.” There is something so healing about sinking into a fragrant, steaming tub of hot water and seeping in it like a teabag, letting your muscles finally relax after you have been practically holding them in tense positions for the whole day or week.
For a special treat, I recommend adding some bubbles or a bath bomb to your soaking time to add a bit of whimsy and aromatherapy to your homemade spa as well. Then, turn on some soothing instrumental music and silence all non-essential notifications on your phone – this is your time!
I recommend not doing this on a day or evening when you have to get a lot of other stuff done since once you sink into that water, you probably will not want to get out for a looooong while.
- Reading a chapter of a new book
If you are anything like me, you have a row of books just sitting in your house that you have not had time to start reading or have convinced yourself that other things are more essential and letting these once-exciting reads collect dust until a day you are FINALLY not busy (Spoiler alert: that day will never come because there is always SOMETHING to do).
Grab one of those books off of the pile, dust it off, grab a cup of hot herbal tea and a fuzzy blanket and let your stressed brain get lost in the written word. I prefer fiction books because it allows me to use my imagination and escape from the worries of the real world. Still, I do sometimes read a devotional or mental health book instead (By the way, if any of you have book recommendations for me, drop them in the comments).
Not only do you get to spend some time in literature, but you can also see the progress you have made with the number of pages read going up, and you might feel a slight sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, it is hard to feel accomplished in our modern, digital age because all of our work seems to be out of reach – documents on a computer being sent out to faceless professors and employers. So it is nice to have some physical record of progress you have made toward completing a goal.
- Get or make some of your favorite food
Nothing quite helps me relax at the end of a stressful day like my favorite food, either meal, dessert, or snack. For me, there is nothing quite like a generous serving of ice cream (anything not overpoweringly sweet) into a bowl and digging in so fast that I get brain-freeze.
Like with the book suggestion, making instead of purchasing your favorite food can give you a sense of accomplishment and productivity. Maybe making food is better though, because you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Of course, make sure that you still eat a complete, nutritious meal before engaging in this favorite dessert or treat, as treating yourself does not mean neglecting your daily health. So STILL EAT 3 FULL MEALS A DAY!!! I struggle with this personally, but that is a discussion for another post; stay tuned for that one.
- Watch a nostalgic show or movie
We all have that movie or series that we hold very near and dear to our hearts. They give us a mood boost when we are sad and make us remember the happiest times of our past and childhood. My personal favorite childhood movie is an obscure Disney musical from the 1950s called The Happiest Millionaire and I watch this film at least once every six months. It brings back the memories of late nights on family road trips, watching the film on our red minivan’s DVD player attached to the ceiling of the car, on the verge of falling asleep but wanting to stay awake until we arrived at the condo.
Most everyone has a movie or show like this, something that transports them to their happy place. Yet, sometimes we dismiss the urge to watch again, saying, “I was only a kid when I enjoyed that!” or secretly scared that it will make you sad you are not a child anymore.
It might make you a bit sad. But also happy that you got to have that sort of young wonder. And it will make you realize that despite how stressed and anxious you might be right now, life always finds a way of working out by the grace of God and the knowledge that failure and success can bring.
I hope you enjoyed this list of ideas for self-care! I know that money is tight for a lot of us, so I hope the fact that these low-cost self-care ideas inspired you to give yourself a little love, because I know you deserve some.
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Until next time!