Self-Care Rituals to Overcome Stress and Anxiety
Many of us prioritize our careers, family, friends and even our weekly workouts, but what about making time for self-care? We rationalize neglecting ourselves by saying things like “I’m too busy” or “there isn’t enough time.” Self-care may seem like a luxury, but it’s actually crucial for our well-being. Unless we make time for ourselves every day, or even just once a week, we won’t be able to show up for others and be the best version of ourselves.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is any activity that cares for our emotional, mental or physical well being. Self-care practices improve mood, reduce anxiety and relieve stress. Basically, self-care can be anything you enjoy doing that replenishes and revitalizes you.
Everybody is different, so what may be a form of self-care for you may not resonate with me and vice versa. Self-care rituals are just as unique as the individual itself. If you are looking for some ideas on how you can incorporate more self-care into your life, here are five self-care rituals to help you overcome stress and anxiety.
#1 Apply Essential Oils
Essential oils are a great way to tap into our central nervous system through aromatherapy. Each essential oil has their own unique set of properties. Some essential oils can energize and invigorate, while others can calm and relax. Some essential oils that can help soothe include bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, lavender, eucalyptus, wild orange and ylang ylang.
Action Step: If you are feeling stressed, try rubbing 2-3 drops of a relaxing essential oil on your wrists or temples then breathe in deeply and enjoy the scent as you go about your day and feel more relaxed.
Breathwork, also known as breath therapy, focuses on breathing techniques to promote physical, psychological and spiritual healing. It may sound simple, but altering the way in which we breathe can have profound effects on our health. There is a vast array of breathwork techniques one can choose from, but no matter which one you decide to try, consciously working on your breathing will help you enjoy multiple benefits including a profound sense of calm, a clearer head and an overall sense of lightness, among many others.
Action Step: The next time you feel flustered or frazzled, take one minute to focus on your breath. Inhale for five counts, hold for five counts, then exhale for five counts. This is called box breathing and can help you relax no matter where you find yourself.
#3 Eat Mindfully
Eating mindfully may not sound like a form of self-care, but it can be. Just think how relaxing it is to sit back with your favorite snacks like mini cookies, organic popcorn, Paleo puffs or veggie sticks while you savor each and every bite. You can even schedule time each week to enjoy a home cooked meal with your family or just yourself.
Action Step: Plan a home cooked meal to make this week. Even if it’s just for yourself. Pick your favorite meal and be mindful about your decision because when you eat good, you feel good. Feeling super stressed or anxious? Choose foods that are known to specifically help ease anxiety and stress.
#4 Go for a Walk
It may sound super simple, but going for a walk is a great form of self-care. Not to mention it’s easy to do and inexpensive (you can’t get any better than free). Physical activity, like walking, can improve our physical health, but it can also elevate our mood and reduce stress. It doesn’t have to be a long walk either. Just a quick jaunt around the block will do. Call a family member or friend for a catch up, listen to music, turn on a favorite podcast or simply walk and enjoy the beauty of nature around you as you soak in the sights.
Action Step: Carve out time to go for a walk sometime this week. Whether it’s before work, during your lunch hour or after dinner, find some time to go for a walk, even if it is just a quick walk around the neighborhood.
#5 Practice Meditation
Similar to breathing, meditation is a great form of self-care. As with deep breathing, meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system and simultaneously relaxes the body. Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes for a few moments and focusing on your breath or it can mean taking a longer set of time (15-20 minutes) and closing your eyes while you focus on a specific mantra like peace, calm, surrender or some other word or phrase that resonates with you at that particular moment in time.
Action Step: Carve out 5-15 minutes to try meditation once this week. If you find yourself struggling to still your mind, focus on your breath, your mantra or try counting. Check out our beginner’s guide to meditation and read up on our five tips for beginning your meditation practice.
Other self-care rituals include, but are not limited to:
- Clocking quality sleep
- Drinking tea, coffee or another warming beverage you enjoy
- Expressing gratitude
- Listening to music or a podcast
- Practicing self-massage
- Repeating positive affirmations
- Sitting in an infrared sauna
- Showering and/or taking a luxurious bubble bath
- Visualizing and so much more
Bonus: Here are ten simple ways to nourish your mind, body and soul.
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply pick something you enjoy and carve out some quality time for it each day, or at least once a week, and really take the time to give back to yourself in a way you enjoy most.
Show us how you practice self-care by tagging us @LesserEvilSnacks.