Self-care and general wellness activities have become a top priority for individuals seeking practical ways to manage stress. Medical professionals also recognise it as playing an essential role in overall mental wellbeing. Additionally, self-care encompasses activities that encourage relaxation, switching off after a busy day, earning how to rest properly, and of course, centring yourself.
There are many approaches to self-care that can be either medical or leisure-related, and each can be tailored to address a specific stressor. It may be emotional, psychological, or physical stress. Whatever stress you may be experiencing, there are several ventures you can participate in to de-stress and get your mental health back on track.
If stress is a common factor in your busy life, here are some helpful self-care ideas you can try to manage your stress.
Drink Hot Beverages
Drinking warm or hot drinks is a popular activity to unwind your body and mind after a stressful working day. The focus of this self-care idea is to make delicious drinks with enticing aromas and rich flavours to stimulate your senses and thus shift your mind to relaxing. The soothing temperature of a warm drink can stimulate your brain to secrete endorphins and serotonin. These are the hormones that make you feel happy and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
There’s a large variety of calming beverages you can choose from, such as oolong tea which contains an amino acid called L-theanine. This naturally occurring compound found in teas has been shown to aid sleep and relaxation and relieve feelings of tension, stress, and anxiety. Other standard warm drinks that may lower stress levels include robust and fragrant coffee and customised hot chocolate with spicy and creamy ingredients.
You should aim to have your warm drinks in a comfortable environment where you can rest and not have to keep busy. An excellent place to start is a quiet area where you can lie down, such as a couch, reading nook, or bed.
Journaling is one of the therapists’ most recommended wellness activities because of its many mental health benefits. Some benefits include helping you manage emotional stress and clear your mind.
When you’re in a state of stress, your mind may feel cluttered and occupied with worries and thoughts that keep you buckled down in stress. You could be dwelling on school, family, and work-related responsibilities, a heavy workload, event planning, or even social pressure to meet specific standards.
Journaling allows you to organise your thoughts by writing them down and reading them later to assess your situation from a new perspective. Doing this can help get negative thoughts out of your mind and transfer them onto the pages of your journal. It’s also a valuable way to track and monitor your mental health and life progress when you write down how you feel.
It could be an effective method to manage your stress if it’s caused by overthinking and ruminating where your mind is preoccupied with the same thoughts in an endless loop. In this way, a journal can help you understand what’s causing your underlying stress and negative thinking patterns.
Taking care of yourself through self-pampering is at the heart of every wellness activity. It’s self-care at its finest when you indulge in beautifying and relaxing tasks that make you feel good. In essence, self-pampering is about spoiling yourself and taking time out for special care and treatments.
You can try some of the more common self-pampering activities, such as getting a massage or visiting a chiropractor to reduce stress-related pain in the body’s nerves and muscles. Hot stone massages, as well as Swedish and Ayurvedic massages, are highly favoured choices for their softer and gentler methods. Deep tissue massages can be a valuable self-pampering method if you have muscle pain and tension caused by stress.
Another popular option for self-pampering is purchasing skincare and beauty products and applying them delicately to rejuvenate your skin. You can use moisturising face masks, soak in a bathtub filled with skin-softening soaps, or wash your hair with luxury shampoos and conditioners. The combination of using richly scented products and having refreshed skin before bedtime can trigger quality sleep if stress has affected your sleeping habits.
Engage in Exercise
It’s well-known that stress can have physiological effects on your body, particularly in the long run. It can lead to lower energy levels, poor sleep quality, increased risk of heart conditions, and weakened immune system.
As such, incorporating exercise into your self-care routine can help combat these effects on your body. Extensive research has shown that daily exercise can lift your mood, improve your mental health, and better regulate your heart. With this, your body is more capable of managing stress and may reduce the amount of stress you experience, too.
The exercise you do to manage your stress doesn’t have to be the intensive gym workouts you might not be keen to try. You have an option to try exercises to induce relaxation, such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates, that focus on slow, low-impact movements and stretching, coupled with proper breathing techniques. This also allows you to reconnect your mind and body, taking your mind off the factors causing your stress.
With life’s daily stressors taking a toll on you, self-care can be the solution to better stress management. It can be considered a form of secondary healthcare as it benefits your mental health by reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
The ideas about self-care mentioned above are meant to help you focus on relaxing, improving your sleep, and minimising the effects of stress on your physical and mental wellbeing. Drinking warm beverages, journaling, exercising, and self-pampering can be done as singular activities or incorporated into your self-care program.
No matter what option you choose to go with, treat your self-care regimen as an essential health benefit and do it with intention. You can take some time from your day to implement each step to manage your stress, and the payoff is your future wellbeing.