10 Easy Self Care Tips To Brighten Your Day
Are you feeling stressed out, strung out or just having a downright sucky day?
Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.
In this post, I’m going to share with you 10 Easy Self Care Tips that you can start using straight away to put a smile back on your face, brighten your day and elevate your mood.
1) Embrace Your Inner Child
During a pretty intense session with a therapist, I was introduced to the concept of my inner child. She asked me to sit facing a blank chair and pretend that I was speaking to myself as a kid. It was a truly revealing experience.
Now, I’m not much into that kind of psychobabble or New-Agey crap. (Does anyone say that anymore?) Nevertheless, she made a great point.
Within all of us, there is the person that we used to be.
Almost every happy adult I have ever met says that they still feel like a child at heart, my mum being a great example of this.
When it comes to finances, education, work and the like, she is 100% focused, mature and ready for anything. Catch her at home, talking about unicorns and dragons or playing with her grandchildren and you can see the inner child in her eyes.
Taking time to embrace my own inner child has been one of the most rewarding tips I took away from therapy and my own self care practice.
Whether it’s buying yourself an ice cream, kicking the leaves or playing in the snow, make sure you take the time to be a kid and just have fun without strings attached and worries dragging you down.
2) Practice Mindfulness
How often do we go about our daily tasks without being consciously aware of what we’re doing?
We complete household chores, drive to work and even eat without really focusing on the experience of what it is that is actually happening.
Through this, we can often miss the beauty of small moments of awareness that remind us what life is truly about.
I started practising meditation and mindfulness about three or four years ago – though I have been far from consistent. At first, I found it difficult to keep my mind focused on seemingly menial tasks. But, once I became fully aware of the sensations, thoughts and feelings that I had towards something as simple as washing my dishes, I unlocked a brand new sense of happiness in the small stuff.
Try listening to the sounds of the city, feeling the sensation of warm water as you wash your dishes or even the simple, smooth movements of making your bed in the morning.
I have no doubt that, over time, you will become surprised by the little pleasures that you are missing out on every day by letting your mind distract you with thoughts which come and go, but ultimately don’t matter. I know I was.
(Plus, mindfulness has all the benefits of meditation, with none of the stigma surrounding it!)
3) Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone is killing you!!!
Well, not literally, but figuratively it is.
Not too long ago, I suffered massively from general and social anxiety. It got so bad that I used to hide in the bathrooms of my college during the two hour break between some of my classes. I eventually began to get over my anxieties by pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone.
Now, you may not be suffering from anxiety, but I can almost guarantee that you’re letting your comfort zone control you.
When was the last time that you approached that cute guy or girl at the bar? When was the last time you tried a new hobby or sport?
Even the most confident people in the world stay in their own comfort zones.
The happiest ones, however, are the ones that are getting out there and trying new things.
I used to wear weird hats which would constantly draw attention to me. Granted, part of me definitely did it for the attention, but it also pushed me out of my comfort zone.
There are dozens of things you can do to expand your comfort zone.
- Go out and lie down in public somewhere for a few minutes;
- Wear your clothes inside out;
- Make eye contact with a stranger;
- Treat yourself to a restaurant dinner on your own;
Just do something that scares you. Over time, you will realise that most people aren’t watching you or they wish that they had the freedom that you do.
A sense of freedom from the opinions of the world that comes from a wide comfort zone is truly exhilarating.
A while back, I saw this crazy video on YouTube of a cancer support group. There was only one rule: everyone had to laugh as much as possible. The pseudoscientific reason for this was that laughter had some form of curative effect on the body. In other words, they literally believed that laughter was the best medicine.
Now, obviously this was not the case but it did get me and, apparently many others, thinking. This theory obviously didn’t come from nowhere.
It turns out that laughter actually has a number of positive effects on both the body and mind. These effects include:
- Relaxing the body
- Boosting the immune system
- Anger reduction
- Endorphin production
- And much more…
So, taking ten minutes or so every day to laugh is one of the most unconventional, but oddly effectively self care tips I’ve ever read about and tried.
Side note: according to a BBC article on this phenomenon, slapstick comedies(e.g. Mr. Bean) or situational comedies (e.g. Friends) seem to work best for this. Congratulations, you now have your new excuse to binge watch Friends on Netflix!
I spend time as often as possible with friends I know will make me laugh. I also love to catch the occasional comedy special on Netflix – thank you, Dave Chappelle!
5) Spending Time With Loved Ones
One of the very easiest self care tips I can think of just quality time with my loved.
I’ve been extremely lucky over the last couple of years to have made some amazing friends. I know that, at any time, I can count on these friends to put me in a better mood. I’m also blessed to be closer to my family than ever before.
Whether we go out for drinks, coffee, dinner or a movie, it’s always a great time and I’ve made some amazing memories with my family and friends – who are now my extended family.
Life is always going to be better when you have someone to share it with. So, whether it’s friends, family, your significant other or just spending time with a beloved pet, take some time and share it with someone you love.
Try and spend time with your loved ones as much as possible, but at the very least try and spend some time with them at least once a week.
6) Work Towards A Goal
This tip really resonates with me!
I’m a huge believer in setting goals and working towards achieving them every single day.
What do you want to achieve this year? This month? This week? Today?
Whether it’s to lose 5lbs, get a date or go on holiday, no goal is too big, too small or too weird. Once you’ve got your goal – or goals – take immediate action today and move one step closer.
If you want to score a date, maybe go out to a bar and make it a goal to talk to five girls or five guys. If you want to lose weight, you could start cutting unhealthy eating habits from your life. Or, if you wanted to go on holiday to Barbados, you could start comparing holiday packages, making enquiries or working out a budget to get you overseas and tanning on a beautiful, white, sandy beach.
Even taking a single small step towards a goal is going to put you in a better mood. It’s far better than just thinking about your goals or looking at that bucketlist pinned to your notice board.
Do something today!
You’ll feel better for it.
Plus, as an added bonus, once you’ve taken one step, you’ll probably want to take another. After a few steps in the right direction, you’ll have momentum. Once you have momentum, over time you’ll get that snowballing effect until, one day, before you even know it, you’ve achieved your goal!
7) Create A Stress List and Cross Something Off Of It
This is a different approach to Number 6 above.
If you feel like you can’t take steps toward something at the moment, then maybe you can take steps away from it. I’ve done this a few times when I start to feel overwhelmed with stress and anxiety.
I stop, take a deep breath and then write down everything that stresses me out. For example:
- Untidy room
- Messy flatmates
- Coursework deadline looming
- Need to pay rent
- Need to pay off credit card
I would advise you write down even the smallest things which are stressing you out as this will be your key to conquering stress.
Once you’ve got your list of ten, twenty or even over a hundred stressful stimuli, look through your list and find one that you can easily cross off today.
In my example list above, it could be tidying my room. Once that’s done, there is a little less stress in my life. On top of that though, I feel like I’ve made positive progress and the snowballing towards a stress-free life begins.
I can call a flat meeting with my flatmates to convey to them that it is important that we keep our flat clean. I can write the first hundred or so words of my coursework assignment and make progress on that. Or I can book overtime at work so that I can pay my rent or pay off my credit card.
Now, I know that conquering stress is nowhere near as simple as that, but it’s a step in the right direction: away from stress and towards happiness.
8) Walk Without Headphones
When I was working to overcome my social anxiety, this was a massive turning point for me. I began to realise that I was wearing my headphones everywhere because it gave me an excuse to not engage with the world.
So, I started forcing myself to walk around without headphones on. Not only did I start to connect more with those around, I also started to reconnect with my environment.
Whether it was a walk in the park or a walk through the city, I found myself being much more mindful without the distraction of Audible or Spotify Premium.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do to take of ourselves is to reconnect with the world.
This is a simple tip to start reconnecting in a meaningful way. You never know what you could have missed because you had your earphones plugged in.
Whether it’s the weirdly soothing sound of city streets, bird song or a stress musician singing, you can start to feel connected to your environment.
Combined with mindfulness, this is one of the most powerful self care tips I have to offer.
Give it a try!
Star jumps. Squats. Pushups. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just get your body moving.
With the endorphin release from working out, you’ll feel better immediately and it barely takes any time at all.
Try to do ten to thirty minutes of exercise in the morning – whatever you can work into your schedule. Or maybe you can hit the gym after work or go for a run with the dog. Yoga anyone?
One of the major factors I attribute to how I was able to beat depression was working out hard and often. I loved the way it made me feel, especially about myself.
The bottom line is, if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.
10) Be Grateful
This is the big one!
I honestly wish that I spent more time every day just being grateful. But maybe that would just take the magic of my moments of gratitude away.
Taking time to be grateful for my mum and dad, my amazing friends, my siblings, my life and simply being alive fill me with an unbelievable feeling of joy.
Gratitude has never failed to lift me out of a dark mood.
Make a list of things that you’re grateful for and just stay with that feeling, that emotion of gratitude.
So many people attribute their amazing lives to this simple concept. There has to be at least something to it.
So, why not give it a try today and experience gratitude for something in your life?
Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the self care tips out there. There are hundreds of simple things you can do every single day to bring joy into your life.
What’s your favourite self care tip? Is it something that wasn’t on the list?
Let me hear about it in the comments below or you can always reach me on social media.
Have an amazing day!