Making time to take care of yourself is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your overall health and well-being, yet self-care is something many of us neglect on a regular basis. With the pandemic, our stress levels have only increased, so that’s why it’s even more important to take some time to release stress and relax. Developing a self-care ritual can help you feel more resilient, happy, and healthy.
By taking care of yourself, you’re also better able to care for those around you. Self-care is something you do with the intention to rebalance and restore your inner resources. Keep reading for some ideas on how you can create a self-care ritual so you can feel your best.
Develop a Sleep Ritual
You likely already know the importance of sleep for maintaining psychological and physical health, yet you might be tempted to put it on the back burner when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Carving out some “me time” before you turn in for the night can help you unwind and let go of your worries, so you can get more restorative zzzs. Take a warm bath with a few drops of a relaxing essential oil, such as lavender. Listen to some relaxing music or a guided meditation to help your body and mind slow down. Dim the lights at least an hour before bed and avoid using any electronic devices—the blue light can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin, which signals that it’s time for sleep.
Take a Mindful Moment
Mindfulness means focusing on what’s happening in the present moment and developing an awareness of feelings and thoughts without attaching too much importance to them. People who practice mindfulness often report feeling less stressed and are able to think more clearly, according to a report in the Harvard Gazette. You can practice formal mindfulness meditation (if you’re not sure how to get started, check out the free guided practices offered by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center), or just take five minutes out of your day for a mindful moment. Check in with yourself, take a few deep breaths, and just notice your thoughts and feelings—it’s as simple as that.
Create a Journaling Ritual
Sometimes, you might not feel like talking to anyone about your concerns, thoughts, or problems, but keeping things locked inside can cause increased stress and tension. This can affect your body in a number of harmful ways over the long term, including suppressed immunity. Keeping a journal can be a beneficial way to process your thoughts and feelings, plan goals, and let go of stress and other issues that might be bothering you. Not only can journaling be a beneficial form of self-care, but it may also even improve your physical health. A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that 76% of people who wrote down their feelings and worries experienced complete healing after having a medically necessary biopsy, as opposed to 42% in the control group.
Plan Your Weekly Meals
We all know that eating right and making healthier food choices is beneficial for our health, but time constraints and stress might lead us down the wrong nutritional road at times. Making a weekly meal plan can help take the stress out of daily meal planning and help you make healthier choices. The ScriptSave WellRx Grocery Guidance tool can help you make the best choices for your—and your family’s—health and wellness goals by offering instant insight on the foods in your pantry or on grocery shelves. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up here, and then use the tool right on our website or download the ScriptSave WellRx app to get started.
Start a Tea Ritual
When you feel rushed or anxious, it’s a good idea to slow down and take a moment for yourself. A tea ritual means taking a time out to just be. It doesn’t have to be as involved as the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, but it’s based on similar concepts such as mindfully preparing your tea and stopping all other activities as you focus on the enjoyment of your cup of tea. That means ignoring your devices and other distractions. Try matcha, which is a type of powdered green tea that’s high in EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant believed to have cancer-fighting properties.
A self-care ritual doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming; even taking small steps toward self-care can reap important benefits!
Stacy Mosel, LMSW, is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, and substance abuse specialist. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she continued her studies at New York University, earning a Master of Social Work degree in 2002. She has extensive training in child and family therapy and in the identification and treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Currently, she is focusing on writing in the fields of mental health and addictions, drawing on her prior experiences as an employee assistance program counselor, individual and family therapist, and assistant director of a child and family services agency.