Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs in order to prevent burn-out, fatigue, and other health problems is the goal of self-care.

Self-care is especially important when you’re caring for others 24 hours a day. If you’ve got small children or have an aging parent living with you, you’ve likely felt the impact of always being on call. It takes a toll.

Small things add up to big benefits

With a little practice at paying attention to yourself and your own needs, you can learn when and how to re-energize. Experts say committing to “one radical act of self-care every day” makes a big difference in your mindset and your overall health. Here are a dozen self-care tips to get you started:

  1. Get adequate rest and nutrition. When your body is depleted, your risk of burn-out and illness runs high.
  2. Move. Get up from your desk. Go for a walk. Dance. Exercise increases serotonin and improves your mood and energy.
  3. Follow up on your own medical care. Caregivers who are constantly tending to the needs of others tend to ignore their own healthcare needs.
  4. Drink water. Hydration is a significant but often ignored key to wellness.
  5. Get out into nature. There is serenity in nature. Enjoy the beauty of your surroundings — even better, go for a walk or a hike.
  6. Meditate or pray. Try sitting in stillness and quiet even for just one minute to start.
  7. Write in a journal. Write a gratitude list. Practicing gratitude shifts your mindset from one of stress, scarcity, and worry to one of abundance and thankfulness.
  8. Do something creative. Release your inner artist, even if it’s into a coloring book.
  9. Laugh. Look for opportunities to laugh. Humor goes a long way.
  10. Volunteer. Volunteering makes you feel good and gives you the benefit of connection.
  11. Spend time connecting with community. Be with people who listen and make you feel whole and safe.
  12. Speak up for yourself. Be your own advocate. As you get to know your needs, this will become easier.

Find out what works for you. Sometimes, what you eliminate from your life is just as effective as what you do.

When you feel the most stress, take a minute to find out why. Is there something happening that you can control? Create a “no” list of whatever causes added stress: no phone at the table, no checking email at night, no multi-tasking while you make dinner, no talk radio on the way to school.

A Whole Health Coach can help you discover what you need

Your self-care activities shouldn’t be forced — don’t take up running if you hate to run. Take this list and try something. Pause, and pay attention to how the activity makes you feel. Then find ways to incorporate self-care activities into your daily life.

Vera coaches can help you create an action plan around self-care. We’ll encourage you to find activities that will energize you and the time to do them. If you haven’t tried coaching yet, give it a try. Take this small step toward taking care of yourself and watch for the positive effects on your relationships, work, and health.

Melanie Dockery, Health Coach

Melanie is passionate about helping people make lasting health behavior changes, enjoys celebrating achievements and loves bringing out the best in others. Read more posts by Melanie Dockery, Health Coach

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