Self-care is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. When you have opportunities for self-reflection, and self-love, it’s easier to keep life in balance and your head on straight. Moreover, we believe that everyone deserves time to focus on themselves.
However, despite understanding how important self-care is for our well-being, many of us spend our limited free time fiddling around on phones or computers instead of taking an intentional approach to relaxation and refueling.
Turn Off the TV • Self-care Activities You Need to Know
How Do You Spend Your Downtime?
Spending our downtime on passive activities is counterproductive. While lounging in front of the TV is a form of rest, it doesn’t occupy our full attention. That means our minds can still wander to the stresses of the day. Quartz suggests that it’s leisure, not rest, that truly relaxes us. Compared to rest, which is passive, leisure is active and requires our full attention.
The result, Quartz explains, is that “we take a break from busyness, and all thoughts of work and demands are abandoned … [it] recharges us, and reduces our overall level of exhaustion.”
The next time you’re in need of some quality relaxation, don’t plop yourself in front of a screen. Instead, engage in one of these wellness-boosting self-care activities.
Relax Your Muscles
Stress isn’t only a mental symptom. When you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed, tension builds in your muscles. If you don’t make an effort to release the tension through relaxation, the pain and the stress only increase. The stressed-out among us aren’t the only ones who benefit from muscle relaxation. People who are active or work with their bodies must also pay their muscles attention to avoid injury and chronic pain.
We can’t all afford regular professional massages, but there are things you can do at home to relax your muscles. Try progressive muscle relaxation, a technique where you flex and relax each muscle in your body to release tension. Or, treat yourself to massages at home; trade massages with a partner or pamper yourself with a DIY foot massage. The importance of caring for your feet can’t be overstated; without healthy feet, it’s harder to live an active, independent life. The Theraflow Large Dual Foot Massager Roller is a great, affordable massager if you want to upgrade from hands-on foot massage but can’t afford a high-end massager.
Go for a Long Walk
Taking a stroll is more than a way to get in your daily steps. Walking can also be a form of meditation. The key is to not “mentally check out,” as Mindful puts it, but rather to focus your thoughts on the physical sensations you experience while walking and on the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural environment.
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By keeping your thoughts focused, meditative walking prevents your mind from drifting to your to-do list, negative ruminations, or any other source of stress. You may find it difficult to practice meditative walking for more than a few minutes at first, but with time it will feel like second nature.
Take a Class
Personal growth is a powerful thing. When we’re learning and doing new things, we gain confidence in our abilities and our worth. And when you’re challenged with a new skill, there’s no room in your mind for negative thinking. Taking a class is an excellent way to learn a new skill.
While it’s possible to self-teach many skills, a structured environment helps us stay motivated. A class doesn’t have to mean an academic or technical class; you can take a fitness class, attend a DIY workshop, or take lessons in just about anything else you’re interested in.
It’s tempting to spend evenings vegging out in front of a screen. It’s free, convenient, and doesn’t require you to step outside your comfort zone. But the truth is, passive rest isn’t good at relaxing you. When you need quality relaxation and self-care, turn to leisure, not your TV.