This year has been a tough one and it’s only halfway over. We have had to change our routines and our priorities, which means some things have inevitably slipped through the cracks. For many of us, one of those things is self-care—a relic of a simpler time.
That’s why at Zeamo we’re making a conscious effort to #TakeCare during the month of August. We can’t care for others until we take care of ourselves, so let’s start there.
Americans spent an estimated 2.6 billion on self-care purchases in 2012 according to a report from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The numbers have only gone up since then as the self-care industry continues to boom. It might feel like if you’re not spending money, are you even practicing self-care? In addition to the monetary costs, self-care also requires valuable time and energy. This can be daunting—especially right now. The thing is, self-care should never feel like a burden or a chore (stress kind of defeats the point).
Here are 10 easy (and totally free!) ways to practice self-care today. Pull one of these from your metaphorical tool belt anytime life gets hard.
Look at photos, talk about it with a friend, or write it down (whatever gets you in the mood). Let yourself get a little lost reminiscing.
Trying to be productive during all waking hours is a lot of pressure. Give yourself a chunk of time each day devoted to being unproductive and stick to it.
Aromatherapy has the word “therapy” in it for a reason. Got a perfume or cologne you haven’t used in a while? (That working from home life.) Put it on. A favorite spice in the kitchen? Take a whiff. Stop to notice the smell of your coffee in the morning. This is self-care.
Our interpersonal connections are what make us feel good. Call or text a friend and tell them why you appreciate them.
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed or just stiff, stretching provides instant relief. Even if you’re in a rush, there is time for a few quick stretches. Stand up and try to touch your toes. Raise your arms high over your head. Slowly and gently roll your head from side to side. Stretching complete.
This can be anything, big or small. Decluttering your space declutters your mind. Maybe it’s something expired in the fridge, or an old t-shirt that no longer fits. Throw away (or compost!) the old food and donate the shirt. Feel the relief.
Flossing is underrated and under-appreciated. Only 40% of Americans floss every day, and at least 27% lie to their dentists about it. Need incentive? Treat it as an excuse to take a short work break during the day.
It’s the opposite of a to-do list. This is an easy way to thank yourself (that's not too cheesy) when you’re feeling burnt out. You have probably already accomplished more than you realize.
A deep breath is the ultimate reset button. How we breathe affects everything from our weight to our mood, so practice breathing deeply and with intention. Slow down enough to close your eyes and take one long deep breath in through your nose. Instant relaxation.
There is no one “correct” way to practice self-care. Ultimately, it is about doing whatever makes you feel good and being kind to yourself.