Stress is our body’s reaction to a challenge.
Everyone experiences challenges on different levels. We have various trigger points, some more than others, but no one is immune.
Despite our best efforts, there are external factors that we can’t control that can trigger the stress response.
Instead of being reactive, we can be proactive, when it comes to lowering stress levels.
A quick reminder - Do not get so caught up in meeting everyone else's needs that you neglect yourself.
Everyone knows we cannot pour from an empty cup.
That said, here are six self-care activities you can try (that won't cost you anything):
Go for a Walk
This one is a personal favorite.
15-30 minutes of walking does a lot to improve your well-being. You can take a quick lap around your neighborhood during your lunch break, or after getting home from work.
Either way, exercise is a tried and true self-care technique that comes with the bonus of health benefits.
I enjoy taking a brisk walk first thing in the morning or a relaxing stroll at the end of my workday.
Read a Book
Reading books is another great way to decompress and relieve stress. Local libraries and coffee shops have plenty of reading areas to enjoy a few hours of cozy reading.
Unlike watching television or browsing social media, reading requires your full attention. Meaning you can minimize distractions as you become fully immersed in the book.
I like to read for 30 minutes, using the kindle app on my iPad, right before falling asleep. Right now, I am reading Americanah for my monthly book club.
Sometimes it is helpful to be in a quiet place to gather your thoughts, especially when experiencing intense stress.
Transient self-isolation can help you do this: find an empty room at home or at work that's free from distractions and spend some time there alone.
When I worked at a hospital as a Clinical Pharmacist, I would escape to a quiet stairwell, when I needed some alone time to decompress.
Don't do anything during that time; contemplate anything that comes to your mind. Also, resist the temptation to go on your phone and scroll on social media.
By spending time with yourself you may find it easier to get answers to your most pressing questions at hand.
Have you ever considered keeping a journal?
Writing down your thoughts and feelings regularly is another great self-care technique that allows you to reflect or vent creatively.
You can even come back to old writings and learn about yourself at a particular moment in time.
As a full-time traveler, traveling with just a backpack, I can't afford to carry around a physical journal.
This is why I started digital journaling on my iPad. I always travel with it, I can access my journal across all my devices, and I have unlimited journaling space.
In addition to writing, drawing or coloring also does wonders for self-care. Take some paper and sketch what's on your mind.
If you are curious about digital journaling, check out this free 30-day digital journal and see if works for you.
Maybe try doing a 30-day journaling challenge using this digital daily journal.
Take a Warm Shower
Another self-care technique you can try is a nice, long shower. There's something very therapeutic about taking a shower. It's like cleansing for the body and mind all in one. Not to mention, you can get brilliant ideas and solutions to problems when you are taking a shower.
I enjoy taking showers when I need to clear my head because it works. I let the random thoughts flow in and out of my head without trying to control anything.
Listen to Music
Listening to music is another self-care activity that can get you through the day or a difficult moment.
Music has a way of evoking emotions we try to keep hidden in ourselves. But by letting them come to the forefront, we can detox and feel better afterward.
Got a favorite song you like to listen to? Then put on some headphones and go for it. You can combine this with taking a walk.
I have my favorite Spotify playlist filled with my favorite Bachata Ballads. It transports me back to when I used to go bachata dancing every weekend, pre-pandemic. It takes me right back to all of the positive emotions I experienced during that time.
Everyone needs outlets for channeling whatever they're feeling at a particular time to remain balanced.
Remember, the best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself.
So, the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, give these six self-care activities a try or, better yet, take a day to combine them all.
Consistent small actions or tiny habits often make the biggest impact.
Don't forget to check out this free 30-day digital journal and see if digital journaling works for you.