Self-Care Practices for a Balanced Life

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once referred to humans as “clever beasts” who arrogantly thought they invented knowing.

And can we blame him?

In the rush of personal events and under the crush of daily consciousness, we forget the big picture. We get stuck, sucked into the vortex of overthinking, relying on imaginary concepts that lead us nowhere. 

We forget to prioritize self-care. Self-care isn’t just about treating yourself to spa days—although that can be wonderful too! It encompasses a range of habits that nourish your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore various self-care pastimes that can help you relax, rejuvenate, and achieve a harmonious life.

1. Nature Walks

Spending time in nature is linked to lower cortisol, blood pressure, and heart rates, as well as high cognitive capability. It reduces stress by light years! 

And it is proven in the anecdotes of our forbears too. 

The American naturalist Henry Thoreau, who advocated for a life off the beaten path, once said, “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” 

Take walks! 

Use the bounty of parks, forest trails, and beaches to reconnect with the natural world.  

2. Reading a Book

Reading is a wonderful way to escape into different worlds, gain knowledge, and unwind. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or a self-help book, reading can be a therapeutic experience.

Reading as an adult works parallel to the concept of imaginative play that children exercise in the playground/playroom when role-playing in a world that is still too grown-up for them. 

From historical fiction to travel books, the exercise helps your mind slow down, introspect, and take stock of your role in this world. You can compare yourself to people or characters you read about, analyze the little everyday acts that make each other human, and gain a calm acceptance of our place in society.  

Dive into the page! 

3. Therapy and Counseling

Seeking professional therapy or counseling is a proactive way to address mental health concerns and gain valuable insights into your well-being.

Many of us follow the secretive philosophy of keeping our problems to ourselves; our tortured minds regress to the avoidant “It is what it is!” Instead of this stiff resistance to outside help, we could break our silent habit and share the problem with a professional who is willing to take our inner monologue and shape it into real-life problem-solving. 

And even if you cannot commit to a regular visit, it always helps to unload the existential burdens! 

4. Power Naps

Short naps, ideally around 20-30 minutes, can boost your energy and productivity, helping you feel refreshed during the day. 

Despite it only being a century since the production line invention by Henry Ford, the human body is still not completely adapted to the industrial work week. The truth is that, once in a while, we need the in-between hours to ourselves. We need to shut down for a few minutes so we can power through the rest of the day!   

Power down to power up! 

5. Spa Days

A spa day offers not only physical relaxation but also mental rejuvenation. Massages, facials, and hydrotherapy treatments can melt away stress.

While it may seem like a cliche, the process of being pampered by professionals for a whole day actually does wonders for your physical and mental health.

Spend good money at the nearest spa at least once a month! 

6. Sports sessions with Friends

Engaging in physical activities like sports or group exercises with friends promotes social interaction and physical fitness, doubling as a stress reliever.

Team sports tend to improve social health too—a game of five-a-side football gets you to interact, sync, and celebrate with close friends.

Grab a ball and go find that turf! 

7. Gardening in the Outdoors 

Gardening allows you to connect with the earth, reduce stress, and enjoy the satisfaction of nurturing plants and watching them flourish.

While gardening would require a little more research than other hobbies, the end result’s satisfaction is difficult to top. Watching a plant grow from seedling to fully flowering is one of life’s greatest pleasures!

Twiddle that green thumb!  

8. Go on a Social Media Detox 

Taking breaks from social media can reduce information overload, decrease stress, and improve your overall mental well-being. 

You don’t need to know what everyone is up to! You don’t need to know what influencers are buying or what new tourist spots your friends are visiting! That FOMO can backfire and eat into your mental health! What good is it to covet your neighbor’s new, bedazzled maxi skirt, the one she’s pirouetting with, on Instagram? 

Stop the doomscrolling! 

9. Let Your Artistic Expression Out 

People often find their jobs restrictive in terms of daily creativity. 

While it does put bread on the table, many jobs can be a matter of timely production, budget calculations, conversion rations, and the like—with the occasional awkward email or two.   

We want to expand. We want to funnel some of our energy into other endeavors—useful art that lets your consciousness expand to some new avenue. That’s why studies have shown therapeutic results from weekly creative activities like writing, painting, drawing, crafting, or dancing.

The evolution of our prefrontal cortex entails that we are capable of multiple talents, processing different packets of information, and coordinating our limbs and thoughts with precision to create seminal works of art.  

People evolved to do a lot more than just a 9 to 5!  

10. Volunteering for Community Events 

We are social animals.

We feed off each other’s energy. Several studies show that interacting and working in a community does wonders for positive mental health. You can take this step forward in monthly community events—whether it is a festival, political activism, a food drive, homeless outreach, or a cleanup.  

Giving back to your community through volunteer work can be profoundly fulfilling and offer a sense of purpose.

11. Cooking and Baking

Just like practicing daily art (Point 9), the act of cooking can relax your mind. 

The culinary arts have always given busy homebodies that feeling of accomplishment, belonging, and family. Make a creative lasagna dish. Dabble in Mexican soft tacos with mince and guacamole. Or prepare cocoa powder with buttery dough for a new batch of cookies.  

Preparing and savoring homemade meals can be a comforting self-care activity.

12. Travel and Exploration

An extension of point 1 (Nature Walks) is an actual vacation. 

Exploring new places, even if they’re nearby, can refresh your perspective and provide a break from routine. Look up a travel website. Contact a travel agency and ask for their best packages. Or just pick up a backpack and go to the nearest camping/trekking destination near your city.

Any break from the normal, citified routine can save your zen! 

Can We Truly Help Ourselves? Yes! 

Self-care practices are diverse, reflecting the unique needs and preferences of individuals. Incorporating a variety of these pastimes into your life can help you achieve balance and well-being. 

Remember that self-care is not a luxury; it’s an essential aspect of maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health. So, indulge in the activities that resonate with you and make self-care a priority in your daily life.

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