Mental health is gaining momentum and is being talked about extensively, thanks to social media and other platforms that provide a suitable space for such discussions. Stress and work tension are two of the most common problems which have negative long-term effects on our bodies. These include sleep problems, constant fatigue, and overall health deterioration. Thus, it’s crucial to practice self-care, which is one of the many ways to combat stress. 

Self-care is more often than not, equated to lavish splurges on manicures/pedicures, professional massages, and fancy spas. However, this is not what self-care is limited to. There are quite a few things on this carefully curated list for you to relax after work hours. The best part? All of them are either free or very low cost!

Self-care can be categorized into two broad categories- physical and emotional. Let’s look at each of them in detail.

Physical Self-care

Exercise

There are countless benefits to exercising. From increased oxygen intake and better air circulation to burning calories and fat, exercising has a plethora of health benefits. There’s also scientific proof that exercise has positive effects on your mental health. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to do a full-blown workout. Going for a walk or a jog can be equally beneficial in that case. Your muscles need to move from time to time. They are bound to get rigid and cause body pain otherwise. Don’t hesitate to start small, and remember that consistency is key. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, try to exercise or walk every day. 

Sleep

Getting adequate quality sleep is essential for a happy and healthy life. Going to bed late and waking up late has become the new normal now and people stay up past midnight, thanks to inconsistent sleeping patterns. Making sleep your priority can help you live a longer and healthier life. 

Make sure you don’t look at screens before bedtime and wear comfortable clothes to bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, try making your room quieter and darker and put on some white noise (raindrops or fireplace or ocean sounds). Some people also take a hot bath or a shower right before they go to bed for a sounder sleep! 

Food and Fluids

People often binge-eat when they’re stressed. The worst part? They binge on unhealthy snacks which can have seriously harmful effects on the body. Try to have a balanced diet

There are a lot of dieticians who can customize and prepare a diet plan for you. Consume enough vitamin B, which can be found in whole grains, dairy products, etc., and Vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits. Whenever you crave a snack, opt for chopped up fruits, they’re equally delicious!

Emotional Self-care

Meditate

Meditation has a series of physical and mental health benefits. It reduces your stress levels, improves sleep schedule, and is also known to alleviate anxiety and depression. It’s very easy to do even if you have a  busy schedule. Spare 10 minutes in the morning every day to make your day at least 10 times better. 

Meditating before going to bed can help you fall asleep faster too. If you have trouble focusing during meditation, just concentrate on your breathing – how you inhale and exhale.

Read

Grabbing your favorite book and cozying up in your bed can instantly improve your mood. Some people have a habit of reading when they’re taking a bath, which can be extremely relaxing as well. If you’re not a reader, it just means that you haven’t come across a book that appeals to you yet. Start small and get into the habit of reading. You’ll discover that it’s a therapeutic and immersive experience!

Socialize

Sharing your feelings with your close friends and family can instantly reduce the intensity of the overwhelming emotions that you have. Even if you don’t arrive at a definitive solution, you’ll feel better after just talking about it. Go out for a cup of coffee with a friend or a nice relaxing dinner with your partner! 

Digital detox

All of us spend a significant amount of time on social media. So much so that it has become the only thing we do during our free time. Taking time off of social media can have some highly noticeable changes in your moods. Spend no more than an hour on social media. If everything feels stressful, stay away from social media for a week or more. 

This can contribute immensely to your emotional well being. There are various pieces of research on the time people spend on social media, how much it affects them, and how beneficial a digital detox is. 

Journaling

When your thoughts seem too cluttered, writing them down can help bring you so much clarity and improve your thought process. If you’re feeling sad, happy, overwhelmed, or stressed, write it down. Journaling can significantly improve your mood and de-clutter your mind. Journals can also act as friends for introverted people, and help with self-introspection.

Miscellaneous Self-care Practices

Here are some things to do when you’re feeling a little stressed and want to relax and unwind!

  • Make DIY face masks at home that rejuvenate your skin. You don’t have to spend a fortune in buying face masks that ultimately use the same things you find in your home. Here are some homemade DIY face masks you can try.
  • Cozying up on your couch and putting on your favorite heartwarming movie/show can put you in a better mood instantly. You can also have karaoke nights with your family to have some fun. Here’s a list of heartwarming movies that you can watch.
  • Going out with your family on picnics can be an amazing alternative to visiting an expensive resort. It can help you cut down on costs and is guaranteed to help brighten your mood.

Self-care enables you to replenish physical and emotional energy to help you focus better on your job, family, etc. and money should not be a hindrance to it. However, if you do want to treat yourself to expensive self-care products and services, you can avail the instant shopping loans provided by EarlySalary and repay them whenever you can, in easy installments!

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