Self-Care Practices for the Mind, Body, and Soul
The importance of self-care has become painfully obvious in recent years, as the overwhelming amount of stress many people feel on the daily basis has become hard to handle and manage. Luckily, the stigma around mental health and how to support it has slowly been dying out, turning our focus on feeling better on all fronts: mentally, physically, and emotionally.
When even one aspect of these three big health pillars is impaired, there’s an increased risk for myriad mental and physical diseases as inflammation runs through the body. Stress is called a silent killer for a reason; it comes both, when you expect it and when you don’t, and then stays in your system, wreaking havoc from the background.
The chronic inflammation it causes has been linked to a variety of mental, physical, and emotional disorders, from anxiety and depression to cardiovascular disease and the disruption of your immune system. It’s crucial to implement self-care routines to promote health in all realms.
Self-Care Practices for the Mind
Even though all three pillars of health are intertwined, it’s important to focus on each area individually as well and work on those parts that need a bit more self-care. Here are some of the best self-care practices to feed your mind and promote mental health:
- Meditation – often promoted as one of the best possible self-care routines, meditation is scientifically proven to help lower stress levels and with it, decrease inflammation, help you go from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest mode, and support your overall health and wellbeing. Meditating can be often times difficult to start, so focus on only five minutes each day, slowly prolonging over time. And remember, meditation isn’t sitting cross-legged and fighting your thoughts away. It’s about accepting them and letting them pass by like clouds. It’s about focusing on your breath and staying in the moment.
- Mindfulness practices – mindfulness practices can be combined with meditation but they can also be practiced alone. They are simply ways of getting back into the present moment and paying attention to every little detail of your day. It can be as simple as noticing and acknowledging your fingers and focusing on all the little creases and skin folds. Just a quick action like that lowers your heart rate and brings your stress levels down.
- Breathing practices – another self-care routine that is closely linked to meditation and mindfulness, it’s a very basic and natural practice of tuning into your own inhales and exhales and allowing your body to relax. It’s known to boost your mood, increase energy levels, and help reduce your stress levels.
- Music – it’s no wonder that music can help heal and support you through tough times. Listening to music can improve your mood, elevate your energy levels, and help you nourish your mental health. So, the next time you find yourself blasting feel-good music through the speakers, know you’re practicing self-care.
- Journaling – many people find relaxation and relief when they put things on paper. Journaling practices are a self-care technique that isn’t a novelty but has recently been put under the spotlight as the ultimate self-care tool. If you’re someone who loves writing and feels good after letting their thoughts out, try grabbing a pen and a nice journal and write away.
Self-Care Practices for the Body
- Exercise – there’s nothing quite like exercise for the self-care of your physical body. Not only is it scientifically proven to boost your endorphins and literally make you a chirpier person, but it’s also beneficial to basically every part of your body. It promotes a healthier blood flow, bringing oxygen and nutrients to every cell, supports muscle growth and fat loss, and lubricates your joints, increasing their range of motion. It’s one of the best self-care practices you can do for your cardiovascular health and prevent the most common diseases of today: obesity and diabetes.
- Clean nutrition – and then there’s food. The ultimate self-care practice you need to fine tune to best fit your health goals and needs. It’s reflected on your physical body first, but it has a dawning effect on your mental and emotional health as well. Focus on cleaning up your diet from processed foods, sugars, and artificial ingredients, and add more nutrient-rich foods into your diet. Clean nutrition is the best tool to keep inflammation at bay and prevent many diseases that people suffer from nowadays.
- Massage – it might sound like a cliche, but regular massages can be one of the best self-care routines for your body. Not only do they feel good, but they also promote a healthier blood flow and improve the health of your muscles and joints, keeping them flexible and well-nourished. Massage therapy has also been linked to improving skin conditions, hypertension, and even symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
- Acupuncture – another self-care routine that goes much deeper than the actual physical aspect, acupuncture and acupressure are important tools from Chinese medicine that promote relaxation, pain relief, and even have vast therapeutic elements. Find a licensed and well-reviewed practitioner you can put your trust in as there are real needles involved.
- Infrared sauna – studies show the incredible health benefits of infrared saunas, promoting cardiovascular health and detoxing effects, improving lymphatic drainage and flushing out the toxins out of your system. We all have toxic build-up in our bodies, no matter how healthy we live, and it’s sometimes impossible to believe our liver can do it alone. We need that extra push that infrared saunas and other similar techniques can provide.
- Cryotherapy – another therapeutic treatment that became extremely popular in recent years, cryotherapy uses cold therapy to help decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and ease symptoms of many diseases, improving healing and treatment.
Self-Care Practices for the Soul
- Practice gratitude – feeling grateful does wonders for your emotional health. And once you start writing down things you’re grateful for, you’ll realize there’s way more than you think. Start with three things a day and get the big ones on the paper first. Then, once you start thinking about little things like a cup of warm coffee in the morning or the gentle breeze of AC on a hot, summer day, you’ll realize the world is filled with things to be grateful for.
- Make time for yourself – being alone can sometimes be the hardest thing you can do, but it’s crucial for your self-care. Spend some time with yourself, learn new things about yourself, and allow yourself to be truly you. There’s so much benefit from this type of self-care as you get closer to the real you.
- Spend time in nature – nature does amazing things for your soul. It can fill you up with gratitude to be alive, it can help you see how small your problems actually are in the vast scheme of things, and with it, it can help you see your role in this big world.
- Include prayer – if you’re a believer, prayer can be one of the greatest self-care techniques for your soul and with it, all other aspects of your health. Believing in the positive and that everything has a reason is giving you a sense of hope, a sense of purpose. By sending positive energy into the Universe, you will undoubtedly get it back. Whether you believe in God, another deity, or energy, it’s hard to ignore the incredibly powerful effect of positive thoughts and words.
- Write and speak affirmations – words can be extremely powerful and by giving them a positive and truthful connotation, you’re giving them weight. Words can have a strong influence on your mental, physical, and emotional health. Write up some positive and truthful affirmations you can be vocal with on a daily basis and feed your soul.
All of these self-care routines have powerful effects on all three areas: your mind, body, and soul. By practicing even one of them, you’re always affecting your overall health, wellbeing, and longevity. Practice self-care on a daily basis and find ways to include all of these routines into your schedule. Once you notice the benefits, you’ll realize how little it takes to change your life and focus on your mental, physical, and emotional health.
I have found my cancer journey to be a positive and profound transformational experience. I’m inspired to share my healing journey here, and trust you’ll find hope, encouragement and purpose as you discover the healing power that lies within you.