There are things in life that we need to do and things in life that we want to do. Self-care straddles the fence of both needs and wants. These are the wants that become necessities — we can survive without them, but we could drive ourselves mad if we don’t allow ourselves to have them. Sometimes, we need to satisfy our wants in order to feel better. With the stress and chaos of life getting the best of us, it’s important to reset and take care of ourselves. Here are five ways to show yourself (and your family) care and make a positive impact on your mental health.
A Night Out
Sometimes you need to let loose in order to find happiness and joy in a life that’s saddled with work and responsibilities. Even the busiest, most introverted homebodies need a night out from time to time. Nobody is handing out awards for the most dedicated partner or parent, so you won’t lose anything by heading out solo for the night. Instead, you’ll gain a lesson in self-worth. Schedule a night out with friends, a date with your partner, or a family outing. You can make it a family affair by enjoying a meal at a restaurant together, followed by a movie or miniature golf. Dining out is a nice treat for everyone and a night off from cooking and cleaning.
Everyone deserves a break. Besides eating out at a restaurant, you should occasionally hit the pause button on everything else. That could mean a day off from work, a night off from chores, a morning to catch up on sleep, a weekend trip, or a week-long vacation. Maybe it means sending the kids to friends’ homes for sleepovers to give yourself a night off from parenting. When you schedule a break, ensure you’re actually relaxing and not just working from home. You’ll feel refreshed after taking a breather.
“Workaholism” is a serious problem for many folks who don’t know when it’s time to call it quits for the night. Society has created an unhealthy culture of being busy, and it’s gotten out of control with self-sacrifices and burnout. Show yourself some care by setting boundaries at work and saying “no” to after-hours business. Many of us work long hours because we’re stressed about deadlines; but by allowing yourself time off work, you’re able to reduce stress and be more productive when you return.
A healthy life includes a balance of things that are good for your body, your wallet, and your soul. What is something that you’ve always wanted but never allowed yourself to have? Is it ice cream for dessert, a new pair of shoes, or tickets to a show or game? If you’re living a strict and regimented life, treat yourself to some indulgence. If you’re already living a self-indulgent life, consider reeling it in a bit so you can practice discipline with your finances and health.
If you’re suffering from pain, anxiety, or depression, then what may be considered “pampering” by others can actually become an essential solution for your health. Many people are turning to holistic methods, such as barefoot massage, stretching therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care to treat their health issues. However, while these options do provide relief from your symptoms, they may be costly if your insurance provider doesn’t cover them (and most plans don’t). A similar alternative that’s partially covered by Medicare is physical therapy, which can help seniors improve their mental health by treating pain or discomfort. Keep in mind that certain Medicare Advantage plans from providers like Aetna do include memberships to wellness programs. For younger individuals, look to your health plan to determine if any similar holistic methods are covered.
Another way you can treat yourself is to remove one chore from your seemingly endless to-do list. Does the car need washing and detailing? Take it to a local car wash. Could your lawn use some attention? Hire someone to cut the grass, which will cost you around $30 – $45 on average, depending on the size of your yard. And if your house needs cleaning, hire a service to give it some much-needed love.
Family activities might sound counterintuitive to self-care, but sometimes the best way to show yourself care is to spend quality time with the people you love the most. Families need bonding time away from their usual environments. You can practice a sport together to let off steam, get fit, and boost mental health. Basketball is a great option for everyone, and all it takes is a ball and a hoop in the driveway or backyard. What better way is there to get the family to put away their devices and exercise together in the fresh air? (Click here for a great list of indoor/outdoor games that you can do with your family!)
Self-care isn’t just about letting yourself live; it’s about doing what’s good for your well-being. Life can feel like a series of tasks, deadlines, and stressful situations — and sometimes you need a break from the grind to do what makes you happy. You’re not as busy as you think, so find the time to make self-care a priority.
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