Simple self care practices to help you navigate depression, or stress...

Self care has been a buzzword and gaining traction throughout the years, this is the practice of taking care of oneself in whatever way one sees fit. There are no limits, it could be as simple as making yourself a cup of tea after a long day, choosing to sleep in all day to get re-energised, breaking out of a toxic relationship, to just simply choosing not to participate in things that will drain your energy. One of my favourite poets Audre Lorde put it perfectly in her quote on self care when she said, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." Below are some simple acts of self care that you can practice, starting today, or whenever.

Self care ideas for the mind

  • Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.

  • Punctuate your day with a mini-meditation with one minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole.

  • Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.

  • Do a mini-declutter. Recycle three things from your wardrobe that you don’t love or regularly wear.

  • Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bings of social media and email.

  • Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just talking to a stranger at the bus stop.

  • Edit your social media feeds, and take out any negative people. You can just “mute” them; you don’t have to delete them.

  • Clean your space.

Self care ideas for your body

  • Run (or walk, depending on your current physical health) for a few minutes. Or go up and down the stairs three times.

  • Narrow your food choices. Pick two healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and rotate for the week.

  • Activate your self-soothing system. Stroke your own arm, or if that feels too weird, moisturize.

  • Get to know yourself intimately. Look lovingly and without judgment at yourself naked. (Use a mirror to make sure you get to know all of you!)

  • Make one small change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water each day, or have an extra portion of veggies each meal.

  • Give your body a treat. Pick something from your wardrobe that feels great next to your skin.

  • Be still. Sit somewhere green, and be quiet for a few minutes.

Self care for the soul

  • Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, or pick up an extra carton of milk for a neighbor.

  • Check in with your emotions. Sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling.

  • Write out your thoughts. Go for fifteen minutes on anything bothering you. Then let it go as you burn or bin the paper.

  • Choose who you spend your time with today. Hang out with “Radiators” who emit enthusiasm and positivity, and not “Drains” whose pessimism and negativity robs energy.

Do remember that self care needs to be consistent, and it can be the smallest things that shift your energy and lift your spirits. If you are suffering or suspecting depression please seek professional help, these are just complimentary practices that can help you cope with your everyday life, and help you to create holistic habits.