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Self-care: Taking time for yourself

Taking time to care for ourselves can be among the first things we throw out the window when we’re busy. But research suggests that self-care is crucial to emotional health and well-being. Not taking time for ourselves impacts how we feel, think, and act. Here is a list of just some of the everyday things you can do to care for yourself! Try some or create your own personalized list.

1. Take three deep breaths.

Focus on expanding your stomach during the inhale, hold for a brief moment, and let it all out.

2. Stretch

Release some of the tension built up in your hands, jaw, legs, and shoulders that you’ve been carrying around all day.

3. Buy a magazine.

Instead of grabbing chocolate or a candy bar in the checkout line, choose a magazine that sparks your interest.

4. Use heat.

Take a bath or shower. Incorporate a stress-busting scent like lavender or eucalyptus.

5. Take a break from social media.

Instead of scrolling through social media, spend five, 10, or 15 minutes practicing idea #1. Your news feed will be there when you get back!

6. Go for a walk.

Get moving even for 10 minutes.

7. Put on your favorite song.

Listening to music has been linked to lower stress levels and can help in treatment of anxiety and depression.

8. Drink a glass of cold water.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

9. Put your legs up the wall.

Lay on your back using the ground, bed, or couch as support. Elevating your legs gives your heart a break from pushing all that blood to your toes. Note: Talk with your doctor if you have any physical conditions.

10. Find a joke.

Laughter is the best medicine.

11. Write.

Take 15 minutes to write down whatever comes to your mind without editing or thinking too much. Afterwards, tear the paper up before reading.

12. Use guided imagery.

Close your eyes and think about your favorite vacation spot. Focus on recreating as much detail as possible. Or, pull up a relaxing scene on your computer or cell phone.

13. Find something to look forward to.

Is it an upcoming event in your life or a goal you want to achieve? Think as small or as grand as you’d like.

14. Eat something green.

Choose nutrient-dense, wholesome foods. Your body will thank you.

15. Reach out to a friend or family member.

Call, visit, or text anyone who makes you smile.