A regular self-care routine is an essential part of maintaining your physical and mental health. While it’s easy to put off our own needs when we have so many items on our to-do lists, taking the time to practice self-care makes it easier to achieve our goals over the long-term.
We all need some dedicated time away from our day-to-day responsibilities and stressors in order to feel recentered, restored, and ready to take on new challenges. Most of us are familiar with #selfcaresunday but what exactly is self-care? It’s the activities that help us feel physically and emotionally nourished, which looks a little different for each person.
What you do and when you choose to practice self-care is up to you, but many people like to set aside Sunday as a day dedicated to recharging before taking on the workweek. If you’re unsure what kinds of self-care activities are right for you, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Take a screen-free break
Whether we’re scrolling through our social feeds or rewatching a comforting TV show, many of us turn to screens when it’s time to relax — but they’re rarely the best option if we’re hoping to head into the week feeling well-rested.
Numerous studies have found links between screen time and depression. Most of us even know from our own experiences that when we finally “wake up” from spending hours down a Youtube rabbit hole or from comparing ourselves to Instagram strangers, we don’t exactly feel great. Spending at least part of your self-care Sunday screen-free will also allow you to be more present as you enjoy other activities, leaving you feeling much happier at the end of the day.
Prioritize your sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep should be a priority every day, but self-care Sunday is a prime time to reevaluate how your daily habits are impacting the quality of your sleep (and maybe even treat yourself to a nap if you haven’t been getting the sleep you need).
Poor sleep can lead to an increased risk of obesity, stroke, diabetes, and heart attack, not to mention it can have a big effect on how you feel mentally and physically each day. Consider cutting our sugar, caffeine, and screen time later in the day, all of which can disrupt your sleep. Alcohol can also make it more difficult to get a solid night’s rest, so consider unwinding on your self-care Sunday with an alcohol-free cocktail, rather than a glass of wine.
Getting outside into nature and enjoying some fresh air is a wonderful way to boost your mood and reduce stress on self-care Sunday. Spending time outside has been shown to help lower your blood pressure and heart rate, stimulate your immune system, and even help you sleep better.
The positive effects of time outside can be even more significant if you do a physical activity, such as hiking or biking, while soaking up the sun. Getting your heart rate up can promote the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Creative practices can help to take our minds off of day-to-day worries, as well as offer a welcome sense of achievement. Try drawing, playing an instrument, making candles or doing a craft. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece — instead, focus on finding an expressive outlet that feels fun and brings you a sense of peaceful flow.
On self-care Sunday, you could also try channelling your creativity into a baking project or mixing a beautiful non-alcoholic cocktail — the process of measuring the ingredients precisely and combining them carefully can feel almost meditative.