How do you take care of yourself? Or maybe a better question is, do you take care of yourself, or does life just feel a little too busy? We want to show you 20 ways to use gratitude as self-care, so you can make time for yourself even on your busiest day.
Gratitude can be used as a practice of self-care as it allows us to keep ourselves in a positive mental space. Anyone who has been on an airplane has heard the same safety messages time and time again about how to keep not only yourself safe on a plane but everyone else on board with you. Buckle your seatbelt at all times and especially during turbulence. Do not bring out your large electronics during take-off. If you smoke in the bathroom, be prepared to break your bank as punishment.
These guidelines are ingrained in our brains, but in particular, we want to look a little closer at one: in case of an emergency, make sure your oxygen mask is on securely before helping those around you.
Why do they stress this point so fervently to us? By taking care of yourself first, you are then able to take care of those around you. You are not going to be able to help the people around you if you do not take care of yourself and make sure you have oxygen flowing. This is such a great analogy for life in general. If you are unable to take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of others. This is not selfish. This is necessary for your emotional, mental, and physical health.
We want to give you a list of our 20 favorite ways to practice self-care with an emphasis on gratitude:
Getting outside: nature allows us to disconnect and be grateful for fresh air and natural beauty.
- Exercise: the ability to move our bodies is such a gift and taking advantage of this gift will help us feel less stressed or anxious, with countless other benefits!
- Spend time with Friends: this year has taught us all to value precious time with those we love more than ever. Take a moment to think of someone you are grateful for, and then connect with them.
- Entertainment: Books and movies transport us to another world, giving us time to unplug our brains. Consider a book or movie you love and go enjoy it!
- Meditate: Meditation can be as simple as sitting in silence for a few minutes with your phone turned or taking a minute to breathe deeply. The importance of it is that it gives us time for just us. You can use a guided gratitude meditation to focus on what you have to be grateful for.
- Say No: If something does not serve you, remember that it is okay to say no! It does not make you a bad person, and if you have more energy to focus on what will serve you, it instead gives you something to be grateful for rather than focusing on a negative. Take a minute to appreciate yourself for standing up for what is best for you.
- Splurge a bit: Splurging does not always mean you are spending a ton of money to treat yourself! You can splurge on guac at a Mexican restaurant, but the point is you can splurge because you worked hard for that income, and celebrate your gratitude for that income by allowing yourself a splurge.
- Music: We have a daily joy of hearing music, and can use music to improve our moods. Music is self-care since there are so many different ways it can speak to us. Put on your favorite song, and dance or sing and find gratitude in movement or creativity.
- Clean: By cleaning up your home, car, or workspace, you are giving yourself a fresh place to thrive. A clean space will serve as a place for self-care and is a self-care practice that keeps on giving because you can appreciate every part of your space.
- Take care of your body: A long, hot shower, a lengthy stretch session, purchasing a massage - these are wonderful ways to look after your physical health and allow you to take action for yourself.
- Give yourself love: Give yourself 3 compliments. What are three things you love about yourself? You are so valued and worthy, and reminding yourself of this is a beautiful way to practice self-care.
- Wake up early: A few extra minutes in the morning allows for stillness. You can use this time to take care of something around the house, enjoy coffee in silence, or - our personal favorite - dive into your gratitude journal.
- Go for a drive: Getting in the car without a destination is an easy way to practice self-care. You are in tune with your favorite music, you aren’t scrolling through social media, and you can observe the beauty around you in parks, people, and the scenery. This is an excellent mental care disconnect and lets you appreciate the little things.
- Go for a walk: Similarly to exercise, you can use this time to get out of your head and enjoy the fresh air. Nature will undoubtedly give you a lot to appreciate.
- Sound sleep: Sleep is crucial to caring for yourself. Minimize distractions before you go to bed and avoid TV or your phone before bedtime. Better yet, try and lay down earlier than normal to approach REM a little faster. Sound sleep has a massive correlation to how you feel, and the better you feel, the more you can focus on your blessings.
- Eat something delicious: If you enjoy eating healthy, use a meal to fuel your body for its best self. You can also eat a treat to practice self-care, and treat yourself to something you may not normally eat! Find gratitude in the food you are savoring.
- Vacation: If a vacation is not in your budget, that is okay, too! You can take a day trip somewhere close by and change up the scenery or even to a new part of the city. You will find new things to appreciate by changing up the scenery.
- Laughter: Soothe your soul with a stand-up comedy routine, a funny TV show, or be goofy on your own. Whatever makes you laugh is incredible self-care, as it immediately boosts your mood.
- Play with a pet: Or volunteer at an animal shelter if you don't have a pet! Animals are such a gift. They offer friendship and unconditional love and help us tap into a deep sense of love that fuels a grateful heart.
- Gratitude Journaling: The gratitude journal is one of our favorite ways to practice self-care because it moves us into a grateful state. When we feel gratitude, we are taking care of our mental and emotional health.
Remember that self-care is not a one time thing in your life. It is something that you should be intentional about if you want to be the best version of yourself. Take care of yourself to better take care of others.
We are so blessed by the ability to take care of ourselves in so many unique ways, and we hope you are inspired to take action with this list of self-care practices.
Do you have any self-care practices you use as a part of your gratitude routine? Share them with us by commenting or email firstname.lastname@example.org.