Isopure Your Self-Care Starter Kit
 

Your Self-Care Starter Kit

by Amy Schlinger

In case you haven’t heard, self-care is the newest trending topic in wellness—and for good reason!

 

In essence, self-care means doing things to take care of your physical and mental health. And according to the National Institute of Mental Health, it can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illnesses, and increase your energy levels. Even small daily doses of self-care can have a huge impact on your mental health and life overall.

 

“The key with self-care is to find practices that work for you and make you feel good, while also understanding that one size does not fit all,” explains Rachel Goldman, Ph.D, F.T.O.S., a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor for the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.

 

“For example, for some, taking a bubble bath can be relaxing and allow individuals to be present. But for others, they might find themselves with racing thoughts about other things, which would make that particular experience stressful.” (If that sounds like you, Goldman suggests trying a short run instead.)

 

To help get you started with a couple of self-care practices that might be right for you, we asked select experts for their best suggestions for easy ways to practice self-care at home. Whether you’re new to self-care or a seasoned wellness aficionado, read on to learn more about the various ways you could benefit.

 
 

Get your exercise in
 

The connection between exercise and improved mood (and reduced stress) is well established by research, so whether you’ve got all afternoon or just 30 minutes, be sure you’re dedicating time every day to some form of meaningful physical movement or exercise.

 

“This will increase endorphins, which are hormones secreted in the brain that help make the body feel better,” says Tim Flynn, a sixth-degree black belt and the owner of Kato Karate in Mankato, MN. “I like to exercise in the morning to help get my mind in a positive state, so that I am ready to face any challenges the day might bring.”
 

 

Create a routine
 

Routines tend to help us as individuals find some order in our daily schedule, which can help ease anxieties and overwhelming feelings. “It’s important to have a routine that focuses on what I call the key health behaviors: sleep, mealtimes, hydration, movement, and stress management,” says Dr. Goldman

 

“I also recommend that part of this routine be something that relaxes you, and that you do it first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed,” Goldman says. “This is multi-purposeful, as it will help set the tone of the day and encourage good sleep, but it is also carving out time for you.” This could be anything from reading a few pages of a book you’re enjoying to simply relaxing and listening to music.

 
 

Meditate
 

Regardless of whether you’re a zen master or new to the practice, research shows that meditation can help reduce negative emotions, manage stress, increase self-awareness, and even support imagination and creativity.

 

“Set aside time for yourself to do this,” says Dr. Goldman, who recommends starting with even just five-minute sessions to get started. You can work your way up from there. And if you notice your mind wandering, don’t beat yourself up; just acknowledge the thought, and bring your focus back to your practice.

 

 

Give yourself a break
 

Yes, generally, give yourself a break—but also literally! Be mindful about taking regular breaks throughout the day; taking a moment to pause can help you reground yourself.

 

“We have so many thoughts, and messages are constantly getting thrown at us all day long,” says Dr. Goldman, who suggests what she calls “micro breaks”—short but significant moments to just breathe or check in with yourself.

 

“These do not have to be long breaks,” she explains. “Simply ask yourself what is working, what is not working, and what you need for yourself in that moment—and be honest with yourself!”
 

 

Take a hot bubble bath
 

Maybe this sounds good to you—or maybe bubble baths aren’t your style; the important thing is to get off your phone and steep your mind in a comfortable, relaxing environment. “Our days are so packed and busy; we forget to take time and just sit with ourselves and be present,” says Sara Haley, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor based in Santa Monica, CA.

 

If bubble baths aren’t for you, try simply turning off the TV, putting down your phone, and just taking a couple minutes to be with yourself; or maybe take a tech-free walk through some nearby nature. “Make an appointment with yourself and dedicate that time to fully enjoying the experience,” Haley says.

 

 

Write out a “brain dump”
 

Humans have more than 6,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot to have bouncing around in your brain and tugging your attention in different directions. “You want to try clearing up some space to have room for other things,” says Dr. Goldman, who recommends putting pen to paper and offloading some of those thoughts.

 

“Don’t censor the thoughts; just ‘dump’ them out on a piece of paper or in a notes app on your phone,” she says. This isn’t journaling. Full sentences, spelling, and grammar aren’t important here. Instead, this should feel more just like unloading everything in your head onto a blank page—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Freeing up that space can help you feel lighter, Goldman says, and less weighed down than you may have even realized you were feeling.


 

Keep negativity at bay
 

While it is inevitable that you won’t always have control over all the things in your life that affect your feelings, it’s important to control those that you can. Simply distancing yourself from negative inputs can go a long way. “Try not to let others like friends, family, co-workers, or even the news or social media put you in a bad mood,” says Flynn. “It’s easy to get sucked into negativity and that can ruin your mindset for the day.”

 

But remember that no conversations will impact you as much and as frequently as the ones you have with yourself. Monitoring your self-talk can be highly rewarding, and can make a noticeable and lasting impact on your overall happiness. “It’s important to think positively,”  says Flynn “Try to find the good in every situation for a healthy outlook on life.”