5 Self-Care Ideas You Can Do Right Now

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This post is part of a monthlong August series, in which we asked writers to share their wellness tips with us, to celebrate National Wellness Month.

We could all use a little more self-care. It’s too bad that the idea of “self care” has become so convoluted and out of touch, because true self care is fundamental. True self care is simple, easy, and quick.

If you could use a little self care but don’t have the time or means for a 30-minute epsom salt bubble bath and a face mask, try one of these five small things you can do to take care of yourself.

1. Take a Few Sips of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the simplest — yet seemingly hardest — ways to keep your health and wellness in tip-top shape. It’s about more than physical health, too: Staying hydrated can help you avoid cognitive symptoms like brain fog, lack of focus, and fatigue. 

If you have trouble remembering to drink enough water, try setting a reminder on your phone or keeping a full water bottle in plain sight, such as on your desk. 

2. Peel Your Eyes Away from Your Screen

Roll your shoulders back and stretch your neck. Make three circles to the left with your neck, then three to the right. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press your shoulders down. Do it all while looking out a window, if you’re near one. 

Didn’t that feel nice? 

Most of us spend far too much time staring into screens each day, whether our main screen is a computer, tablet, or phone. We sit down every morning, open up our inboxes, and get to work — next thing you know, it’s past lunchtime and our eyes are searing.

Peeling your eyes away from your screen at regular intervals can, of course, help prevent eye strain. But it might also help you focus more intently and reduce feelings of fatigue. Both the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) endorse the 20-20-20 rule as a way to keep your eyes fresh.

3. Write Down One Thing You Learned Today

The human brain loves novelty. In the modern world, novelty is in no shortage, so that’s not an issue. The problem is that we see, hear, and read so many new things each day that it’s impossible to retain it all. Thus, we often feel like we’re not learning anything at all. 

Allow yourself to revel in feelings of novelty and accomplishment by writing — by hand, if you really want to get real — something new that you learned today. You might be surprised at how good you feel when you realize that you’re becoming a smarter person every day.  

4. Send a Thank-You Note or Text to Someone Who Helped You Recently

Science has shown us that gratitude has a profound effect on human health and happiness. Gratitude journals aren’t just a trendy wellness activity; they really work.

For example, expressing gratitude can boost your mood and self-esteem, make you feel more closely connected to those you love, and even improve your physical health. So take a moment and write a thank-you note — or send a text if you’re short on time — to someone who helped you in any way recently.

5. Vocally Disrupt a Negative Thought

One moment you’re thinking about how your jeans don’t fit as well, and all of a sudden you’re spiraling into a pit of despair about how you’re going to lose your job, and your relationship is failing, and …

Sound familiar? 

Girl, me, too. 

I can’t say why those negative rabbit holes suck us in (although I’m pretty certain it has something to do with the “never good enough” complex), but I can say that you have the power to stop them. 

You have the power to vocally disrupt thoughts that aren’t serving you. Next time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, say this out loud: “Hey, it’s okay. This isn’t going to ruin my day.”

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