18 Ways to Take Care of Yourself in 2021

Rachel Sharpe

It’s been a tough few months. Now more than ever, you need to take care of yourself. Investing in your well-being is essential to ensure you’re mentally strong, happy, and at your best. Not only do you want to practice self-care physically, but you’ll also want to take care of yourself emotionally too. The little things you do each day can drastically improve your life to help you feel happier while investing in your self-care.

How to Take Care Of Yourself

1. Practice Meditation

One of the best ways to take care of yourself is by practicing meditation. Meditation helps declutter the mind so you can work to eliminate anxiety, depression, and any thought disorder. So, if you find your thoughts are constantly putting you down or spiraling you into a state of panic, meditation can help. Why? Well, the left side of the brain is responsible for language and thinking. Since it has fewer connections to other parts of the brain, it tends to communicate with thoughts. The right side of the brain, also known as the creative side, tends to be quieter and better connected to other parts of the brain. Interestingly, meditation helps strengthen the right side of the brain, which naturally helps silence those loud, annoying, and mean thoughts in your head. When you practice meditation, you develop the right side of the brain, bringing a sense of mental stability. 

Free meditation appDeclutter The Mind is an app that will teach you how to meditate, help you form the habit of a regular practice, and expand your mind to the teachings of mindfulness.

2. Shower daily

The easiest way to tell if someone in your life is struggling is to look at their hair. If a man looks like he doesn’t take care of his beard, likely, he might not be doing well. If a woman’s hair is oily and messy, she might likely be experiencing some challenges. Showering every day is an essential part of taking care of yourself. The Romans believed in the importance of hydrotherapy, which is just a fancy way of saying that water has healing effects. Think about yourself in your most depressed state. Then, think back to how jumping in the shower for 20 minutes helped you feel a tiny bit better than you were feeling before. Being in water each day is a healthy practice for self-care. 

3. Step into nature

A man hiking out in the mountains

When things aren’t going well, we tend to hide in our homes. Maybe behind a locked door. Or three. But being in the outdoors is a natural way to take care of yourself. Did you know walking barefoot on the grass in your backyard is called earthing? The practice of having your feet touching the ground helps you have a night of better sleep, improved blood flow, and even lowers inflammation. But that’s not the only benefit we get from the great outdoors. Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins you need, and you can get your daily dose of it just from being out with the sun. It helps fight illnesses like the flu, depression, and heart disease. And it can even help aid weight loss. If you want to find a simple way to take care of yourself, consider gardening outdoors or even going for a stroll in nature. 

4. Exercise multiple times a week

With busy schedules, it can be hard to find time to exercise every day. But if you find yourself sitting in front of a computer most of the day, you’ll need to find ways to incorporate exercise into the day. It could be as simple as taking your dog for a walk. You can also run up and down the stairs as you do chores at home. Cleaning your home can be a great way to incorporate some movement into your day. Plus, these days, many fitness programs or even fitness YouTube videos have workouts for as little as 10 minutes that are easy to squeeze in. By doing the types of exercises you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to commit to a schedule. 

5. Read each night

By reading uplifting books at the end of the day, you’ll likely fall asleep earlier, go to bed thinking positively, and avoid late-night texting. When your thoughts are wild, reading might be more challenging to do. You might notice your mind wandering. That’s why as soon as you start getting better or when you feel like your mind is under control, it’s so critical to begin the habit of reading. When you read books about how the brain works, optimism, self-help, or motivation types of books, you’ll notice that you start to strengthen your mind. Knowing how to master positive traits like optimism, positive thinking, and that sort, you’ll learn how to manage your mental health even when things aren’t going well in your life. That’s the best way to take care of yourself because you’ll know what you need to do. 

6. Go out of your way to be positive around people

Group of friends smiling and laughing

Have you ever noticed life always has more drama in it when you gossip about people, are ruder to people, or when you’re in a more aggressive state? Same. When life isn’t going well for you, go out of your way to be positive around people. Be more positive than usual– even if everything in you wants to scream at the top of your lungs. Before you know it, you’ll notice your environment change. Behind everyone’s backs, praise people. Be the person who compliments people to their faces and behind their backs. When posting on social media, post things that uplift other people or make people happy. Randomly message friends and family to let them know why you appreciate them. When you put out true genuine positivity in the world, it comes back to you. Often, people complain about their hostile environments, not realizing how they’re contributing to them. By making others happy, you learn how to be happy yourself. 

7. Take regular naps

Napping is a healthy way to take care of yourself. You know that afternoon crash you have where you pour yourself a second cup of coffee? That might be a good time to take a 20-minute nap. You can tell your coworkers you’re taking a wellness break to allow yourself a short break. Permit yourself to do what your body needs to do. If you’re constantly feeling exhausted, finding time throughout the day to get extra sleep can do you some good. Many stoics used to nap in the middle of the day to recharge their batteries. Who says you need to be nonstop all day long? 

8. Go to bed early every day

Speaking of naps, maybe switching your bedtime to start a little earlier will help make those morning wake-ups a bit more bearable. By having a proper bedtime routine, falling asleep earlier won’t be too challenging. After your workday, exercise, eat, shower, do a quick 10-minute guided meditation for sleep, and then spend an hour or two reading. Doing this will help you establish a healthy nighttime routine that’ll allow you to fall asleep at night. Reading in bed enables you to fall asleep naturally. If you have a backlit Kindle, you’ll be able to read without the harmful effects of an LED iPad. Then, by going to bed a bit earlier, you’ll wake up naturally in the morning, allowing you to start your day right. 

9. Eat plenty of healthy foods

An arrangement of healthy food

The easiest way to take care of yourself is to start with your diet. The foods you eat can affect your mood, energy, and well-being. Drinking kombucha can help improve your gut health which affects your mental health. Eating veggies can help you get the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong. Limiting sugar can also help minimize obesity, diabetes, possibly cancer, and a whole range of other health issues. Though having sugar-free chocolate now and then is okay. If you have any diet restrictions due to surgeries, ethics, or allergies, aim to find ways to eat a healthy diet that minimizes your risk. For instance, if you’re allergic to gluten, you might try the keto diet, which has many health benefits. Ultimately, what you put into your body will affect you. Eating well will help you take care of yourself. 

10. Spend some time alone

If you’re suffering from depression, this isn’t the best advice for you. Often, when we’re depressed, we isolate ourselves when we need people more than ever. However, if you find yourself burnt out, usually it’s because you’re in a caregiver role: such as taking care of your kids or your parents. It might also be due to work stress– especially if you’re working from home while taking care of others. So, in this case, sometimes it’s good to take a day off from your responsibilities and hang out alone. You might lock the bathroom door while blasting music so you can’t hear your kids while you relax in the tub. It can also be going for a drive for an hour where you belt out your favorite songs. You can go for a long stroll by a lake or in a forest to have some peace of mind. 

11. Cuddle your pet

A cuddle a day keeps the cortisol levels at bay. Cuddling a pet could help minimize your stress naturally. If you own a dog, you’ll likely notice how optimistic and energetic they usually are, which can help you get out of a rut. Plus, you can gossip or complain to your dog, and no one will ever have to know. Of course, if you’re married or have kids, cuddling them can also make you feel pretty good too. But for those of you who live on your own, owning a pet can be an enriching experience that helps you take care of yourself. 

12. Minimize time on social media

A phone in hand with Instagram open

Social media is fire. And not the cool kid’s version of fire. The hell version. With giant flames. If you post something that gets misinterpreted, everyone will know about it. If you make a mistake in the public eye, everyone will criticize you. There’s way more hate than love on social. Stop arguing with strangers on the internet. It always makes you feel bad. The only time you should use social media is to spread positivity. You know, like wishing a friend a happy birthday or using Messenger to check in on a friend. But other than that, you should avoid social media. Consider going on a social media detox to allow yourself time to heal. People who practice self-care by taking care of themselves don’t obsess with likes. Instead, focus on spreading good, not increasing your follower count. 

13. Practice gratitude

One of the ultimate ways to take care of yourself is to practice gratitude each day. Every morning when you wake up, list three things to be grateful for in your life. This gratitude list can help you start your days on a positive note. By expressing this appreciation for the people in your life, the joys of being alive, and other celebratory life wins, we ground ourselves in reality. Often, when we think pessimistically, we fail to see all the support we have in life. There are so many kind people in the world looking for someone to cheer up.

14. Tidy up

When we’re sitting still, our minds wander, causing us to feel less than pleasant. An easy way to take care of yourself while being mighty productive is to tidy up. A clean desk can help you have a clean mind. Spending an hour listening to music from your Airpods while washing dishes, sweeping the floor, or organizing papers can be an enjoyable experience now and then. After tidying up, you can breathe your sigh of relief. You’ll likely notice how distracted you were focusing on chores. By doing chores, your problems melted away from your mind for a bit of time, giving your brain a well-deserved break. 

15. Drink water hourly

Glasses of water on a table

When it comes to your health, drinking water regularly throughout your day is a sure bet to taking care of yourself. So throw away that diet soda or the dehydrating third cup of coffee. For your self-care, you’re going to need to guzzle down some of that free H2O. It would help if you considered drinking about eight cups of water a day. On the bright side, staying that hydrated will have you going to the bathroom regularly. That’s especially important if you work at a desk all day with limited movement. Heading to the kitchen to fill up water and the bathroom to release it is an excellent way to add some extra steps. 

16. Hang with friends

Take care of yourself by spending more time with friends. So, instead of passing on that birthday party, invest in a thoughtful gift and help celebrate a friend’s special day. Take time out to go for walks with friends who live nearby. Or create an invite for a dinner party with a few of your closest friends. Finding time to spend together will help tighten your bond. Be supportive of their life milestones and career wins. Ultimately, those who spend time with friends tend to be happiest (and even live longer). So, pick up the phone and find a way to spend some time together. 

17. Joke with the family

While you might live in the same household as your family. It’s possible that you hardly see or spend time with family. With most people glued to their laptops and phones, sometimes a good conversation is hard to come by. Find time to play a family board game once a week. Playing games together as a family can get you all talking, joking, and hanging out together. Having dinner together is also a great way to get some laughs and good times as a family. The more you spend time with family, the more you take care of yourself because those are the people who love you more than anything. Give love, and you’ll always get it back. 

18. Do nothing

Man sitting on park bench relaxing

One of the most effective ways to take care of yourself is to do absolutely nothing. If you find you’re burning out from work or home stress, sometimes turning on the tv and turning off the brain helps you recharge your batteries. You don’t always have to practice self-care to take care of yourself. Sometimes, taking a good old-fashioned break is what you need to do. And you can usually tell by your energy levels. If you’re feeling particularly drained, you can permit yourself to stop what you’re doing. It’s okay to relax when you need a break. Don’t give yourself such a hard time. You’re human, not a superhero who needs to work overtime. 

Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned 18 different ways to take care of yourself. Now that you know what you’ve got to do, it’s time to get out there and do it. That might include taking a quick break to meditate each day to ensure you’re always practicing self-care. Or exercising, eating healthy, putting out some positivity into the world to help your body and mind stay strong and healthy. And remember, if you need to take a break and do nothing, do it guilt-free. Ultimately, no matter how cool it would be, you’re still not a robot. Invest in your mental and physical health to take care of yourself, so you can live a long and happy life. 

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