15 Ultimate Self-Care Tips To Feed Your Body & Soul Today

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15 Ultimate Self-Care Tips
Self

You hear a lot about self-care these days — it's good for your mental health. But many people still aren't practicing it.

Self-care is defined as a way of preventing stress. Still, it doesn't mean the same thing for everyone.

Ultimate self-care is for you.

What is your environment like? Do you feel that contributes to your stress?

Self-care can't change the people in your life or the environment that you live in, but it can help you set necessary boundaries.

RELATED: 7 Ways You Should Be Taking Care Of Yourself (Every Day)

The first step is to assess if you're stressed out or not by spotting some early warning signs.

Emotional symptoms of stress:

  • Agitation, restlessness, or a sense of unworthiness
  • Mentally tired, lack of flexibility, or difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability, defensiveness, or argumentative
  • Apathy, sadness, or no longer find activities pleasurable
  • Overcompensating, avoiding problems, or denying you have problems
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Poor or negative judgment

Physical symptoms of stress:

  • Bodily aches and pains
  • Chest pain or rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Frequent colds or flu
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Loss of sex drive

Behavioral symptoms of stress

  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor work performance
  • Compulsive behaviors in spending, gambling, sex, and substances
  • Legal problems, aggressive impulses, or indebtedness
  • Avoidant behavior, difficulty accepting, neglecting responsibility
  • Nervous habits such as nail-biting and pacing
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's time to start practicing the ultimate self-care plan, one day at a time.

You can set time aside each day — whatever works for you is fine.

Remember, your ultimate self-care plan is a work in progress. You don't want to judge yourself. With a little practice, you'll soon be a pro at ultimate self-care.

Here are 15 ultimate self-care tips to feed your soul and body today.

1. Developing a mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness involves using deep breathing techniques and is good for your central nervous system.

Start with 10 minutes a day. Set up a time that will work for you and practice mindfulness at the same time each day, whether you feel stressed out or not.

2. Get adequate sleep and rest.

The recommendation is seven to nine hours of sleep per night. And it's true that you can get too much sleep.

Make sure the environment you sleep in is dark and quiet. You also don't want electronic devices nearby — they will keep you awake. Make sure they're shut down an hour before bed.

Sleep is essential. Our minds and body need it to recharge. If you aren't getting enough sleep, then you need to make sleep a priority. Your mind and body will thank you.

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

Start by reviewing the people you are the closest to. Take a look at your top five people. Are they supportive? Are they positive and optimistic? Or are they negative?

The people around you have a direct effect on your emotional health. They should not be creating more stress in your life. They should be positive and supportive.

If necessary, work at developing an adequate and appropriate support system.

4. Smile and have laughter in your life.

Laughing is the best medicine. You can watch a comedy or a funny video. Be spontaneous and playful in your life.

Children are always making time for play. It's a priority in their life, so play should also be a priority in your life.

When was the last time you looked at your life through a child's eyes? It's easy to predict that something won't be fun or that you won't like someone. This is often based on negative experiences from the past.

5. Approach each day with a purpose.

Start by outlining daily structure. Each step is important to reach your goal. No task is too small to feel good about.

This is where your inner critic can get in the way. Learn to be kind to yourself with your inner voice. Remember, small steps lead to big steps.

RELATED: 10 Simple Self-Care Tips To Help You Feel Balanced & Healthy Every Day

6. Start writing in a journal.

Instead of keeping thoughts and feelings inside where they can build up and cause confusion and emotional distress, get them out on paper.

You can use a journal to keep track of relationship issues, health, and emotional functioning.

After a while, make sure to look back at what you wrote. This will give a good measurement for how you were feeling, also take note of your environment. Did it play a role in your emotions?

7. Avoid being self-critical.

Be kind to yourself — there are always choices. This will prevent you from feeling trapped and help you to feel optimistic about the future.

Use positive self-talk to feel better about yourself and your choices. When you practice this daily, you'll require your brain. Remember, the brain is a muscle and it needs to be conditioned.

8. Feed your body nutritious foods.

Studies have found that food affects your mood. Stay away from fast food and foods that are high in sugar. Neither has many nutrients that are good for you.

Eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables and fruit. They are good as a meal or for a snack.

Eat lean protein and make sure to add some good fats to your meal plan, such as olive oil or avocados. This will help you feel full. Have some carbohydrates and stick with wheat rather than white bread.

9. Take responsibility for your own life.

Take time to listen to your inner voice and learn how you were wired. Children are wired to please their parents, but you don't have to carry that into adulthood.

Ask yourself, "Who do you want to please?" Take note of your answers.

Are you prone to pleasing others? If the answer is "yes," then ask yourself why? Is there a cost to your own mental or physical health? If you answered "yes," then you're letting others control you.

Remember, life is about choices. You can make the best choice for yourself.

10. Feed your spirit.

This doesn't mean being religious — it means learning to reconnect with yourself. If you're like many, you're doing things for others — it's how you experience validation.

When you start feeding your spirit, you'll feel the emotional benefits and decrease emotional fatigue from taking care of everyone else.​

11. Declutter your space.

When you live in a space filled with clutter, your mind will feel cluttered, causing you to feel overwhelmed. It should be easy to find things in your home.

This doesn't mean shove everything into a closet. If you aren't using something, then you need to get rid of it.

As you are clearing the space you live in, take note of how it affects your emotional health. You should feel the difference.

12. Spend a little money on yourself.

You buy things for your children, your partner, and your home. When was the last time you bought yourself something just because you wanted it? You didn't necessarily need it, but you just wanted it.

Maybe that dress or necklace makes you feel pretty. Or a day at the spa, away from home, makes you feel amazing.

The effects of spending a little money on yourself can go a long way. You don't always need to be so frugal.

13. Set healthy boundaries for yourself.

Stop saying "yes" when you mean "no." This will cause feelings of resentment. You won't feel happy for others and their accomplishments when you don't have healthy boundaries.

You also won't feel good about yourself and your own accomplishments.

When you set boundaries, you will feel happy in your life, even when your accomplishments are small.

14. Develop a healthy exercise program.

This doesn't mean you need to do extreme exercise or work out three hours a day. You can go for a 20-minute walk or to a yoga class.

Exercise should be fun, so make sure you participate in activities you enjoy. Exercise outdoors and get vitamin D from natural sunlight. Also, exercise releases endorphins.

15. Take yourself out on a date.

Whether you're in a relationship or not, it's important to take yourself out. Take yourself to that new restaurant that you've been dying to try. Or, go to that new movie theatre that you thought was too expensive.

Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. Buy yourself that expensive glass of Champagne or wine. Spend time outdoors, or go wine tasting.

Just be good to yourself. Don't worry about what others are thinking or saying, worry about treating yourself well.

Having a little alone time might be just what the doctor ordered. Make sure you take the time to get ready to take yourself out. Treat it as if your sweetheart were taking you out on your first date.

By starting your ultimate self-care plan, you're making an investment in your emotional and physical health. You don't always have to go at full speed or be around people who are telling you that.

Take time to stop and smell the roses. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

RELATED: 21 Tips For Taking Care Of Yourself When You Feel Like Shutting Down

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Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on Lessons for Love to learn more about her services and expertise.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.