• Self-care is an important part of boosting your mental health and well-being.
  • Practices like exercising, sleeping well, and listening to your body are all things that can help bring you mental clarity and make it easier to manage your emotions.
  • Bring yourself joy by getting a coffee, buying yourself lunch, or going to a favorite spot of yours.
  • Personalizing your self-care routine is the best way to make it effective. Whatever you choose from this list, make it your own!

We all know that self-care is good for you, but it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick list of simple self-care tips, given to us by our expert clinicians, on practices you can use to create a great self-care routine. These tips can help give you some direction and get you started on your self-care journey. 

     1. Exercise.

Exercising and moving your body is a great way to take care of yourself and clear your mind. “For me personally, exercise is the most impactful,” says James Lavino, Resident. “I don’t always look forward to it! But I know that it has a huge effect on my mental health, and I always feel better after a walk or a swim or a trip to the gym.”

Exercising releases certain chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and endorphins, which in turn can help boost one’s overall mood. It can also help your mental health simply by distracting you from your negative thoughts and taking you out of any emotional spirals that you may have been experiencing.

     2. Maintain a healthy diet.

Diet is another important element of self-care according to Lavino, as eating well helps the mind as well as the body. Getting the nutrients your body needs can help you feel more alert, think more clearly, and has even been shown to mitigate mood swings and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

     3. Get adequate sleep.

A good sleep schedule is another excellent form of physical and mental self-care. “I always say that sleep, [along with] diet and exercise, are the three pillars of mental and physical health,” says Lavino. 

Getting enough sleep not only helps with mental clarity and focus, but can also make it easier to manage your emotions. By having more mental and emotional energy along with a clear mind, managing emotional reactions as well as anticipating them in the moment can be a less challenging process.

     4. Do something you enjoy each day.

Adding a little joy to your every day can go a long way. Evan Csir, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), says, “My self-care tip is to do something small for yourself that you enjoy each day. It can be getting a cup of coffee or tea, watching an episode of a favorite show or YouTube channel, or playing a short game on your phone.

Whether it’s big or small, taking a step to give yourself joy each day will lift your mood and bring you more happiness over time. 

     5. Listen to your body.

More specifically, listening to your body means, “[Taking] stock of what sensations and feelings you are experiencing, whether pleasant or unpleasant,” Licensed Psychologist David Harman clarifies. The way you feel isn’t just something that happens to you—it’s your body’s way of sending you signals about what it needs and how you should go about taking care of it. 

“These can be crucially important messages to you,” says Harman. “If there are parts of your body that are feeling good, that’s wonderful feedback. Whatever you’re doing that might be helping those parts of your body, keep it up!” However, what’s bothering you can be a sign too.

“If there are parts of your body that are bothersome or painful,” Harman states, “you need to listen to that as well. Perhaps there are movements or body positions that you should modify or avoid, or perhaps you should consider a lifestyle change to improve things…It’s best to keep an open mind, trying different things to see what tweaks can lead you to feel better.”

Self-care is good for everyone, but just because there are certain habits and practices that are helpful to most doesn’t mean you can’t adjust them to suit yourself. 

Personalize your self-care as much as you can. If you don’t like lifting weights, take a dance class or go for a walk instead. If face masks and bubble baths aren’t what make you happy or calm, do something that does. Self-care is about bringing you joy as much as it’s about taking care of your body and mind.