The Art of Self-Care: 5 Tips for a Healthy Mind and Body

If you make time for a few minutes of self-care every day, you’re less likely to feel frayed at the edges. Not sure how to do self-care exactly? No worries—we’ll show you some simple ways to master the art of self-care.

Kaia Health Balance

Do you tend to feel guilty if you take time for yourself? With fast-paced days and mounting responsibilities, it can feel downright decadent to take time out. Yet doing things like slowing down and tending to your needs isn’t frivolous. Getting regular R&R is actually vital for a healthy mind and body.

The fact is, if you make time for a few minutes of self-care every day, you’re less likely to feel frayed at the edges. Not sure how to do self-care? No worries—we’ll show you some simple ways to master the art of self-care below. (Hint: self-care isn’t just about taking bubble baths, although those are great.) When you practice regular self-care, you’ll find that your mind and body will thrive. Plus, your relationships will benefit from a happier, healthier you!

Self-Care Defined

What is self-care, exactly? It can look different from one person to another. There is no one correct or perfect way to practice self-care. For some people, self-care means taking a hot bath after a long workday or meditating for 5 minutes every morning.

However, for others, self-care is more about saying “no” to things to safeguard their time and energy. For example, if you’re feeling run-down, self-care might mean canceling your dinner plans so you can stay in and rest. Ultimately, practicing self-care means regularly doing things that help you to nurture your health and overall well-being. To get you started, here are our favorite 5 self-care tips at Kaia for recharging mind, body, and soul.

#1: Get plenty of rest

We all know a good night’s sleep is important. Yet nearly half of Americans feel unrested from 3 to all 7 days of the week, according to a recent poll from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).[1] And sleep (or lack thereof) can have a big effect on how you feel emotionally and physically during the day. In fact, nearly 60% of people surveyed in the NSF poll said that feeling unrested can negatively affect their mood.[1]

Therefore, sleep is one of the prime areas where you can practice self-care. Here are our favorite tips for getting quality zzz’s:

  • Establish a nightly routine to sleep more soundly and feel better rested during the day. For instance, try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night and make sure you get around 8 hours of sleep.
  • Ban your phone and everything else with a screen for half an hour before bedtime to unwind your mind. Do some light reading or gentle stretching before bed to help you to power down for the night.
  • Try a relaxing breathing technique like box breathing before bed. The Kaia Pain app also has several great relaxation techniques that are very helpful for bedtime.
  • Last but not least, if back pain gets in the way of a good night’s rest, check out our blog post on the Back Pain–Insomnia cycle. It’s chock-full of great info and tips.

Getting regular R&R is actually vital for a healthy mind and body.

#2: Rev up your stress-management skills

A certain amount of stress is natural and can actually help keep you on your toes in a good way. Without any stress, it would be easy to become lethargic and disinterested in life. The catch is that, from an evolutionary perspective, stress was intended to be a temporary state. (Think of a caveman’s adrenaline rising to give him the energy to flee a predator.)

Unfortunately, the demands of modern life can lead to high stress that just doesn’t let up. When left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to heart disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other health issues.[2] That’s why it’s important to manage stress with self-care so it doesn’t start to take a serious toll on your health. Check out our top self-care tips to manage stress:

  • Manage your time. Too many commitments? Take some time to consider which ones you can delegate, move, or eliminate completely. Think about your daily priorities each morning and limit them to a reasonable number whenever possible.
  • Ask for help. Feel overwhelmed or unable to do something? There’s no shame in reaching out to someone you trust (like a colleague, friend, or therapist) for support.
  • Make relaxation a priority. Meditation or relaxation techniques are game-changers when it comes to stress management. Plus, they don’t need to take a lot of time. The Kaia Pain app has several convenient but effective relaxation exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere.
  • Set realistic goals. Being organized and managing your time efficiently can help you relieve stress. However, make sure that you’re being realistic with yourself about what’s doable—and what’s not—when making plans. Planning to do too much in not enough time can stress you out even more!

#3: Move your body daily 

Besides getting a good night’s sleep, exercise is one of the most fundamental ways you can practice self-care. Daily exercise can boost your mood and slay stress. It can also lower the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.[3]

The most important thing is to create an exercise routine that works for you. Forcing yourself to do an activity that you dread is the opposite of self-care, so try to find something that you enjoy!

If you have back pain, doing just a few exercises a day can be a very effective way to do self-care. The Kaia Pain app creates a personalized program combining mobility, strengthening, breathing, and relaxation exercises. The Kaia program can help you to manage your back pain at home in just minutes a day.

#4: Reward yourself for your achievements

Gave a great presentation at work today? Completed your back pain exercises for a week in a row? Ticked off all the boxes on your to-do list? That’s great! Acknowledge your accomplishments and reward yourself from time to time. It doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, it doesn’t need to cost anything! You can reward yourself with activities you enjoy, like cooking your favorite meal or watching a funny movie. Rewarding yourself can help keep you motivated to complete daily tasks. Plus, it’s a great self-care method.

#5: Plan enough time for yourself

Practicing self-care is all about taking time for yourself. It’s important to make it a point to schedule regular you-time in your calendar and plan activities you like doing. Try to make self-care part of your everyday life and see it as a priority, not a luxury. This also includes saying “no” to requests for your time and energy if you’re feeling depleted. Respect your own limits and avoid overextending yourself.

Conclusion

Self-care isn’t just about soaking in bubble baths, as fun as that can be. It’s also about supporting the building blocks of health, such as getting adequate rest and exercise, managing stress, rewarding yourself for a job well done, and carving out you time. Sometimes it’s also about wielding the power of a kind but firm “no” to protect your time and energy. However self-care looks for you, make sure it’s an important part of your everyday life.

References

1. National Sleep Foundation. Sleep in America® poll 2020. http://www.thensf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SIA-2020-Report.pdf. Accessed September 8, 2020.
2. Mayo Clinic. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037. Published March 19, 2019. Accessed September 8, 2020.
3. Mayo Clinic. Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389. Published May 11, 2019. Accessed September 8, 2020.

Further Reading