3 Outside-the-Box Self-Care Ideas
Today Heather will give you 3 outside-the-box self-care ideas. You can use these to start making time for yourself without feeling guilty.
Taking care of our well-being can be important for maintaining mental health, improving health, or enhancing relationships with others. Many people already have self-care strategies or ways to reduce stress, express themselves, or to work through difficulties that can inevitably come up throughout life yet it can be helpful to have some more radical ways of taking care of ourselves to try out every once in a while.
Here are three outside-the-box self-care ideas to try out in your own life:
Worry & Gratitude Jars
We all have worries – it’s actually a normal part of human nature to have worries pop into our mind, even at random times throughout the day. Worrying can help keep us safe in potentially dangerous situations. But what happens when worries take over, and interrupt our daily lives? Worrying too much about what might happen in life can be distracting or even debilitating, preventing some people from living their regular life.
Expressing these worries in a healthy way can be beneficial in reducing the impact of the stress worrying can have on an individual. One way to express these worries is to have a worry jar that can hold all of these difficult thoughts that are taking up important space in our minds. Replacing these worries with statements of gratitude and affirmation can also help to create a more positive mindset that encourages self-growth and exploration, as well.
Here’s how to create this idea (note: most of the items can be found in the dollar store, or perhaps even your own cupboard).
What you need:
- 2 jars such as an empty mason jar, preferably with a lid
- blank stips of paper, as many as you would like
- colourful pens or pencils
- 2 labels
How to create your worry & gratitude jars:
- Write WORRY JAR and GRATITUDE JAR on the labels, placing one label on the front of each jar.
- Write down any worries that come to your mind on the blank pieces of paper, using the colour that most closely relates to the emotions of the worry.
- Place the worry into the worry jar, replace lid.
- For each worry added to the worry jar, write a statement of gratitude or affirmation and place this in the gratitude jar. After awhile, recycle the paper in the worry jar and read through the statements from the gratitude jar.
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Learn A New Skill
Learning something new can actually cause our brains to change and create new neural pathways that improve our brains functioning. This process is referred to as neuroplasticity and can also relate to better memory retention and an increased ability to learn new things. Our brains are pretty incredible, even if they do look a bit like jello!
So now that we know that learning something new can be so beneficial for our self-care and personal growth, how do we get started? Many people have trouble finding the motivation to start learning something new, or perhaps begin this process and stop shortly after. It can be a challenge to dedicate to this process, but the benefits far exceed any discomfort that can happen along the way.
Some examples of new things to learn include:
- folding origami
- a new language
- computer coding
- public speaking
- drawing or sketching
Has there been something you have been wanting to learn about, but have been putting it off or feeling like you might not have what it takes to take on this new skill? Ask yourself what is holding you back, and what the worst case scenario would be if you were to try and not succeed. It can be tough to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, yet when we’re able to open ourselves up to new ideas, it can expand our growth and literally change our minds!
Create (or Buy) a Self-Care Journal
Journaling or free writing can be a great way to express your worries or frustrations, and having specific prompts such as statements or questions to answer and reflect on can be a way of enhancing the journaling process. You can easily create your own self-care journal by purchasing a blank notepad or a guided journal like this one:
The benefit of purchasing a pre-written guided journal is the range of questions that can challenge your way of thinking or enhance your self-reflective practices. If you prefer you can easily create your own. You can be as creative or go as deep as you like when considering your own prompts.
Some examples of prompts include:
- What am I grateful for right now in my life?
- A moment when I felt most accomplished so far was…
- The person I admire the most is… because…
- A friend would describe me as…
- I would describe myself as…
- Three things I love about myself are…
- One short-term goal I would like to accomplish is…
- One long-term goal I would like to accomplish is…
- My saddest memory is… and what I learned from it is…
The sky is the limit when it comes to how reflective you can become in your self-care journal. As you work through your prompts, continue to check in with your emotions and your experience of this process. As difficult or uncomfortable emotions come along, acknowledge and name the emotion. Take a moment to check in with yourself, take a few breaths, and decide whether you feel okay to continue with your self-care journal or take a break. It can also be interesting to read back through your journal entries after some time to see how things have changed or if you have made new self-discoveries along the way.
I hope these three examples of outside-the-box self-care ideas have been helpful for you to think about ways you can take care of yourself outside of your usual activities. Introducing new ways of promoting a healthy lifestyle can help maintain these practices each day, and especially on the tough days. Take good care of yourself!
About the Author
Heather is a therapist and mental health blogger living in BC, Canada. Passionate about sharing her knowledge and support to those concerned about their own mental health. She provides professional clinical and freelancing services in a range of settings including through articles on her blog and other health and wellness sites, and through the creation of digital mental health products. Heather can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website www.heatherleguilloux.ca.
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