5 Free Self-care Activities That Actually Work

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self care routine
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Be healthy and save money.

Is the drudgery of exams, work-life or relationships getting to you? One of the best ways to prevent burnout is to incorporate a self-care routine that helps you unwind after a long day. Self-care doesn’t have to be about expensive facemasks, gym memberships or Netflix subscriptions. With the right sources, it can cost you nothing while improving your mood and performance. Up your game and save money with these fresh and cost-effective self-care activities.

Watch Bob Ross Paint

Image Credits: Szylvia Basso

The American painter was famous for his iconic 1983 show The Joy Of Painting. In each 26-minute episode, Ross guides his audience as he paints “happy little trees”, idyllic landscapes and soaring birds amongst dreamy sunsets. Soothing imagery from the paintings paired with Ross’ laidback style and calming voice is responsible for the show’s continued popularity 25 years since its final airings. Fear not, there are no subscriptions required for this one. You can binge all 31seasons (over 400 episodes!) of The Joy Of Painting freely on YouTube. Fair Warning: It might be difficult to stop. Give this episode a shot and remember- “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

Try Mindful Eating

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Mindfulness meditation is one of the best strategies to help you get out of your head and become involved with the world around you. A 2014 meta-analysis of over 18,000 studies correlated the practice of mindfulness with reduced anxiety, depression and stress in one’s everyday life. If the idea of sitting still for 30 minutes seems too daunting, an easy way to get started is with food. Try focusing on your meal as you eat it. Avoid multitasking by watching TV or browsing social media. Focus on the sights, scents and sounds you experience as you eat. Examples of things to become aware of are the flavours and texture as you chew the food. Training yourself to focus on what matters and avoid ruminating on what doesn’t makes mindfulness an effective long-term strategy to manage anxiety.

Clean Your Space

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It is often the case that a cluttered space is responsible for a cluttered mind. In his book, 12 Rules For Life, clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson argues that cleaning your room is a simple way to begin sorting yourself out. This is because physically manipulating things by putting them back in their respective place helps in renewing your sense of control. Therefore, cleaning counteracts the loss of control or stress that other aspects of your life may have triggered. Not only is it crossing one thing off your to-do list, but it also boosts self-confidence and helps you feel relaxed knowing you will walk into a clean bedroom.

Listen To Soothing Music

self-care routine
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Any music connoisseur will tell you about the power of music on one’s emotions. Unsurprisingly, music has been found to have a variety of benefits. It reduces anxiety and depression while improving one’s mood, productivity and sleep. Calming music can induce relaxation by lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing by releasing mood-regulating hormone serotonin and sleep-inducing hormone oxytocin. While this impact may be short term, listening to music is the quick-fix you need rejuvenate after a tiresome day and get a good night’s rest. Tune in to some peaceful tunes by clicking the link above.

Journal About Your Day

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Journaling is an underrated therapeutic activity. A notebook, a pen, and ten minutes of daily writing are all you need to do it effectively. As you pen down the events of your day, you reflect on the ups and downs and gain emotional clarity. Writing also validates your personal experience which boosts your sense of self. Finally, it helps with gaining insight as you can observe patterns in your own or others’ actions. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Whether it be planning out following day or summarising how the day went, it’s ideal to discover what you prefer by letting your thoughts flow onto the paper.

In conclusion, wisely using the time we have to ourselves is the most important thing we can do for our personal growth and to avoid burnout. It is important to find what works for you as not every activity is for everyone. Once you find it, the impact of long term self-care is something you will always be grateful for.