Stress can often seem beyond your control, but it does not need to be. It is true that many sources of stress, such as jobs, finances, and relationships are unavoidable, but their effects on you are not predetermined. Stress management techniques, such as reducing exposure to stressors when possible and breathing deeply, can lower stress levels. Another tool for stress reduction is self-care.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care involves things you do to take care of yourself. It includes the basics, such as eating well and exercising, but also includes keeping your mind and soul healthy.
Self-care is not about self-improvement or guilt. It is not about wanting to change yourself. Self-care is about accepting yourself. It is about making small behavior and establishing habits that improve overall health because you want to, not because you should. This is what Lark is ready to help you do!
Self-Care Strategies for Stress Reduction
Self-care includes many aspects. You can address them with small changes in different areas of your life.
Physical health includes getting active, eating well, managing weight, and getting enough sleep. With a healthier body, you can better resist physical effects of stress such as a higher risk for hypertension and other chronic conditions. Examples of such physical self-care include:
- Choosing fruit instead of dessert because it makes you feel better later.
- Adding some bursts of walking that are more brisk than usual because higher-intensity exercise feels better.
- Reading instead of going on social media before bed so you can fall asleep faster and wake up more rested.
Mental and Emotional
Being able to concentrate, and managing emotions in healthy ways, are important parts of self-care and can directly reduce many of the negative effects of stress.
- Taking an after-dinner walk to clear your head from the day.
- Meditating daily to improve your inner peace and ability to focus.
- Writing down something you are looking forward to the next day and something you are grateful for in the day that passed.
Staying connected with others, including close friends and family, and people who may be a little more distant, such as neighbors and community members, can help you maintain a better mood. These are some ways to do that.
- Sharing meals, workouts, and other daily experiences with others.
- Helping others through volunteer work or other formal or informal activities.
- Staying in touch with closer friends and family.
Practicing self-care can help lower stress levels, but it can take some time to get the hang of it. Lark can help you as you learn what self-care is and some non-stressful ways to practice it!