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6 Unexpected Ways to Practice Self-Care

by UPMC Susquehanna

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It's not uncommon to think of everyone else before yourself. But stop for a moment and ask yourself: What would be so wrong about giving myself a break?

In truth, there’s nothing wrong with self-care. Although it might feel selfish during busy times, it’s anything but. Stress management is vital to prevention of health problems, such as heart disease and depression.

If time is holding you back from self-care, start small. Schedule 20 minutes for meditation, a mind-body practice that promotes calmness. All you need is a quiet location, a comfortable posture, your focused attention and an open attitude. Once there, ask your body what it needs. An intense workout? A good laugh? Find the revitalization methods that work for you. Start by trying one of these techniques:

  • Write a gratitude list. Write down at least one thing each day that was good. Even if it’s as simple as getting out of work 20 minutes early, document it as something that enhanced your outlook.
  • Sing in the shower. Research suggests that singing promotes self-expression, stress reduction, better mental health, spirituality and feelings of empowerment.
  • Schedule a phone date with a friend. Friends near and far make life more enjoyable and provide support in times of need. And just as you may need a friend to talk with, it can be equally rewarding to lend an ear.
  • Try laughter yoga. Laughter yoga combines yoga breathing exercises with laughter, which increases the level of oxygen in the brain and body. Participants report enhanced feelings of self-belief, positive energy and distraction from negative thoughts.
  • Have herbal tea for dessert.  A mug of unsweetened tea every night after dinner may be a nice way to unwind and relax without adding extra calories and sugar.
  • Breathe in essential oils. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to make you feel better physically and emotionally. Try peppermint or rosemary to boost your energy, chamomile to help you sleep or lavender to reduce anxiety.

Lift Your Spirits

Join Spirit of Women, a women’s health program at UPMC Susquehanna that provides a safe, comfortable space to ask and answer all your questions, learn about local health and wellness resources and connect with friendly, engaging experts about topics that matter to you. Membership is free and provides access to events, free wellness screenings and discounts from participating business sponsors. To join Spirit of Women, call 1-888-720-8461 or visit SusquehannaWomen.org.