When you hear the term self care it often invokes images of spa dates, masseuses, pedicures and facials. And as much as we all love the sound of those, not a lot of us can afford to fork out the hundreds of dollars these indulgences require. But what if we told you that you could indulge in some serious self care every single day at zero cost? After the rollercoaster that was 2020 and what seems to be the continuation into 2021, we all deserve a little ( or even a LOT) of self care.
What is self care? According to www.everydayhealth.com, self-care is taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to do and want to accomplish in a day.
Self care is not self indulgence or selfishness, make no mistake. It is a necessary behaviour or behaviours that ensure that you can function to the best of your abilities without any hindrances. We’ve all learned or are in the process of learning that it’s essential to get time to do what we love to help us recuperate from the brutalities of everyday living. In essence, self care is taking time out to recharge your batteries.
So we mentioned zero cost yeah? We’ve come up with 5 ways for you to indulge yourself without a gym membership or a visit to the spa…
Sounds easy yeah? But have you ever tried to go without your device for an hour or more? The hyper digital age we live in has us glued to one screen or another for over ninety percent of our day . Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil as this is how we earn. But constantly checking in on social media sites is also a cause for stress which then becomes counterproductive. FOMO is real fam! So how about you unplug for a couple of hours every day, switch off your data and engage in other activities. No, we don’t mean games on your phone. Put it down! How about some colouring instead? Colouring isn’t just for children and adults can do it too. Rutendo Mutsamwira swears by it. Gardening is also a great activity. We’re not giving rules and regulations here, the sky is the limit as long as you limit screen time.
N.B. Zoning out in front of the TV doesn’t count. Remember, stay away from ALL screens.
According to research, journaling three times a week (for just 15-20 minutes per day) could yield “significantly better physical and psychological outcomes”. It has been discovered that the pen-to-paper exercise may help reduce stress, sharpen memory, boost mood, and overall, add positive value to your life. It doesn’t need to be in a fancy note pad with fancy pens. Just take your pen and paper and write whatever comes to mind. It really is relaxing and a great way to unwind. You can always go through what you’ve written later. It doesn’t have to make sense and it certainly doesn’t have to be Shakespeare worthy writing.
3.Start a workout challenge with your friends.
Zandile Mazvita and her bookworm friends started a walking challenge to help maintain a balance in the sedentary lives they’re living nowadays. She says it has helped them bond and she has also noted an improvement in her sleep patterns. There are Apps you can use to track your progress as a group such as SHealth, Freeletics, Nike Training Club or Runtastic to name a few. This might seem like adding stress to an already stressed body but it’s quite the opposite. Walking and/or Running improves heart health and improves balance. Most importantly it gets you on to ‘happy’ as your body releases those feel good hormones(endorphins). Pace yourselves though, you don’t want to overdo it and defeat the whole purpose of the exercise. Easy does it!
What can be more zero cost than sleep? Yes, sleep is effective self care. Or rather getting more of it. Good quality sleep is essential in improving physical and mental health. If you have trouble falling asleep we suggest you limit your use of electronic devices at night. This is because watching TV, playing video games, using a cell phone, and social networking can make it significantly harder for you to fall — and stay — asleep. This is partly because electronic devices emit blue light, which has been found to suppress melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone related to serotonin, that is secreted by the pineal gland that is involved in the sleep/wake and reproductive cycles in mammals.
Using these electronic devices also keeps your mind in an active and engaged state when what we want is to disengage. Use of essential oils such as lavender and peppermint also aids in sleeping better. Avoid caffeine late in the evening as it keeps your mind running in circles and add relaxing music to your routine to help your mind rest.
Yes; drink water. Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. To break the monotony we recommend that you add fruits to your water(lemons, berries, orange or cucumber slices) Just because it’s water doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Carry your water bottle around to ensure that you’re always hydrated.
We live some very hectic lives and we need to always remember to take care of number one. That is you, YOU are number one. So take time each day to take care of YOU!
By Nyaradzo Ngoma