We all face stress. Whether it’s from your day to day life, from your job, friends and family, or current events in the news, there is certainly no shortage of anxiety-inducing stimuli in life. That makes self-care one of the most essential habits that you can get into.
Self-care just involves taking a moment, letting your stressors go, and paying attention to what your body and mind needs. It can come in a variety of forms, from relaxing and listening to music, to easing into bed early and reading a good book. In this post, we’ll cover a few products that can help you settle into a self-care routine you’ll actually stick to.
Close your eyes and picture self-care. There’s a pretty good chance you pictured yourself doing yoga in a softly candle-lit studio, incense burning in the background. Yoga has become very popular, and with good reason: it’s one of the most physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy ways that you can practice self-care.
The best part about yoga is that, while you can certainly head into a studio for lessons from a yoga teacher, you can also get into a restorative flow at home all on your own. The trick is to invest in the right yoga basics. There are two benefits to buying yoga supplies: one, they simply make doing yoga easier and more streamlined; and two, they make you more devoted to the practice, as getting into your yoga gear signifies to you that it’s time to get in the zone. Consider these essentials as you shop:
- Yoga pants. Whether you prefer soft and flowy options or form-fitting, sculpting spandex, having flexible, comfortable pants will make it much easier to settle into your flow.
- A durable, plush yoga mat. Yoga mats are not all equal in quality. Investing in a supportive, shock-absorbing mat will make your stretches easier to accomplish, and make failure less impactful.
- Yoga blocks and straps. Some stretches may require you to use a strap to fully complete the motion, or a block to support yourself as you go for a longer stretch. Having the right gear gives you access to the full range of yoga flows available online.
Yoga not exactly your thing? Don’t stress. There are plenty of other ways to practice self-care.
Sleep is our body’s natural way of restoring and taking care of itself. While you sleep, your body repairs and damage you might have run into during the day, from paper cuts to the common cold. Sleep also gives your mind time to process and store the events of the day. In fact, some scientists theorize that the purpose of dreams is to help our subconscious process the day’s events — including stressful ones.
Though you might not actively be doing anything while sleeping, your body is hard at work practicing its own self-care. You can help it along by using the right tools and strategies, developing healthier sleep hygiene and experiencing the benefits of a truly restorative night’s sleep. For those that have trouble catching their nightly Z’s, these items may help:
- A weighted blanket. These mimic the body-feel of a tender hug, and can help ease the stress and anxiety many people feel before settling into sleep.
- Supportive pillows. Your pillow is where you rest your head for about a third of the day — it should be high-quality. Some people need firmer pillows to alleviate neck pain. Others need an acid reflux pillow to stop heartburn from interrupting their night of sleep. Finding the right pillow for you is critical for a good night’s sleep.
- Sleep aids. Drinking half a bottle of wine might put you right to sleep, but it’s probably not the healthiest habit to get into. And, anyway, alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep cycle. Instead, opt for a natural sleep aid, like melatonin, which can help you drift off without using any harsh chemicals that could disrupt your natural rhythm.
Another way to ensure a good night’s sleep is having a nightly routine that you consistently perform before getting into bed. Reading a chapter out of a book, having a calming mug of herbal tea, listening to soft music, or watching a funny TV show can all help. If you do choose a screen-based routine, however, blue-light glasses are a must-have. The blue rays emitted by screens trick your mind into thinking it’s daytime, ruining your night of sleep.
Some people prefer a more active approach to self-care. They want to meet their stressors head-on, and work through them intentionally. Being distracted by a hobby, exercise, or even sleep can help some people work through emotions in a natural and passive way. However, for some, it’s only by facing their fears and anxieties that they are able to overcome them.
If that sounds like you, there are a few tools that you can invest in that make this process much easier.
- A high-quality journal. Journaling is excellent active self-care. Sometimes, we don’t even realize the extent of what we are feeling until we put pen to paper and try to sort through our thoughts carefully. Having a high-quality journal makes the process all the more enticing, and makes it feel all the more sacred.
- Guided meditations. Guided meditations are available through innovative apps, which provide peaceful sounds, meditative scripts, and ambient music to help you let go of stress. Meditation is a way of actively working through what is troubling you, and is excellent self-care.
- Online therapy. If you can’t afford a traditional therapist, or can’t get into an office easily, there are online therapy resources to help. Web-based therapy platforms can help you work through your struggles with a real therapist over the phone or via video call.
The tools listed here are only half the battle, of course. Practicing self-care means developing healthy habits, a loving mindset, and genuine care for yourself. With the right tools, that process can be much easier.