The topic of self-care is one that has increasingly grown in popularity over the last decade. In an age where mantras like “treat yo’ self” have been granted their own holiday (October 13th), it can be hard to establish just exactly what investing in yourself means to you. While many self-care articles tend to amplify options for treating yourself that involve a similar cycle of tips, there are other, less-mainstream, underrated ways you can put yourself first as well. Consider the ideas below the next time you want to prioritize self-care but feel unsure of where to begin.
Assess Your Social Media
The fact of the matter is, it’s incredibly difficult to use social media without being influenced in some way. For example, a 2014 study revealed that individuals between the ages of 19 and 32 who spent the most time on social media a day had 2.2 times the risk of developing a future eating disorder. Whether you consider your social channels to be an issue in your life or not, a vital aspect of self-care is assessing the habits that might be hurting you. If there are certain people you follow or interact with on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook who bring more negativity to your life than positivity, it might be time to remove them from your friends list/unfollow them altogether. Look for communities on the internet that spread love, and devote your time to them instead. Beyond this, if you’ve been debating taking some permanent time off of social media for a while, use this as your sign to finally follow through on it. Assessing your social media accounts and how they impact your mental health is an underrated way to take better care of yourself in the coming months.
Upgrade Your Essentials
For obvious reasons, retail therapy has become one of the most popular indulgent forms of self-care out there. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with some fun shopping to lift your mood, an underrated spin to this classic way of treating yourself is by shopping for upgraded versions of things you already have. What exactly does this mean, you ask? In many cases, we tend to skimp out on essential items such as bedsheets, underwear, toothbrushes, or even socks. Investing in items like these is in short, quite underwhelming. However, you might be surprised by how much a simple change in your everyday essentials can impact your overall wellness. Instead of impulse buying an item you may only use once, treat yourself to something that enhances your life, and is essential to your day to day like quality underwear. Try making a list of all the less exciting items you know you need to purchase within the next month, and then research how you can upgrade them from their standard form. By investing in anything from a set of higher thread count sheets or opting for the more expensive (but softer) package of toilet paper, you can actually prioritize self-care while making your monthly required purchases.
Prioritize Your Sleep
While the importance of a good night’s sleep is already well-known to most, it’s not always a tip that makes the cut as it pertains to self-care. Snoozing your alarm several times in the morning before work, or simply feeling an overall sense of dread at the prospect of getting out of bed is not a foreign concept to the American working class. Studies have shown that even just one or two nights a week of bad sleep can lead to fatigue, loss of motivation, and irritability. Should you fall into this category, consider looking at your sleep habits as a form of self-care. Develop a concrete wind-down plan at the end of your day to get to bed earlier, and don’t sacrifice this time either. In some cases, placing a higher value on your sleep schedule might end up meaning you need to say “no” to others more, and that’s okay. An important aspect of self-care is being able to say no in order to put your needs first.
Listen to Yourself
Lastly, try and listen to yourself. If you’re finding that you’re more and more tired throughout the day, take note of what your body is telling you and get more sleep. If your social media accounts are making you feel anxious or you find you’re comparing yourself to others, maybe it’s time to get rid of them. Look for ways to upgrade your favorite essentials instead of putting a dent in your bank account. Take some time to identify the pain points in your life and alter them. Remember that self-care isn’t as cut and dry as treating yourself, it has more to do with gaining a deeper understanding of the things you need that you may be missing.