Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines
You'll be of no use to anyone lest you take care of yourself. That's right — on the list of priorities, you should come first. For some personality types, this comes easier than others. No matter what your schedule and responsibilities, it's still possible to take time to nourish and refresh your mind and body. A little self-care goes a long way toward helping you become your better self — and it doesn't have to cost a thing. (See also: When Self-Care Actually Harms Your Budget)
1. Dance like no one's watching
Not only can dancing help to boost your spirits, it can also advance your mental health and well-being by stimulating the brain's sensory and motor circuits. Dancing on a regular basis, whether on stage or at home in your pajamas, is also known to help relieve chronic pain, reduce stress and anxiety, and stabilize the effects of diseases, such as Parkinson's.
2. Soak up the sun
For a natural boost of serotonin — the hormone that promotes happiness and good feelings — look no further than the sunshine beaming outside your front door. A healthy dose of UV rays can help to make you feel calm, cool, and collected, while also working to prevent seasonal affective disorder. No matter the weather, time spent in the great outdoors is a proven mood booster, so don't let a little cloud cover or drizzle prevent you from spending more time in nature. Plus, you don't have to pay a dime to walk outside.
3. Practice yoga
The use of yoga as a system of self-care and healing is one of many beneficial reasons to do it. Rather than viewing yoga as a means to getting a good workout, the ancient art of movement and breath work can be used as a tool for developing the right attitude to face life's great challenges. Luckily, you don't need a fancy yoga studio membership to reap all of these benefits. Yoga Journal and YouTube, for example, offer free videos for energizing morning yoga sequences to start you on your journey toward peace and contentment. Look for free yoga apps on your smartphone, too. (See also: Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes)
4. Sleep on your side
Experts insist that sleeping on your side offers the best chance for a night of uninterrupted slumber. Side-sleepers are also less likely to experience morning neck, back, or hip pain because this sleeping position helps to keep your spine well-supported.
Pro tip: if sleeping on your side doesn't come naturally, or if it causes you to feel discomfort, consider placing a pillow between your legs to alleviate pressure on your hips and lower back.
5. Clean and moisturize your face
The best defense against pimples and clogged pores is a committed nighttime skin-cleaning regimen. Not only will removing all the dirt and makeup from your face before bed keep your skin looking clear, but it will also help you to feel more happy and confident. Not surprisingly, acne is often a trigger for depression, especially in teens. Of course, everyone's skin is different and this daily routine might not clear up acne completely, but it will certainly help prevent the spread of bacteria that causes breakouts.
The good news is there's no need to break the bank on designer night creams. Experts say even the most basic moisturizers are packed with peptides and vitamin C, and those are precisely the ingredients you need to make your skin firmer and prevent new wrinkles from forming.
6. Forgive and forget
When we release negative emotions, we create new space for more positivity within our psyche. According to Everett Worthington, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, learning to forgive others can improve not only your mental and emotional well-being, but also your physical health. "When you get rid of anger, your muscles relax, you're less anxious, you have more energy, [and] your immune system can strengthen," he told the American Psychological Association.
7. Reflect on your daily accomplishments
Celebrate your daily victories, no matter how small. Did you meet your goal to get up early and exercise before making the commute to work? Maybe you stood up for yourself in a difficult social situation, or performed a good deed for a stranger. Take a mental note of all you've achieved at the end of each day and spend a moment basking in that well-earned sense of satisfaction.
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