Self care is one of the most necessary things you can do in a day, especially if you’re often stressed. Team Aveo recently hosted evenings of self care in San Francisco and New York, and we’re excited to share what we learned.
We asked our guests to tell us about their favorite ways to be kind to themselves. Although everyone knew the major things we’re all supposed to do — get more sleep, exercise, take a bath — most attendees admitted that they felt too busy to regularly practice self care.
That got us thinking: how can busy Millennials fit self care into our hectic lives? We hope this list will inspire you to do something kind for yourself today.
Our days usually start and end at home, and that’s the easiest place to give yourself proper self care. These tips are quick, easy, and can trigger all kinds of positive feels.
Wake up gently ☀️
Do you check your social accounts and email the moment you wake up? Slamming your brain into gear can escalate stress and decrease productivity — negating the positive effects of sleep.
Tips to test new boundaries between yourself and your devices:
- Not checking your phone until you’ve showered, had a coffee, or eaten breakfast
- Gradually increasing your ‘no phone’ morning time, starting small with 5 minutes
- Charging your phone in the kitchen overnight instead of your bedroom
- Charging your phone in a box or drawstring bag, to promote mindfulness of how and when you’re accessing it in the morning
Stretch it out 🙆♀️
Stretching is a great way to set yourself up for a better day. Even a short morning routine can increase blood flow to your muscles, improve your posture, and create a sense of calm. Stretching before bed can relieve stress, and ease back and neck pain built up during the day.
How to stretch out your stretching sessions:
- Schedule stretching into your personal or work calendar, so that you’ll get a reminder
- If you crave structure, stretch along with YouTube or IGTV videos
- Visit a stretch bar and let a professional stretch you out — these classes are gaining popularity in cities around the world, including mobile services!
Get organized ✨
Organizing a small space – like your closet, medicine cabinet, or fridge – can do wonders for your mental well-being. You can bask in the sense of accomplishment, or you might find the process itself to be soothing! As an added bonus, being organized speeds up your daily routines.
Some organization ideas to get you started:
- Choose a motivational focus, such as ‘purge clothes I haven’t worn in two or more years’ — then donate your items, sell them to a recycled clothing store, or sell them yourself online
- Take the Marie Kondo approach to your belongings, by grabbing a set of cute boxes and baskets for organization
- Tackle a small area that feels doable, like checking all of your condiments for freshness and sorting them into groups, like salad dressings and marinades
Treat your senses 🤗
Boost your mental health in no time by using essential oils and diffusers. Aromatherapy can stimulate the positive and healing vibes you need.
- Lemon is a cheerful scent that can make you feel happy and energized
- Lavender’s calming scent can relieve anxiety and stress, and helps promote restful sleep
- Chamomile is another scent that soothes irritability, tension, and insomnia
- Eucalyptus smells clean and fresh, and can have soothing effects if you’re sick
- Cinnamon is spicy and exotic, and can stimulate a tired brain and improve concentration
- Vanilla is a warm, familiar scent that calls to mind fresh baked cookies and triggers happiness
It’s easy to add a scent into your day. You can add a few drops of essential oil to a cotton ball and store it in a cute dish on your desk, use shower melts or bath bombs, or use an aromatherapy lotion.
Relax into a routine ⏰
Whether it’s a weekly DIY face mask, a daily morning stretch, or Sunday meal prep, a simple routine can have great effects on your mental health. Free your mind of other thoughts by focusing on the motions of what you’re doing, and how it makes you feel.
Try one of these self care routines:
- Consistently wake up at the same time
- Set aside 10 minutes each morning for happiness: reading, listening to a podcast, or eating breakfast in peace and quiet
- Get ahead by spending time each evening on morning prep: set the coffee maker, plan your outfit, and pack your work bag
- Establish a decompression routine for when you get home after work, like stretching, reading, or turning off devices for 20 minutes
No matter how much you love what you do, stress is bound to creep into your workspace. Try these self care tips to give yourself a short n’ sweet reprieve in the middle of the day.
Go for a walk 🐾
A crazy workload can result in endless hours in your chair. Moving around provides a mental break, and helps prevent repetitive strain and other desk-related pains. It doesn’t have to be about achieving your step goal for the day — try doing nothing on your walk except breathing fresh air. If you can’t step outside, walk to another floor and back, or do a lap around the office.
Exercise your eyes 😍
Combat eye strain from all-day computer work by using the 20/20/20 rule — every twenty minutes, focus on something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. Taking care of your eyes throughout the day can reduce headaches. Try combining it with something else: get up and move, or drink water (which is also important to prevent dry eyes). Two self care acts in one!
Take an audio break 🎧
Being kind to yourself can be as easy as grabbing your AirPods or headphones. Just five minutes of your favorite playlist, podcast, or audiobook can improve your mood — and boost your motivation to finish work.
Phone a friend ☎️
Break up a busy day by making a quick call to someone completely separate from your work. A friendly voice, sharing a laugh, or a change of topic can ease your stress — or you can bounce ideas off an impartial listener to work through a creative block.
Do nothing 😌
Ever wonder why you get your best ideas while driving, or in the shower? Studies have shown that we do our best thinking when relaxed, not while working. Take ten minutes to go for a chill stroll, sit in a dark room, or shut your eyes and listen to white noise. Let your mind wander, and see where it goes.
If you find it difficult to find time for daily self care, scheduling a weekly reward into your calendar might be the method for you.
Find your flow 🧘
Yoga has all kinds of health benefits, but what if you can’t seem to find the right class for yourself? Alternative yoga classes might be your flavor. We’ve heard of yoga with kittens or goats, heavy metal yoga, hip hop yoga, and even Beyoncé yoga. You do you.
Power all the way down 🔇
Truly decompress and cut yourself off from outside stressors by booking a float session. The sensory deprivation they facilitate has all kinds of healing benefits. Even a 30-minute session can help free your mind. Don’t forget — you do your best thinking when relaxed!
You can recreate the benefits of the float experience at home as easily as lying down in a quiet, comfortable dark space — don’t forget to tell roommates or partners that you’re in Do Not Disturb mode! A silent bath in the dark or semi-dark is even better, and you’ll be surprised at the mental clarity you can achieve when free from devices and noise.
Get a rush 🥊
Self care doesn’t have to be slow and steady. It’s about taking care of yourself and your happiness, and that might mean an exhilarating form of stress release. Try a powerful kickboxing or aerial class, and let it all out.
Make it a marathon 📺
Self care also doesn’t have to be about physical activities. If TV brings you joy, then you don’t need an excuse to plan a movie marathon or full-season binge. Invite your S.O. or friends, or keep the time all to yourself. Stock up on your fave snacks and bevs, and enjoy.
Pet all the animals! 🐶
Animals are adorable, and petting them can decrease stress, depression, and anxiety, and stimulate joy. Set aside unplugged time each day to snuggle and play with your pet. If you don’t have a furry BFF, offer to walk a friend’s dog, or visit a dog park and just watch the happy doggos play! Animals are great companions for movie marathons and mindfulness walks, too.