7 self-care ideas to reduce your stress

Self-care is the important act of pausing and focusing inwardly to heal your body and mind. You could totally go to a spa, meditate or bust out some affirmations. But these unique self-care options address your whole being in some simple, yet truly life-changing ways.

get a plant

Plants are pretty. It’s that simple.

And while that might be enough for some people to bring one (or a few dozen) home, for others plants are like that popular girl in high school: pretty and intimidating. But if you get the right one for you, they’re really not so scary, and absolutely worth the minimal effort.

Research shows the numerous health benefits of caring for a plant: (having a living item, reduces stress, purifying the air). If you’re new to plant parenthood, consider a low maintenance plant, that need minimal watering.

get a pet

Pets are a lot of responsibility, for sure. Your parents weren’t underplaying it all those times they shot down your pleas to get a puppy for your birthday.

But like plants, studies have shown that caring for a pet can significantly reduce stress. So maybe training a puppy is more than you can commit to right now. That’s totally understandable. What about something smaller, like a hamster? Or if you want a really low commitment pet, consider a fish -- regular feeding and fishbowl cleaning are all that are required to keep these little guys happy.

commit to a new eating plan

Of all the items on this list, this is likely the suggestion that could have the greatest direct impact on your overall physical health, depending on the eating plan you choose.

While it is absolutely necessary to consult your doctor before making any major dietary changes, sticking with any new eating style, even for a set amount of time, has the benefit of allowing you the opportunity to keep a commitment to yourself, which in turn builds trust with yourself. When you trust yourself, you take chances you’ve been afraid of and accomplish goals you thought were beyond your reach.

Okay, so this may seem like a lot to expect from a meal plan, but what have you got to lose? Commit to it for 30 days and see what happens. Want to go gluten-free? Go for it? Want to brag to your friends about being a pescatarian? Yes, you do.

If after a month you realize this new style of eating isn’t for you, then you’ve still accomplished three things: keeping a promise to yourself, trying something new, and adding a few more recipes to your collection.

learn an outdoor activity

Who doesn’t look at those superfit people in their trendy outdoor gear with a little bit of envy? No, that’s just me?

Well even if you’ve never thought about becoming someone who wakes up before dawn on Saturday just to go out in nature before, I’m here to tell you it might just be a great life choice. Beyond sounding really cool, exercising in nature has the added benefits of fresh air and reduced stress.

take on a volunteer role

Of all the items on the list, this is the one that can have the greatest positive impact on other people.

This may seem obvious, but it is worth noting all the same, because often when we’re experiencing a difficult period, relief may be as simple as turning your focus outward. If spending several hours of your day off each week feels like more than you can commit to, start small. Is there a skill you’re an expert in? Maybe you can donate an hour or two of your time each month to an organization you love.

create and stick to a budget

Similar to following a new eating style, following a budget has the benefit of building self-trust by keeping a commitment to yourself. Additionally, following a budget can relieve so much unnecessary worry and stress (especially right before payday).

By knowing how much money is available to you and using it responsibly, you eliminate that nagging fear of wondering if you’ll be able to cover all your fixed expenses.

get a remote job

Sometimes the biggest daily stress is one that also seems the least easy to change: your job.

But if the frustrating commute or the long days at the office have taken their toll on your well-being, consider this your sign that it’s time for a change. If the pandemic has brought us anything good, it’s the increase of remote work opportunities.

If you’re looking for a change to remote work, this is your time! There are so many sites, such as Indeed and Flexjobs, that make it easier than ever. And if you want to combine your skills with your desire to help others, then now is your chance to build a career in doing good by snagging a remote nonprofit job

Self care has never been more talked about or more important. Prioritizing self-care has the potential to have a major impact on your life. Which of these ideas are you most excited to try?

— written by Kaitlin Bartlett

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