We all lead such busy lives that it’s important to take some time out and focus on yourself. Whether you’ve had a stressful day at work or looking after your children, everyone needs to take some time to de-stress and recenter themselves.

Self-care is an important practice that can look very different to everyone. For some, it may mean keeping their brain agile by learning a new skill, whereas for other people self-care might look like taking time out of their day to journal and process their feelings. If you haven’t figured out what form of self-care is right for you, here are 5 things that you can try.

1, Learn a new skill

People often think that practicing self-care is all about taking the time to relax and de-stress, but that isn’t always the case. Keeping your mind agile and creating challenges for yourself is an excellent form of self-care that you can adopt. Adopting a new hobby, like playing poker is a good example of a hobby that requires you to think strategically and to keep focussed in stressful situations. 

When you’re starting out with poker, it can take some time to learn all of the terminology and rules of the game. If you begin by looking through poker tips online as an introduction, you’ll quickly gain experience and confidence to play against other players. This new skill will give you something to do when you get home from work rather than just lying on the sofa in front of the TV all night – plus it will introduce you to a new community of passionate players of all levels.

2. Start a journal

Regularly keeping a journal can be an important practice if you often feel overwhelmed, emotional, or stressed out. It can become a safe space for you to unload your emotions and feelings without the pressure of having to be vulnerable in front of someone else – you can be completely honest and open as you know you’re the only person who will be reading your journal.

Spending five minutes in the morning when you wake up, or five minutes before you go to sleep is all the time you need to devote to journaling but can make a big difference to your mental well-being. Using a journal promotes self-reflection, helps to release anxieties, and can drive you forward on a journey of personal growth.

If you’ve never kept a journal before and don’t know where to start, you can find a range of beginner journal prompts online that can help you to reflect on how you are feeling.

3. Have a distraction-free evening

Sometimes, going home and sitting on your phone or watching TV can amplify the feelings of stress you have throughout the day. If you really want to unwind, creating a distraction-free zone is the first step towards having a relaxing evening.

To do this you should turn off all your devices that send you notifications, avoid turning on the TV or radio, and create a more relaxing atmosphere in your home.

Dim the lights, put on some calm music, make yourself a healthy dinner, and read a book while you’re in the bath – all things that don’t take too much brain power and can help you unwind properly after a busy day. 

4. Set goals and priorities for yourself 

One of the reasons why people can start to feel trapped and demotivated is because they have nothing to work towards; they do the same thing every day and don’t feel any forward movement in their lives. If you tend to feel like you’re stuck in a rut, setting goals for yourself can be a quick way to get yourself back on your feet and give some self-love.

These goals don’t have to be earth-shattering, in fact, it’s better if you set yourself realistic goals that you will actually be able to complete. Write down on your phone or in a notebook a list of things that you would like to achieve or accomplish, these things could include:

  • Save $100 in one month
  • Buy yourself a new car
  • Start a new hobby
  • Travel to 3 new places
  • Get a promotion at work

5. Reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken to for a while

The final thing you can do today to practice self-care is to reconnect with a family member or friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while. As human beings, we crave connection and if we stop nurturing the relationships we have with others we can feel isolated and lonely.

Organize to meet up with a friend after work for dinner or a drink so that you can catch up, or call someone on the phone if you don’t have the time to go out. Being able to connect with people, have a laugh with your friends, and forget about the things that have been stressing you out is a great way to practice self-care.