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How to Practice Self-Care This Year

By Indy Summers

Between work stress and family drama, life can feel overwhelming at times. That's why it's more important than ever to carve out some time in your hectic day to practice self-care. Taking time out to do something you enjoy, whether it's meditating, baking, or watching funny videos, can help you feel in control and reduce anxiety. Whether you're a self-care newbie or a practiced pro looking to fine tune your self-care routine, read on to find out about some less well-known self-care tips that can boost your confidence and keep you chilled out this year.

1. Start a Gratitude Journal

Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can increase feelings of happiness over time. This method of journaling is very straightforward, and there's no need for elaborate prompts or expensive journals. You can keep your journal on scraps of paper, in a bound notebook, or online. To begin, simply jot down three to five things for which you were thankful that day. You might start with things that made you happy or inspired you. For example, perhaps you witnessed a beautiful sunrise or the first snowfall of the season, or maybe you had a great meal or unexpectedly saw an old friend and had a nice chat. While some aspects of a gratefulness journal may seem silly at first, as time passes, you'll find yourself noticing more positives in your life. In short, regular gratitude journaling can turn you into a "glass half full" kind of person.

2. Grow a Garden

Science suggests that being around nature and green space can help people feel less anxious and more at peace with themselves and the world around them. Even just seeing a tree outside of a window can lower blood pressure, and living near green spaces reduces violent and aggressive behavior. Since it might be hard for city dwellers to have regular access to the outdoors, try bringing the outdoors into your home year round. If you have a backyard, consider planting a flower or vegetable bed, even if it's just in a container. If you don't have outdoor space of your own, let nature inside by growing herbs or flowers in small containers on a windowsill, in a sunroom, or on a kitchen counter. Look for fragrant flowers, and make sure to consider the growing zone of your area for best results. Baby's tears, rosemary, and succulents are low maintenance plants that are perfect for beginners and anyone who has a hectic schedule.

3. Recharge with a Retreat

While it's important to include time for self-care every day, sometimes going away for a short retreat or mini-vacation can boost your ability to recharge, particularly if you're feeling burnt out. You might consider going to the beach for a day (or several!), heading out to a mountain cabin, or booking a day at the spa, and you may even want to go on a Bermuda cruise. Whatever place you choose for your self-care retreat, try to keep electronic use to a minimum while you're there to truly let yourself recharge. Relax by doing yoga or meditation, and give yourself some time to catch up on a novel or magazine that you've always wanted to read. To relax even more, you may want to watch some slow television shows or spend time with a pet.

4. Bake a Cake

Many people report that baking soothes them, helping them feel empowered, productive, and creative. If you're new to baking, you might want to start with trying one new recipe every weekend and look online for some baking tips. For inspiration, many bakers have online blogs and free recipes that can get you started. From cookies to cupcakes, pies, and puddings, it's easy to find a sweet treat that's nourishing and fun to make. Many sites now have gluten-free, vegan, and oil-free baking options, so your baking experience can be truly indulgent and joyful.

When starting any new self-care ritual, give it a few weeks to see how you like it. If it doesn't bring you joy, keep experimenting, and you'll eventually find a self-care routine that brings you comfort and helps you feel refreshed.

Indy Summers is a freelance writer interested in fashion, healthy living, and fitness. She has worked as an esthetician, as a personal trainer, and as a freelance model for several years. As such, she considers herself an expert in these industries and all topics related to them.

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