Sometimes you just need to put yourself first.
It’s no shock that stress is on the rise, whether you experience it at work or home or just watching the news of the day. And it can have dangerous health consequences if left unchecked. That’s where self-care techniques come in.
However, some self-care activities are easier or more accessible than others. Timeless advice like “learn meditation” or “practice deep breathing” is certainly useful, and the health benefits speak for themselves. But sometimes a good book or a bad TV show can also be the perfect way to take a break.
That’s why we asked HuffPost editors how they steal a little self-care time, whether it’s a science-backed trick or just a mindless habit that helps them take a breather. Check out their advice below:
1. Squeeze in a morning workout.
“I have found that the only way I can fit workouts into my day is early in the morning ― before the rest of my family wakes up. It’s a tiny fraction of my day I can make just about me, without email or other distractions. It means going to bed earlier than I used to, but I feel 100 percent better on days when I can get to it.” ― Kate Palmer, Editorial Director, Lifestyle
2. Tune into a show from across the pond.
“I watch British police procedurals like ‘Happy Valley’ or ‘Marcella’ ― nothing like a dastardly serial killer, a cold gray farmscape and a female antihero detective who is constantly drinking tea to make all my problems melt away.” ― Meredith Melnick, Executive Editor, Health & Science
3. Or watch some mind-numbing reality TV.
“There’s nothing quite like curling up on my couch and watching Hollywood 20- and 30-somethings battle out their problems in front of the camera and engage in general silliness (looking at you, ‘Vanderpump Rules’ cast). It doesn’t even matter if I’ve seen the episode before, it’s truly a wonderful escape.” ― Lindsay Holmes, Deputy Healthy Living Editor
4. Find some celebrity inspiration.
“I binge-watch ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race,’ which is the best television show in the history of humankind. Despite the obstacles some have faced, they also maintain the utmost sense of humor and grit. Rupaul’s mantra, ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’ always makes me say ‘Amen,’ too. I feel less alone and more hopeful after every episode.” ― Melissa Radzimski, Social Media Editor
5. Soak in the tub.
“I take a bath (wine optional). It forces me to not be on a phone or computer and being in water seems to inspire my best thinking. Also, bubbles make you feel like the princess you are.” ― Suzy Strutner, Lifestyle Editor
6. Plan a fun activity.
“I plan something to look forward to. If it’s an especially long week and I’m just slogging through, I’ll plan a dinner date for that weekend or hash out plans with a friend after work. I especially love ‘comfort dates,’ or activities I do over and over again, i.e. grabbing a burger and seeing a movie on a Friday night.” ― Abby Williams, Associate Editor, News & Emerging Platforms
7. Get lost in a good novel.
“When I need to practice self-care I turn to a book. Reading is a great way to escape reality, offer perspective, see characters triumph over adversity, learn tips and clear my mind.” ― Sahaj Kohli, Contributors Editor
8. Hang out with a loved one.
“I like to check in with myself and ask myself what it is I really need. I’m single, and sometimes I just want to be around people and connect. When I feel lonely I’ll reach out to my sister or friends and see who wants to hang out.” ― Allison Fox, Lifestyle Writer
9. Go for a walk by yourself.
“I take long walks whenever I’m feeling stressed. It gets me moving and into the fresh air, and having the chance to explore a new block or neighborhood is a very welcome diversion ― plus I can talk through my thoughts out loud without weirding out my roommates.” ― Anna McGrady, Editor, Growth & Analytics
10. Wander around your favorite store.
“Shopping. Even if I’m not buying anything, it’s a certain kind of therapy for me to browse through the racks at my favorite stores or dig in the racks of a vintage store, the thrill of scoring a great deal excites me long enough to distract me from pretty much anything else, at least for a few minutes.” ― Jamie Feldman, Fashion & Lifestyle Editor
11. Whip up a good meal.
“Picking out a recipe, putting on a podcast and drinking a glass of wine is my ultimate wind-down practice. It is super relaxing and yet feels productive at the same time.” ― Jamie Feldman
12. Take a long, hot shower.
“A hot shower makes me feel immediately better about almost any personal crisis. Having the time to gather my thoughts in a space devoid of technology and other human beings can be such a welcome relief.” ― Hayley Miller, Reporter
13. Revisit a favorite thing from your childhood.
“I’ve been finding that listening to the Harry Potter books on audiotape is super helpful. Especially since the message in those books is that truth, love and bravery trump evil. And also, ya know, chocolate. And yoga.” ― Elyse Wanshel, Associate Editor, Good News
Sounds like solid advice if you ask us.