Sometimes it is indeed the simple things in life that are the best “medicine.” In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to get tense and stressed out. To maintain your mental and physical health, find time to nurture yourself, relax and unwind. Here are 10 suggestions to help get you started. As bonus, most are low- or no-cost activities. (Of course, only pursue those that you are medically cleared to do.)
- Book a spa treatment. Perhaps nothing is more relaxing than a spa treatment, be it a massage, pedicure, facial, acupressure or other treatment. Men take note that spa treatments are no longer the domain of women, and men now make up a large segment of spa clientele. The prevalence of day spas makes treatments less expensive and more accessible.
- Create art. Expressing yourself creatively is relaxing and fulfilling. Paint, draw, quilt, write, sculpt and more at home, or sign up for a class at your local community center, college or adult education center.
- Sip some wine. Studies show that if you enjoy a glass of wine or frosty mug of beer, drinking in moderation can actually be good for your health. Partake of your beverage of choice with a friend or a view, such as on your porch or in your garden, to savor the indulgence and boost relaxation.
- Take a nature walk. Being low impact, walking is one of the best exercises and is completely free. Find a local park or nature trail and take in the sights and sounds of plant and wildlife as you enjoy some time alone or chat with friends.
- Get together with friends. Speaking of friends, studies have shown that friendships are good for your mental and physical health. Laughing and chatting with friends is a great way to reduce stress and strengthen important bonds at the same time.
- Read a book. Reading a book transports you to another world, slows you down and takes you away from any current worries. Book swaps and local libraries are great ways to enjoy the latest books and classics for little or no cost. To make reading a social activity, join a book club.
- Eat some chocolate. Indeed chocolate, in moderation, is not a bad thing at all. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains healthy flavonoids and antioxidants. Savoring a bit of chocolate can be a fine indulgence after a busy day and help avoid those binges that come from depriving yourself of all sweets.
- Try yoga. Yoga’s focus on breath work, stretching and flexibility make it a great way to relax. There are many forms of yoga and modifications, so don’t let the old pretzel jokes intimidate you!
- Sleep in. Getting a good night’s sleep is beneficial to virtually all aspects of mental and physical health from weight to mental clarity. Make sleep a priority, and if you are having trouble sleeping, click on the link above for tips.
- Enjoy a long bath. A warm bath is a simple thing and certainly nothing new, but it’s nonetheless still a wonderful way to relax, soothe sore muscles and take some time for yourself. Pour in your favorite bath salts or even bubbles, dim the lights and put on your favorite mellow music to create a spa experience at home.
Carve out a little piece of each day to do something to nurture your soul, and you will surely reap the mental and physical benefits in the days and years to come.