A woman journaling outside

7 Self-Care Practices for Adult Well-Being That May Surprise You

Getting older isn’t all bad for your mental health — you become wiser with life’s many ups and downs. However, with stress as rampant as it is in adulthood, self-care is essential for nurturing your needs and maintaining a positive outlook. 

When you think of self-care, bubble baths, massages and therapy may come to mind. However, more unique ways exist to nurture your mind, body and spirit. From laughing during yoga to walking barefoot outside, these self-care practices for adults might surprise you. 

Why Is Self-Care Important for Adults?

Adults face numerous stressors, such as caregiving responsibilities, heavy workloads and everything in between. Everyday situations weighing you down could include:

  • Negative relationships with family, friends, a spouse or children
  • Caregiving
  • Career
  • Poor financial health
  • Mental health problems 
  • Chronic conditions
  • Infertility
  • Grief and loss
  • Traumatic events
  • Climate change and environmental disasters
  • Major life changes

COVID-19, in particular, was challenging because it upended lives and caused significant loss. According to one study, there was a 27.6% increase in major depression cases during the pandemic, while anxiety disorders rose by 25.6%. The findings suggest many people share similar struggles worldwide and may need help coping.  

Experts have underscored the importance of self-care practices for adults to overcome hardships better. Those who prioritize themselves can improve their relationships, productivity, sleep, confidence and mental well-being. 

7 Self-Care Practices for Adults

If you’ve put self-care on the back burner, it may feel uncomfortable to prioritize your needs. Likewise, you might be interested in activities besides the occasional spa day. Here are seven self-care practices for adults you may have yet to consider.

1. Laughter Yoga

When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Most people would do anything to bottle up the feel-good sensations afterward. If giggle fits leave you feeling upbeat, try laughter yoga. 

Laughter yoga was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, who believes the body can’t distinguish between genuine and forced laughter. A yoga instructor guides you through simulated laughing and yogic breathing to ward off stress. According to research, the practice significantly improves the endocrine stress response and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.

2. Learning Something New

You may not realize it, but upskilling is the ultimate self-care practice for adults. Learning new things stimulates your brain and sharpens your cognition, memory and focus. Once you’ve mastered something, you’ll also enhance your self-esteem and confidence. 

Additionally, absorbing new information can help take your mind off your worries and concerns. Perhaps you didn’t know you had a knack for photography or painting, or you’ve been eager to learn to cook something from global cuisine. Dive into subjects you’re passionate about and interested in and find fulfillment in discovery. 

3. Playtime

Playtime is essential for unwinding and relieving stress, regardless of whether you’re a child or a grown-up. Participating in activities you enjoy provides an escape from your problems, allowing you to recharge and reset your mind and body.

Research says adults require 150 minutes of physical activity daily to strengthen their bones and increase serotonin production in the brain. Playtime encourages creativity and exploration, which fosters problem-solving skills and out-of-the-box thinking. There are also opportunities to socialize through engaging pursuits like classes and games.

4. Volunteer Work

It feels good to help others, which is why volunteer work will always make you smile. Acts of kindness don’t have to be big — even small gestures count toward making someone’s day, such as donating to a food bank or helping an older neighbor carry groceries inside. 

Volunteering produces dopamine and oxytocin in your brain — what some people call happiness hormones. Lending a helping hand gives you a sense of purpose and fosters social connection. In turn, you can beat loneliness and achieve peace of mind. 

5. Gratitude Journaling

It can be hard to recognize the many blessings in your life when things go awry. Practicing gratitude puts the positives into perspective. Maybe you’re grateful for support from your parents, a negative result from a serious medical test or simply having the basic necessities. 

Keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent practice. This is particularly helpful for those who can’t or are unwilling to journal the traditional way. Instead, write down three things you’re thankful for daily and take time to reread them and reflect. 

Continue this regimen for 10 weeks to build a habit of gratitude. Eventually, you’ll remember your life’s joys, experiences and accomplishments and find beauty in the world around you.

6. Earthing

One self-care practice for adults is as simple as walking barefoot outside. In recent years, earthing has helped people reduce inflammation and pain and improve overall well-being. 

The Earth contains electrons that normalize immune, stress and inflammatory reactivity. Planting your feet on the ground allows your body to uptake the Earth’s electrons and balance free radicals and stress hormones. 

In a study of 59 COVID-19 patients, doctors discovered symptoms improved after one to three days of grounding, including fever, fatigue, chest pain, cough, and loss of taste and smell. If you feel a cold coming on or are experiencing bodily discomfort, kick off your shoes and walk in the grass. 

7. Digital Detox

People are constantly connected to devices, whether working on a laptop or checking social media on a phone. However, while technology has made life easier and more convenient, unplugging is essential as a form of self-care.

A digital detox eliminates continuous notifications and stress, while a lack of blue light regulates sleep. Putting your phone away and becoming more present can also help you build deeper social connections. 

Although taking a break from your electronics might be challenging — especially if you feel addicted to them — it is necessary to give yourself space to focus on your well-being. 

Take Care of Your Needs in Unique Ways

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care. You must explore different methods to find what works best for you. However, if the usual practices are of little interest to you, you might try something different and unconventional. Prioritize your needs without guilt to achieve greater health and happiness.

This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

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