A self-care practice doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive.
Self-care isn't necessarily about getting a facial or a massage (although it could be if that's what you love), and it doesn't need to entail a half hour of daily meditation or a long yoga session (but it certainly can). It's really about taking some time, even just a few minutes, to slow down and be mindful. "Self-care is a practice of giving your body, mind, and soul attention," says clinical psychologist Nancy Irwin. "It's not selfish or indulgent. On the contrary, the goal is to create intention, awareness, and a better balance between work, family, and self." It's also been scientifically shown to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall well-being.
The key to self-care is to actually make it part of your daily lifestyle and stick to it. The goal is to consciously take a moment to press reset and do something healthy for yourself. While that's easier said than done during a busy day, it's actually doable if you start with just a few minutes each day. Here are ten simple, sustainable, quickie ways to incorporate self-care into a balanced Kirei lifestyle--a little bit at a time.
Three to five minutes of controlled breathing can center you and has been shown to help calm anxiety and slow your heart rate. Try this “box breathing” technique:
Sit comfortably and inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4.
Hold in that breath for a count of 4.
Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, hold that breath out for a count of 4, and repeat.
“Before bed, write down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for experiencing that day,” suggest Irwin. This could be anything from seeing a blue jay during a walk to getting a big hug from your child. “Reflecting on positive things—especially those fleeting moments that often go unnoticed—is an important part of self-care.”
Create an "Emotional Toolkit"
“I encourage my patients to create their own “emotional toolkit,” which is a list of things that make them smile and give them an instant boost of confidence,” says Irwin. “It might be a quote, photos of special people in your life, a favorite movie or song—things that always bring you happiness, inspiration, and comfort when you need them.”
Take a Relaxing Bath
There’s a reason that soaking in the tub is associated with self-care—it’s the ultimate time-to-yourself moment. A warm bath also offers therapeutic benefits, such as soothing sore muscles and helping you sleep better at night.
MyKirei by KAO Nourishing Body Wash multitasks as a mild cleanser and an aromatherapy bath gel that scents your soak with the uplifting citrus scent of yuzu.
Studies show that just 20 minutes of daily exercise can help decrease stress hormones, boost energy, and improve blood flow. In addition, a recent study found that even a 2-minute burst of physical activity, like climbing stairs or running on a treadmill, can be beneficial to cardiovascular health and overall longevity.
Connect With a Friend
Social interaction and connection have been found to improve physical and mental health. IRL plans like grabbing a coffee with a workmate, playing with your kids, and chatting with a friend all count as healthy self-care.
Feed Your Senses
“Treating yourself to a beautifully scented body wash or a scented candle not only allows you to feel pampered, but it’s also a pleasurable way to trigger mindful awareness and be more in the moment,” says Irwin. When you engage your sense of smell and feel with appealing scents and textures, even the most mundane task, such as washing your hands, can be a self-care pleasure.
The MyKirei by KAO Foam Hand Washes pump out a perfect, frothy dollop of foam cleanser with a refreshing yuzu scent. To spark even more joy? Try MyKirei by KAO Yuzu Flower Foam Hand Wash, which deposits a sweet, foamy flower in the palm of your hand.
It’s easy to live on autopilot, especially during a busy week. Taking a moment to be mindfully aware and really savor a moment—whether it’s your morning latte, the sound of leaves rustling, or something hilarious that your child said today—be present for it.
Do What You Love
Self-care can sometimes mean doing what you choose instead of what you should do. “Those ‘shoulds’ come from external voices and many times have a negative implication, says Irwin. “Shifting to your choice or preference allows you to listen to your inner voice.” If that means canceling plans (that you’re supposed to do) to binge-watch The Crown on a Saturday night, then consider it self-care.
Being kind may be volunteering or being there for a friend (or a stranger) who needs you. Research shows that practicing kindness actually releases hormones that boost your mood and improve well-being. And don’t forget to be kind and compassionate to yourself too.