Self-Care Habits for the Real World

By Joy McCarthy

Self-care has changed dramatically for me throughout the years. In my teens, self-care was a workout at my local YMCA which kept my energy up and now in my 40’s, self-care for me can be as simple as a cup of tea!

Making time for self-care is essential to our health and happiness and it’s as individual and unique as you are! What makes me feel joyous may be completely different for you. As much as I would love to have a bath with crystals, candles and classical music before bed, that’s just not going to happen until my daughter is a bit older. However, if that’s available to you, then do it! But here’s the thing, self-care doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming.

While a bath before bed is a great idea, if it’s not available to you timing wise, then I’ve got a list of self-care habits that I follow that are super easy for you to implement!

1. I take my supplements religiously

Natural health supplements can fill in nutritional gaps in your diet or provide support where you need it. For instance, if you are experiencing stress there are beneficial herbs like rhodiola and holy basil which are available in capsule or tea form. Rhodiola helps to balance out levels of cortisol and holy basil helps to normalize blood glucose levels which can be thrown off by stress hormones. Holy basil has positive effects on memory and cognition that can be negatively impacted by stress. I’ve personally benefited from using both of these herbs. It’s always best to speak with a natural healthcare practitioner about dosage and brands that are the right fit for you before integrating new supplements into your diet.

2. I love drinking tea

I’ve been a tea drinker for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until my adult years that I realized the many health benefits of tea. Sometimes I sip valerian or chamomile tea for relaxation, ginger tea for soothing my digestive system, or if I’m in need of a boost of energy, I will drink matcha or green tea. The simple act of boiling water, placing your tea leaves into a tea bag or a tea strainer and slowly sipping it, is pure bliss for me.

3. Get the music mineral into your day!

I love music! It helps me exercise more intensely, relaxes me when I’m stuck in traffic and has the power to lift my spirit and inspire me. According to McGill University, the brain is a very musical organ. Just as minerals are essential to our brain health, so is music! Music can stimulate the release of dopamine which is a feel-good neurotransmitter and this is why music can be used for self-care.

4. 4-7-8 Breathing

Sometimes we get caught up in the latest self-care fad that we forget some of the best self-care rituals are available for free and right under our nose! I first learned about 4-7-8 breathing from Dr. Weil and I loved it so much, I created a video about it to share this simple relaxation exercise with others.  Most of us go about our day without breathing with awareness which is when 4-7-8 breathing comes in handy. All you have to do is breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven and breathe out for a count of eight. Breathing deeply and with awareness calms our central nervous system, oxygenates our whole body and helps us relax. How awesome is that?

5. Being at home

I do quite a bit of travel throughout the year both for work and pleasure. Even though I really enjoy visiting new places and discovering great food, my favourite place to be is at home. Being home is the perfect place for me to relax and recharge and be with my favourite people – my husband and our daughter. I love the energy and feeling of my home. It’s definitely my oasis and when I look out my windows, all I see are trees, trees and more trees. It’s so peaceful!

Remember that self-care doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming. It should be something that makes you happy, calm and relaxed. Figure out what that looks like for you and make it a priority every day.


Joy McCarthy is the Founder of Joyous Health, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and best-selling author. A trusted nutrition expert, Joy has been featured in hundreds of publications both online and in print; and is a regular health expert on TV. Through her innate drive to inspire others, Joy has created numerous online programs and eBooks under JOYOUS U and is a faculty member at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Joy lives in Toronto with her husband Walker and their daughter Vienna.