Carving out some time to get outside to read a good book or just sit and relax can help combat your daily stress. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Feeling stressed? You aren’t alone. There’s a lot going on these days. With the election, the pandemic and daily life, it’s no wonder that many people could use a few minutes for themselves to de-stress.

But for some, it’s easier to take care of the people around them than to take care of themselves. However, carving out time to de-stress is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle — just like flight attendants have always told us: put your oxygen mask on first. It’s hard to take care of others when you don’t take care of yourself.

Self-care activities can take many forms. Here are 10 self care practices to get you started.

— Take deep breaths. Spending just a few minutes throughout the day in slow, deep breathing can calm your mind and relax your body.

— Meditate. Mindful and guided meditation can create a deeply relaxed state. If you are unsure how to meditate, check out some meditation apps like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer.

— Make a gratitude list. Grab some paper and a pen and write down five things for which you are grateful and that make you happy.

— Read for fun. Pick up a magazine or book and spend time reading for the pure pleasure of it.

— Listen to your favorite music. Set your music device to your favorite station or playlist, sit back and just enjoy the tunes.

— Run a hot bath. Fill a tub with warm water and just soak yourself. For an added feeling of luxury, toss in some scented bath oils.

— Take a walk. Step away from your devices for a walking break.

Bake something. Pull out a favorite recipe and hit the kitchen. Cooking can not only be relaxing, but you can get double the feel-good vibes if you share your culinary creations with others.

— Call a friend. There is nothing like the sound of a good friend’s voice and laughter to lighten a mood.

— Yoga. Maine Yoga Adventures in Orono and Sea Change Yoga in Portland offer some classes on YouTube so you can spend five or 10 minutes stretching out those tense muscles, even if you can’t make it to the studio for a full class.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.