Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

How to Practice Self Care Like a Memphian

In a city known for its grit and grind mentality, it’s easy to miss out on important opportunities to step back, slow down, and make time for a little thing we like to call *self care*. Although it may sound simply indulgent or like a waste of time, intentionally investing in your own wellness is critical to long term health, happiness and productivity. As the summer winds down, we’re here to help you unwind and find your groove so you can live your best life all year long. Check out our hacks for self care, 901 style:

Move your body

We’ve all been there. You spend your whole working day sitting or standing in essentially the same place, and even though you’ve hardly moved, you’re exhausted. The truth is that people aren’t meant to be sedentary, and there are few things you can do to make yourself feel better, stronger and more energetic than simply moving around and getting back in touch with how your body feels. Oftentimes, however, going to the gym or for a run can feel like work, and isn’t as restorative as it ought to be. As you’re planning your own self care, find a way to move and groove that excites and motivates you. Take a look at some of our recommendations:

Photo: Memphis Greenspace

  • Try yoga:
    • Whether you’re a first timer or a certified pro, yoga can be a great way for just about anyone to get back to center, developing strength, focus and flexibility along the way. Give peace a chance with these 13 places to do yoga in Memphis, or simply build your own arsenal of moves to achieve inner peace anywhere from the park to your living room.
  • Play sports:
    • Although many of us peaked in our middle school leagues, it’s especially easy to fall out of practice the older we get. There’s a reason people love sports though, and just because life moves on doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to spectating. If you love to play, get your head back in the game by joining a local league, finding a pickup game, or grabbing some friends to shake off the rust and have the time of your life. Check out our recommendations for free basketball courts, climbing, disc golf courses and alternative sports leagues.
  • Get outside:
    • It can be tough to abandon the sweet, sweet air conditioning when that signature Memphis Humidity’s really flexin on us, but there are few things better for decreasing stress and improving your overall health than spending time in the open air. No matter what your jam is, try to make time to get outside and get moving. We’ve compiled 40 ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Memphis to get you started.  

Treat yourself to an afternoon at ~The Spa~

No matter who you are, we bet you can’t help but feel pretty special when you get the opportunity to indulge in a little pampering session. While these opportunities may be more of an occasional treat than a part of your weekly routine, they can still be a great way to gas yourself up when you’re feeling run down. While at-home mani/pedi’s, bubble baths and face masks will never go out of style, check out three of our suggestions for unique spa experiences in Memphis:

Photo: The Salt Caves at Better Bodies Yoga

  • Baron’s Man Cave:
    • How many times can we say it? Spa! Care! Is! Not! Just! For! Women! Baron’s Man Cave is delivering high end care for “the modern man,” reinventing the obligatory trip to the barbershop into a thrilling and sophisticated experience. Make an appointment and get ready to look top-of-your-game with Baron’s tailored haircuts, straight razor shaves, gray reduction, manicures, pedicures and facials–because you’re worth it.
  • The Salt Cave:
    • Stop by the Salt Cave at Better Bodies Yoga for a totally different (but still cave themed) spa experience. Their unique salt therapy boasts such benefits as detoxifying the respiratory system, healing skin conditions and promoting better breathing, sounder sleep and overall wellness. Read more about it here.
  • Relax H20:
    • Stop by this downtown Memphis water spa to achieve a whole new level of relaxation. Relax H20 offers a unique aqua massage, targeted aromatherapy, massage chairs, and unique infrared therapy. Read more about one of our writers’ experience at Relax H20 here.

Fuel your best life

Here in Memphis, we love to eat, and eat WELL. We have some of the best food in the country, from down home comfort classics to fine cuisine. Memphians know better than anyone that food can be so much more than a means of survival–it’s a way to live. As you start thinking about self care, take a look at our recommendations for how to appreciate food and drink as a means of self care.

Photo: Lyfe Kitchen

  • Take yourself out to eat:
    • Whether you’re embarking on a pilgrimage to a familiar favorite or an adventure to try something new, making time for a delicious meal is a great way to fuel your body and warm your heart. It’s important, however, to remain conscious about just what you’re putting into your body. While rich, heavy comfort food, sauce-laden barbecue and greasy Southern delicacies can be a great indulgence every once in a while, man cannot live on carbs alone. Feel free to treat yourself by knocking out one of the top-notch local hotspots on our Memphis eats bucket list, but remember to be intentional about getting your regular fix of delicious (and healthy) veggies and essential nutrients at these clean eating spots in Memphis. Not only does good, clean food taste amazing, it’ll help you feel lighter, fuller and all-around better–we promise.
  • Hydrate or die-drate:
    • We can’t say it enough–water is the real MVP. One of the most important ways for anyone to stay healthy and happy is through regular and intentional hydration. Start carrying around a refillable water bottle as a reminder to get your drank on all day, every day. Drinking lots of water has been proven to clear your skin, improve mood and energy, and help with weight loss and organ function. Tbh, water is a miracle, and we should all be drinking more. Once you’ve got your key source of hydration nailed down though, feel free to take your self care to the next level by checking out one of these super vibey local coffee shops or one of Memphis’ renowned breweries.
  • Step into the kitchen:
    • Although the prospect of cooking can seem like a chore for some and a source of panic for others, it can also be a great way to engage in self care. Whether you need to spend some time in personal reflection, have an impromptu kitchen dance party or share quality time with family and friends, the process of cooking creates innumerable opportunities for meaningful experiences. Cooking a meal gives you the chance to learn something new, create and share memories and traditions and use your hands to create something satisfying and delicious which you can enjoy yourself or share with others. Stop by one of these great local farmers’ markets to pick up some fresh ingredients and get cooking.

Use your head

One of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself is to be intentional about your mental and emotional wellness. Battle lethargy and boredom by looking for ways to exercise your brain and learn about things that interest you. Spend time exploring places and things that make you happy, and enrich your conversations by being an active listener and informing yourself about topics that are important to you. Check out our recommendations for some great ways to spend time becoming the best version of yourself.

Photo: Emily Jordan

  • Start a journal:
    • Socrates tells us that the unexamined life is not worth living, but Socrates didn’t exactly have a job (or a Facebook… or Netflix). Most of us don’t have the time to sit around wrapped in bedsheets drinking wine and thinking about the nature of things, so it’s all too easy to forget to focus on personal reflection. Journalling is a great way to go about the essential process of taking time to process our thoughts, emotions, relationships, experiences, etc. The important thing to remember is that an effective journal looks different for everyone–fill yours with sketches, ideas, photos, emotional outpourings, grocery lists, important memories–whatever works for you. Pick up a journal that speaks to you at one of Memphis’ many boutiques and bookstores, then head to your favorite patio, park or coffee shop to get writing.
  • Read something interesting:
    • Whether you like novels, scientific articles or anything in between, take some time to read something that sparks your imagination. Reading is the perfect way to decompress, without checking out. To find something that piques your interest, give your eyes a break from your screen of choice and visit one of Memphis’ beautiful libraries or bookstores.
  • Learn something new:
    • Memphis is a city filled with culture and history, a fact evidenced by our host of galleries and museums. Try spending an afternoon wandering the Brooks Museum or the Pink Palace, the National Civil Rights Museum or the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Check out the galleries on South Main, and don’t be afraid to talk to the staff about what you’re looking at. Not only will you walk away with a deeper understanding and a broader perspective, the time spent in silence and contemplation will also leave you feeling rejuvinated and refreshed.

We’ve put together some great ideas to help you look out for #1, but ultimately you’re the only one who really knows what you need to stay thrivin. Whatever self care looks like for you, make time to prioritize your own well being and build healthy habits because you deserve it.

Got another good way to practice self care in Memphis? Let us know!