If you’re anything like me you probably take pretty lousy care of yourself. I hate to make such a blatant judgment call, but I speak from experience.
As wives, moms, employees… I find that often times when we are trying to be everything for other people, we continually put ourselves last…. until we burn out.
In our minds, logically, we know that we can’t take care of others well unless we take care of ourselves. But, in the day to day, we are pretty lousy at putting that mantra into practice.
It might not be realistic that you can spend two hours every single night completely focused on yourself… as awesome as that would be. So, what are some ways that you can, today, make yourself a priority in an effort to relax, rejuvenate, and just care for yourself?
These simple self-care tips can easily fit into your life and help you get more mileage out of your day while being a stronger, healthier and happier version of yourself.
1) Know when to say “no.”
This one is HUGE.
It’s also easier for some people than others to understand the power of no. Whether it’s saying ‘yes’ to attending special events, completing tasks that we were not originally assigned, or taking over for a role just because there’s no one else to do it… a lot of us feel an obligation to always say yes.
Sometimes we feel guilty if we say no, or we feel like we’re being selfish.
And, don’t get me wrong…there are things that you should say yes to. It feels good to help others.
But, ultimately we are the managers of our own time. If we are constantly giving and saying “yes” to everything and everyone, we often take on more than we can handle and shortchange ourselves.
Knowing when to say “no” helps us set healthy boundaries in our work and professional relationships and find balance in our lives.
2)Drink water… and lots of it
I think I live in a chronic state of dehydration. I actually kind of hate the taste of clean water. But there have been days where I’ve noticed that I have drunk three cups of coffee and during the day, then had a glass of wine with dinner and not had water at all. (Spoiler alert… that’s not healthy)
I notice a complete difference when I have a large water bottle at my desk and sip on it throughout the day.
Your body needs water to function at its peak potential and to help you ward off stress, illness and bad juju.
If you struggle with drinking plain water like I do… try finding flavored water you like, throwing some fruit in your water bottle or using portable natural flavor enhancers for when you are on the go.
3)Get up and move.
I also don’t love to exercise even though we all know that getting some blood pumping is good for us.
(At this point you’re probably thinking “what the heck?” I hope you’re thinking that you can relate.) As an educator, I have to get at work super early. By the time I come home, it’s dinner time and homework time. A 45-minute workout just isn’t going to happen.
What can happen is a quick walk outside after dinner or a quick, guided workout. Here are a few free apps on my phone that I recommend to get you moving…even if you have less than 10 minutes:
Those hopes and dreams that you feel are silly and don’t want to share out loud. Write them down right then down every single day and then come back to them so that you can reaffirm yourself that you’re allowed to have those dreams. (BTW, they’re not crazy.)
Journaling is also a great way to write down any negative self-talk to get it out of your brain or to write down things you are grateful for to immediately boost your mood.
5) Get outside
Research has proven that sunlight helps improve mood. Vitamin D can strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and strengthen bones.
So, take a walk around the block during your lunch break or sit out on the porch for a few minutes in the morning with coffee for a more positive outlook. Of course, if you plan on being outside for more than 15 minutes, use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Don’t worry…it won’t block the positive benefits of the sun.
6) Surround yourself with positive people
No one likes a Negative Nellie. So, don’t be one… but also don’t surround yourself with them either.
Sometimes, you can’t avoid people with toxic attitudes. In those cases, don’t buy into the negativity. You will feed into their negativity if you commiserate and spew it back. Smile politely and take breaks if you can.
As best you can, try to surround yourself with people that lift you up…not bring you down. Negative energy just adds to stress and can even weaken our immune system.
Even if you have to head to Chick-Fil-A to be around positive people ( seriously…they’re really happy there), find a tribe that brings you joy.
7) Clean out excess junk
Even if you don’t have a full afternoon to deep clean your house, you’re running through your drawers and find a shirt you haven’t more than 5 years… it’s time to toss it.
Minimizing your life and clearing out clutter is incredibly freeing.
I can be a workaholic. I hate idle time…but idle time is actually necessary.
I am at a computer most of my work day…so when my evenings are doing social media management and blogging… that’s a lot of technology.
On average, those of us with smartphones check them over 50 times a day.
Too much screen-time can cause eye strain, muskulosckeletal troubles…not to mention the FOMO when jealousy is fueled by seeing everyone’s perfect-instagrammable lives.
I have begun a practice of turning off at 10:00 p.m. every night and reading a book. Sometimes, I want to keep going…keep typing, keep editing…whatever. But, once I force myself to turn it off…I find I actually sleep better and look forward to that “me” time.
I try to mix it up between motivational and inspirational books ( see a list below) and fun, fiction that doesn’t make me think too hard.
Awkward if my mom is reading this…but, sex is kinda huge in the self-care department.
We are all hard-wired for it…even if you’re not feeling it at the end of a long day when you have baby spit all over you and dry shampoo has been your bff for a week.
But, aside from feeling good…setting aside time for sex and orgasms is good for you…physically and mentally. A good orgasm can boost your self-confidence, lower anxiety, reduce pain, improve sleep…and help you age with grace.
10) Eat Breakfast
Even if you find yourself running late and rushing out the door in the morning, don’t skip the most important meal of the day.
Even something as small as a banana can help you regulate your blood sugar, boost your metabolism and give your body the wake-up charge it needs.
Check out this Pinterest board for some easy breakfast ideas!
11) Breathe Deeply
If you’re feeling particularly anxious during the day, or just need a moment of pause. Take a deep breath and get some extra oxygen to your body.
Try a simple belly breathing exercise to help you take deep breaths effectively.
A good stretch eases stiffness, boosts circulation…and it just feels plain good.
If you find yourself sitting a lot, make sure to stand up frequently and loosen out those limbs.
13) Listen To Your Favorite Playlist
Sometimes music can distract me, but if I’m in the middle of a mindless task at work I love plugging in my Bluetooth headphones and listening to my favorite playlist. It helps make the day go a little bit faster cast of the bit more enjoyable.
A little desk drumming with the pencil doesn’t hurt either.
14) Indulge In Moderation
I don’t know about you… but a little piece of dark chocolate or small glass of red wine never made me feel bad.
It’s perfectly okay to indulge yourself now and then. Let yourself have a little treat you enjoy…completely guilt-free.
15) Spend a little extra time in the shower…or bath.
Treat yourself to a special body wash in a scent you love and don’t rush through your shower. Let the steam make you pretend your bathroom is a home spa.
If you have a little extra time… a bubble bath can do wonders in easing tension and stress. This volcano candle has the most amazing smell and will definitely make you feel like you’re bathroom is your own secret getaway retreat.