In this hectic and fast-moving world, it’s imperative that we dedicate time to self-care and make sure we are meeting our most basic needs. Self-care may seem like a millennial concept, but in reality, it’s a centuries-old concept! Philosophers from ancient civilizations often discussed the benefits of self-love and reflection. We live in an age dominated by technology and instant gratification. It’s now more important than ever to invest in ourselves and work to improve both our physical and mental health!
So what exactly is self-care? The basis of self-care revolves around an individual taking action to prioritize their well-being and happiness. There will always be different variations of practicing self-care as everyone has different needs. Ultimately, no matter which form of self-care you choose to engage in, the core concept will remain the same.
The most significant challenge people face when starting to practice regular self-care is overcoming the guilt factor. Society teaches us to think that we should always be on the go and constantly working to stay productive. Contrary to this belief, you can’t properly optimize your time when you are stressed and overwhelmed! Taking the time to relax and look after yourself will ensure that you increase your productivity in the long run. You will quickly notice reduced stress levels and will find it much easier to stay focused!
Let’s take a look at some of the key elements of practicing self-care, as well as a few tips for incorporating them into your daily routine!
6 Self-Care Tips to Practice Every Day:
1. Get An Adequate Amount of Sleep
Getting a good night of sleep is essential as it allows your body and mind to recharge and prepare for the next day. Your body’s ability to function declines when you don’t get around 7-8 hours of sleep! Cutting your sleep time in favour of other activities may feel worth it to you at the moment, but an ongoing lack of sleep will contribute to dire health consequences!
Lowering your exposure to blue light will help you sleep better at night. A good habit to practice is to put away your electronics at least one hour before you go to bed. It was difficult for me to break my habit of using my phone before bed, but eventually, I kicked that habit to the curb! I now use that last hour of my day to read, which puts my mind at ease and keeps me in a relaxed state before snoozing! Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is one of the most important aspects of practicing self-care.
2. Implement a Healthy and Nutritious Diet
Another critical element of practicing self-care is to re-evaluate your diet. The most important thing to remember when you’re changing your diet is that balance is the key. Eating healthy is about providing your body with fuel through nutritious foods. It’s less of a temporary diet and more of a lifestyle change! Eating healthy does not mean that you have to cut out fats, carbs, and sugar entirely. As I mentioned earlier, you should be aiming to achieve balance! I find that it’s a lot easier to maintain a healthy diet when you still allow yourself to enjoy the occasional sweet treat! Diets often fail because people will try to cut out junk food all at once. Their cravings end up getting the best of them, and they revert to their old habits.
Over time, when you consistently provide your body with nutritious foods, the constant sugar cravings will cease. By allowing yourself to indulge in the occasional treat, you can slowly wean yourself off instead of going through withdrawal and ultimately quitting your new diet altogether.
3. Get Moving! Exercise for 30 Minutes per Day
While most people are aware of the physical benefits of exercising, many people have only recently begun to understand the positive effect that it can have on one’s mental health. Wellness experts say that it only takes 30 minutes a day of physical activity for your body to release endorphins, which will impact your mood and overall health.
I often hear people making excuses to get out of exercising. They claim they don’t want to pay for a gym membership and don’t have any fitness equipment at home. It seems many people get wrapped up in the idea that exercising means you should be running on a treadmill or lifting weights. Some people may enjoy doing that, but it’s okay if you don’t! There are so many different kinds of physical activities that you can partake in! Cycling, swimming, dancing and rock climbing are just a few examples of fun activities that you might enjoy and may not always associate with exercising.
I have always found that exercising is more enjoyable when you work out with others! Whether you’re attending dance, yoga or pilates classes together or just working out at the gym, it helps to have someone by your side, encouraging you to do your best! I love using my Apple Watch to send out challenges to friends and start competitions with them! Those competitions play a huge role in keeping me motivated to work out! I am really excited about Apple’s new Fitness+ service! There are various types of workout routines that you can follow along with, and they are taking my competitions to the next level!
4. Set Boundaries To Establish A Work-Life Balance
There’s no doubt that technology has done wonders for both our work and personal lives. However, there is an unfortunate consequence of having 24/7 access to our emails, calendars and task lists. It’s challenging to disconnect and have a distinct balance between our work and home life.
The boundary line continues to blur now that so many people are working from home. You need to establish boundaries early on and stick to them. If you get into the habit of answering emails and fulfilling requests from your boss at all hours of the day, it will be tough to draw the line later and teach them to respect your personal time.
Working later than you originally planned also tends to create a domino effect. With less free time in the evening, you are forced to push back everything else in your schedule, which may lead you to sleep later than initially planned.
5. Drop Everything and Read
Earlier, I discussed the importance of reducing your exposure to blue light before bed and mentioned that I spend the last hour of my day reading. Reading is a great way to wind down and de-stress. It gives your brain a much-needed break and distracts you from worrying about tomorrow’s to-do list. When you immerse yourself in a book, you allow yourself to develop empathy by viewing experiences from someone else’s perspective. The stories you read may offer insight into your own experiences and help solve situations that you face. Spending even as little as 15 minutes a day reading will make a difference in your mental health!
Journaling is one of the most underrated self-care activities that you can practice. I have always found the act of journaling to be very therapeutic. Rather than keeping your thoughts bottled up, expressing them on paper allows you to clear your mind and reduce anxiety levels. Studies have shown that journaling before bed is one of the best ways to improve your sleep at night!
Journaling is also an effective way to come to terms with difficult events in your life. Additionally, journaling is an excellent tool for goal tracking and personal development. If you find that you struggle with writing, consider using a themed journal with pre-existing writing prompts.
What are some of the steps you take to implement self-care practices into your daily routine? Share them in the comments below! If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: 5 Tips to Improve Your Work-Life Balance!