To put it simply, self-care is putting yourself first and making sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to nurture your body, mind and soul. It sounds easy, right? It is — but you’d be amazed at how many people neglect caring for themselves!
When we don’t practice self-care, our whole world can be affected. Our work-life balance gets out of whack, our eating habits aren’t healthy, we feel overly stressed and overwhelmed, our weight reaches unhealthy levels, and we find ourselves questioning every decision we make. It’s impossible to feel happy and balanced this way!
You don’t have to turn your life upside down in the name of self-care. The key is building healthy, simple habits — habits that we should be doing anyway, and ones we rarely realize we’re skipping!
Here are some self-care practices you can start adding to your daily routine. Try to do as many as you can, even if you don’t start doing them all at once. The more you implement into your lifestyle and the more frequently you practice them, the better you’ll feel. I promise you’ll see positive results in all areas of your life!
- Make healthy food choices as often as you can. It’s OK to splurge on your favorite treat once in a while, though!
- Establish a bedtime for yourself and follow it as often as possible. This will help ensure you get a full night of sleep.
- Keep up with your personal hygiene and grooming. There is a reason we all enjoy a long, hot shower — they make our bodies and minds feel relaxed and rejuvenated!
- Get physical activity every day, even if only for 10 minutes. A quick walk through a change of scenery can do wonders for improving your mood.
- Let go of unhealthy habits like using drugs, using tobacco products and drinking excessively. These practices weigh down on your physical and emotional health.
- Spend time in nature every day, even if only for 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at what a little fresh air and sunshine can do for your soul.
- Avoid depending on food in times of stress. Emotional eating can cause you to have an unhealthy relationship with food, which isn’t good for your emotional or physical wellness.
- Do one thing that makes you smile every day. This could be something as small as watching your favorite TV show or playing with your dog, or as big as volunteering for a homeless shelter or re-organizing a cluttered room in your home.
- Set times to arrive at and leave work every day, and stick to them as often as possible. This will help you establish a healthy work-life balance, and gives you an opportunity to achieve one small goal every single day — twice!
- Leave work issues and stress at the office — don’t take them home with you.
- This will go a long way in helping you establish balance between work and home.
- Don’t try to do everything you’re asked to do, whether you’re at home or at the office. It’s really important that you learn to say “no” and realize that no one will think less of you for doing so.
- Take a break every time you start to feel yourself getting overwhelmed, even if it’s only for a few minutes. This will help keep stress at bay. As a bonus, you’ll feel more productive when you’ve allowed yourself a chance to reset.
- Eliminate toxic relationships from your life. If someone drags you down constantly, they don’t deserve any of your time or energy.
Identify situations that make you feel negative emotions, and try to avoid them. If you find yourself in one, try to remove yourself as quickly and as responsibly as possible, and use positive coping behaviors afterward to help you deal with any onset stress.
- Don’t invest all of your self-worth into one aspect of your life, such as your job, your looks, your relationships or your wealth. You’ll feel too pressured to be perfect at the single thing that you’ve decided makes you valuable.
Focus as much as possible on the present moment rather than what’s happened in the past or what will happen in the future. You have zero control over the past, unknown control over the future, but plenty of opportunity for success in the here and now.
- Ask for help when you need it. This could be something as small as asking a friend to pick up your kids from school, or as big as reaching out to a counselor when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Think before you speak, especially when you’re feeling negative emotions. This helps ensure that you won’t feel bad about saying something hurtful in the heat of the moment, and therefore won’t have any regrets when the conversation is over.
- Make sure that your inner voice is positive. Avoid telling yourself that you can’t do something, that you’re unqualified, that you’re not worthy or that you’re undeserving. You must be kind to yourself!
- Practice being actively grateful for all that you have. No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, you woke up this morning — that alone is worth celebrating.
- Never feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are an important person, and you need to treat yourself that way!