Self-care is probably a term you’ve heard a lot about in the last few years. From blogs to news articles, and even your friend’s coffee selfie on their Instagram feed. However, self-care is more than an excuse to give yourself a floral bubble bath (do we even need an excuse to do that?), but a paramount practice that should be adopted into your daily routine for the health of your body and mind. Now more than ever, it is important to step back and think about how we can best take care of ourselves.
Confused on how to start? No problem. Self-care can look different to everybody, but here are 10 tips and tricks that can help you get started.
Our minds are always on the go. But just like our body, our minds need to be cleansed too, and meditation is a great way to gain mental clarity. Meditation has been recorded to have plenty of benefits; such as reducing anxiety, improving focus, and has even been recorded to have the same effect as antidepressants.
Hours of the day don’t need to be given up to reap the rewards of meditating. In fact, 10 to 20 minutes will be enough, especially if you haven’t done it before. Here are some tips on how to begin! First, find a quiet and peaceful place. This can be as simple as your bedroom, a backyard, or a park down the road. Next, use a soft item such as a cushion to sit on. Finally, set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes, this way you don’t have to constantly check the clock. As you gain more experience in meditating, you can adjust the clock for longer sessions.
9 Eat Healthily
Ever eat like junk and feel like junk? Well, eating healthy not only refreshes your physical health but also your mental health! Studies show that eating healthy food leaves you feeling more energized, reduces other health risks like heart disease and high blood pressure, and improves mood. In 2020, physical health is at the forefront of our minds, and eating healthier foods is a great way to take care of our bodies.
Here are some guidelines for navigating clean eating. The first trick is to eat unprocessed foods. Processed foods come with a litany of chemicals, salts, and sugars that don’t improve your health and often leave you feeling sick. A helpful pointer for your next shop is to stick to the outer edges of the grocery store; the heavily processed stuff is further on the inside. Another trick is meal prepping. We’ve all had busy days where the last thing we want to do is cook. To avoid the takeout temptation, set aside some time to prepare healthy meals that are only a matter of minutes to heat up. Your wallet and body will thank you.
8 Clean Your Space
To best take care of ourselves, we should also take care of our environment. Sometimes, our homes, studios, or apartments can end up as cluttered and neglected as our thoughts. It can be hard to focus when a growing list of chores is looming over your shoulder. Cleaning your space can give you the clear mind you need to achieve your goals. There is actually a long list of benefits of a clean home. For instance, the activity boosts productivity, reduces stress, and also reduces the chances of catching a cold.
A messy home can be an overwhelming project to straighten up. Firstly, put on some music or a podcast that you enjoy listening to. Having something to listen to can take your mind off of the mess, and create a relaxing cleaning experience. Secondly, set aside one day a week as a cleaning day, so the messes that occur over the next six days don’t grow out of control.
7 Say No
Sometimes we stretch ourselves thin in fear of missing out on plans with friends and family. But saying no to that dinner party is just as important as saying yes. Learning to spend time with ourselves can be great for our mood and emotionally recharge us to be more present during other plans.
Saying no can be difficult. But you’d be surprised at how understanding people can be, especially your friends and family! To make things easier, give yourself at least one day a week that you keep for yourself, perhaps it’s Wednesday night. Not only that, but learn to actually say no rather than make excuses for missing plans. Your friends will appreciate the honesty, and learning how to express no is an important skill to have.
There’s a reason that exercise is such a popular suggestion everywhere, and that’s because it works! Exercising doesn’t have to be long hours pumping iron at the gym, even moving your body 30 minutes a day can have wonderful effects for your health and mind. For example, just walking 30 minutes a day can improve bone strength, reduce body fat, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Beginning an exercising routine, even if it is just 30 minutes a day, can be intimidating. Choose specific days of the week to get at least half an hour of physical activity, and stick to that schedule. For example, start with Tuesdays and Thursdays. Another suggestion is to exercise in the morning before you start your workday. Exercising in the morning will leave you feeling more energized and refreshed, and you won’t have to worry about finding spare time after work.
5 Invest in your hobbies
When was the last time you painted, wrote something, or knit? It is easy to neglect activities that feel like they don’t profit us or apply to work. But the thing is, these activities provide a creative outlet that can improve your emotional health. It is important to invest in things that you enjoy because you are also investing in you. Having a hobby can have multiple positives, including connecting you with groups with similar interests, allowing you to take a productive break, and focusing in the moment.
If you don’t know where to start, allow yourself to experiment in different past times. There are also different quizzes online that can help you find a hobby. Ask questions to your friends about what they like to do, invest in crafting items that sound enjoyable to you. Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to be good at something in order to enjoy it. Having a hobby is for your personal enjoyment and growth.
4 Stay Hydrated
Just like a lot of the other tips on this list, keeping our bodies hydrated is incredibly important but easy to forget. While coffee is always a welcome afternoon drink, it’s important to nourish your body with fluids that will actually hydrate you. For example, by drinking water, you’re improving your skin’s softness, mood, and cognition. Below are some tips on how to remember to keep yourself hydrated.
For one, buy a reusable water bottle that can be carried anywhere. That way, whether at the office desk or in the car, you won’t slack on keeping the good fluids coming. Sweeten your water with slices of fruit to keep things interesting, this will also help to cut back on snacking. Alternatively, drink warm teas beneficial to your health if you miss warm afternoon coffee.
Investing in a journal is a great way to manage thoughts, and a wonderful tool when it comes to self-improvement. Small writing exercises such as writing yourself a love note, writing things you’re thankful for, or even completing a to-do list can benefit our productivity, mood, and self-value. Just like meditation, journaling is an exercise for the mind and can help us gain mental clarity.
If you’re not much of a writer, don’t sweat! A personal journal is meant for your eyes only. The internet is a great way to look for prompts on where to start, there are also countless other prompt journals on the market available to buy. Feel free to bullet-journal your day, even a short amount of journal exercise can produce a healthy emotional reflection.
2 Turn your phone off
I know, I know…we may sound like your grandparents with this tip, but it’s worth going a few hours a day without the constant temptation of a phone in your pocket. Now more than ever it’s hard to escape reality, the news, and work. Allow yourself some time of radio silence. Turning your phone off for a few hours a day can increase your efficiency and aid in your sleep schedule.
Keeping our phones off is a lot easier said than done. So, here are a few tips to help you out. Find a designated drawer or safe place that you can put your phone for a few hours. Trust us, having your phone at your side is way too tempting. Keep it in a designated area for an hour, you’ll be surprised at how much you want to reach for it! A great way to gain independence from your phone is to turn off notifications while it’s on, creating fewer distractions.
1 Get a Good Night's Sleep
Never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. In today’s world, it’s getting harder to cut ourselves some slack and escape from our work and social circles. The temptation to keep working on that project, reading those emails, and finish that spreadsheet is hard to ignore. But you’re not doing yourself any favors by depriving your body of some much-needed sleep. In fact, an appropriate night’s sleep is known to improve your memory, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.
Getting eight hours of sleep can be tricky. To help you out, reduce your exposure to blue light in the evening. Blue light is radiated from screens like your tv, smartphone, and computer. The rays can negatively affect your sleep hormones. In order to cut back on blue light, you can purchase blue light blocking glasses, download apps that reduce the blue light in the display, or turn off your screened devices at least two hours before bed. Another tip is to keep a consistent sleep and wake schedule. Eventually, your body will mold into the rhythm of a consistent sleep pattern.
In conclusion, self-care is all about taking care of our bodies and minds. By investing time in ourselves, we become better people for those around us. Although lifestyle changes can seem intimidating, we hope these 10 tips and tricks help you find a place to start!