Self-care is a term that gets thrown around a lot lately, to the point where it’s easy to ignore or blow it off as some kind of “buzz word”. But, it’s so much more than that, and when you are willing to take self-care seriously, you might just start to see how much easier it will be to get through each day.
If your world revolves around waking up early, reaching for a second (or third) cup of coffee, hitting the pavement at work, driving around kids, getting home late, and barely having time to breathe, keep some of these tips in mind for taking care of yourself every day. By freeing up space for just a little bit of “me time,” you can give your energy a boost while lifting your mood, reducing your stress, and getting more out of life.
1. Set Specific Work Hours
Do you find yourself answering work emails before bed? Staying at the office late? Going in early? Do you take work home with you? Sometimes, it might feel necessary to do those things just to stay on top of your daily tasks. But, you could easily be bogging yourself down and adding extra stress. It won’t take long to feel completely burned out. Even if you love your job, those patterns can make you start to resent it.
So, stick to working during certain hours of the day, and dedicate the rest of your time to family, friends, or doing something good for yourself.
2. Practice Meditation Each Day
There are plenty of common misconceptions about meditation that keep people from trying it. You don’t have to sit in a specific room or position. You don’t have to do any chants. Meditation is simply a way to focus on your breathing while letting go of distractions and negative thoughts.
I love to use my singing bowl for just a few minutes each morning or when ever I want to clear my mind. Meditation allows you to be fully present in the moment, without worrying about work, family, etc.
By getting in the positive habit of meditating for 5-10 minutes every morning, you are doing something relaxing for yourself and setting a positive tone for the rest of the day.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Don’t scroll past this tip! So many people don’t get the sleep that they need in order to function properly. Sleep is crucial to everyday focus, energy levels and everything in between. Getting enough sleep also helps to “detox” the brain. Metaphorically speaking, it helps to charge your batteries every night so you are ready to focus and take on the next day.
You might find it hard to get the sleep you need with a busy schedule, but try to create a nighttime routine for yourself. Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, and create a relaxing environment in your bedroom that promotes healthy sleep.
4. Exercise Outside
You probably already know most of the physical health benefits of working out, but it can be a boost to your mental and emotional health, too. Exercise releases dopamine into the brain, causing you to feel happier. If you get in a workout while you are outside, you will experience even more benefits. Studies have shown that being outside for just 30 minutes each day can improve your mood and give you an energy boost.
5. Keep a Journal
You don’t have to be an avid writer to keep a journal. Writing down things about your day, even if they are just bullet points, can be a great self-reflection tool and allow you to look back on where you have been.
It is so easy to forget about the beautiful little moments you experience each day, including the people you meet, things that happen to you, or even a great meal that you had! When you carry a journal with you, you can easily write things down so that you will get into the habit of appreciating the little things more in your life.
6. Stay Connected With Friends and Family
Don’t take your connections for granted. Talking to the people you care about on a regular basis can help you to feel supported and loved. It will also help you to stay grounded. You don’t necessarily have to have long, drawn-out conversations. Try to make a point to talk to someone in your support circle at least once each day. You might be surprised of just how great it will make you feel.
7. Wake Up Slowly
When your alarm goes off, don’t reach for your phone to instantly answer those work emails or check social media. Instead, wake up slowly. Give yourself a few minutes to lay in bed and reflect, and mentally prepare yourself for the day. Take a shower, do your meditation, eat a healthy breakfast, read something positive and then you can start diving into your day. By waking up slowly, on your terms, you are setting a positive tone for your day and it can help you to feel more relaxed and focused.
8. Don’t Forget to Play
There is a good reason why children often seem so care-free. Granted, they don’t have to deal with all of the everyday stresses that adults do. But, for kids, the art of playing comes naturally. They use their imaginations. They can turn almost anything into a game or a fun experience. We tend to lose that as we get older, so do what you can to insert moments of play and fun into your everyday life. If you have children, get outside and play with them! If you don’t, find excuses to act like a kid again whenever possible.
Taking care of yourself every day actually doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time or effort. In fact, it is more about taking a step back from the things that are distracting you and making yourself a priority.