Often times we forget to take care of our mind, body and soul unless we are physically sick. Sometimes taking “me” time can feel a little selfish when it means telling friends no to plans or picking up an extra shift at work. What makes it harder to properly self care is that many of us live extremely busy lives which can take up a lot of our time and energy. It is so important to take care of our mental health and practice self love in order to combat stressors and keep our mind and body healthy and resilient. Here are eight easy ways you can implement self care into your life.
Get enough sleep at night
Getting the right amount of sleep plays a huge role in how you feel emotionally and physically. If you are lacking sleep for a period of time you may experience health effects like impairment of concentration and learning. Sleep deprivation can also play a role in heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. If you find that you have trouble falling asleep try avoiding caffeine after 5pm, take distractions out of your bedroom (like laptops, tv, cell phones) and put up thick curtains that can block out any sunlight.
Exercise at least 3 times a week
Exercise doesn’t only make you look good, but it helps you feel good as well. Exercising regularly can boost your mood by increasing the feel-good hormones and endorphins. It also improves your energy levels, decreases your chances of getting a number of diseases and helps improve your immune system.
You are what you eat. This is so true when it comes to how you feel. If you aren’t getting the proper nutrients in your diet, your body will take the hit. Not only will you increase the likelihood of type two diabetes, but your mental health can also be compromised. An unhealthy diet can put you at risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Even with a busy schedule you can incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle. Try meal prepping on Sunday so that you don’t have to worry or think about what you are eating throughout the week. If that seems out of the question, you can start by incorporating a healthy meal once a day.
Plan self-care time and stick to it
A lot of the time we can feel obligated to say yes to plans if we are “available,” even if we already have plans made with ourselves. It is important for anyone, even extroverts, to have “me time.” If you feel like you have a hard time saying no to last minute plans, or finding time to enjoy your own company, you can pre-set me time. This can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour a day. Me time can include going for a solo walk, reading a book, taking a long bath, or just simply sitting by yourself.
Being organized can have a high impact on your mental health. Studies show that living and working in a messy space can negatively impact your mood. Set time to get organized daily so that it doesn’t feel like a chore by the end of the week. A simple 10 minutes of cleanup time can get and keep you organized throughout the week. You can also incorporate other organizational skills like pre-planning your week in a notepad or on your phone. These can be simple “to-do” tasks to keep your days planned and will leave you prepared for the week as well as give you the ability to know when you are free to incorporate exercise and me-time into your routine.
Meditate first thing in the morning
Many times how we feel in the morning can have a lasting impact on the rest of our day. We all know how it feels to skip your morning coffee. That feeling can lead into the afternoon and possibly the rest of our day. Set an alarm to wake up 10 minutes before you would usually. There are many apps you can download to help facilitate with your morning meditation. Meditation can greatly improve your mental health. This can even be your “me time” for the week if you schedule is getting a little busy. If you don’t have time to meditate in the morning try it at night. Meditation before you sleep can actually help you fall asleep and regulate your sleeping patterns.
Go for a walk
A simple walk definitely counts as self-care. Going for a walk with no distractions will help you get exercise as well as give your mind time to relax and unwind after the stresses of the day. A walk can also help your memory as walking increases blood flow to the brain. If you are starting to feel a little lonely, you can also go for a walk with friends or family.
Listen to yourself
Your body does an excellent job at telling you what it needs, you just have to listen and pay attention. If you have a hard time noticing when you are taking on too much, spend a little more time checking in with yourself. Ask yourself questions like “What are my current wants and needs?” If you are feeling stressed, taking a quick 5 minute break from a hard project can decrease stress and actually help you be more productive. You can use this time to simply relax or even meditate. It is important to be aware to body signals such as stress, anxiety, and other feelings that may get worse over time if left unnoticed.