When it comes to the stresses of everyday life, too many of us push ourselves to the brink too often. We feverishly toil all day to check items off the to-do list, only to lie awake in bed worrying about all we have to do tomorrow — then, tomorrow comes. Before we know it, it’s been two months since we’ve had a moment of relaxation. Sound familiar? A non-stop life tends to give self-care the backseat, but in order to have healthy minds and be at our best, we must take care of ourselves. Here are a few tips for making self-care a priority in your life.
Practice the Basics Of Self-Care
One way that many people neglect their self-care is by overlooking the simple practices. Sleep is usually the last to be given attention, but it should be the first. Without proper sleep, our bodies and minds can’t regenerate, and a good sleep schedule can provide us with the energy we need to be at full potential. Though it’s not always easy, it’s also important that we make time to relax. Relaxation can improve our brain function, memory, and mood, and it lowers the risk of numerous health problems. Make time to sit for five minutes in silence to read, observe your surroundings, or practice mindfulness techniques. Being willing to say no to new responsibilities is another way to reduce stress.
Nutrition and Exercise
I know you’ve heard countless times about how diet and exercise are important for overall health. We all know it, but many of us refuse to change our habits. In a 2010 study by the APA, two-fifths of respondents said that stress has caused them to overeat or eat unhealthy foods. In the same study, 54 percent said that exercise was critical, but only 27 percent were pleased with their current fitness regimen. It can be difficult to eat well and exercise regularly, but if you make it through the awkward early stages and it becomes a part of your daily routine, you’ll quickly reap the benefits and wonder why you didn’t start it sooner. Start by preparing a nutritious lunch for work and walking for 20 minutes a day or shooting hoops at the park.
Find a Hobby
Hobbies also reduce stress in your life. They give you a chance to step away from your everyday problems and unwind, as well as provide you with an outlet for creativity and expression. Find something to do that you enjoy and don’t get paid for. It can be pretty much anything (i.e. watercoloring, journaling, rock climbing, archery, becoming a podcast buff, etc.). Many people, including those who are battling addiction, find yoga and meditation to be especially helpful in combating depression and improving self-image. Find something that fits your personality and lifestyle, and start by setting aside 30 minutes for it every other day.
Notice how each section of this article gets a little more fun? It’s all led up to this statement: Self-care sometimes means spoiling yourself. And the best part about it? It doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Go to a movie, take a nap, make an uplifting playlist and dance to it in your bedroom, put up a hammock and lounge in the backyard, or eat your favorite ice cream and watch rom-coms. Check out this list for other ways to spoil yourself for under $20. Sometimes, the only way to beat stress is to throw a big indulgence in its face.
Self-care can’t stay bound to the backseat if we want to have healthy minds and live happily. We have to make it a priority to deal with the stress that everyday life brings. Practicing the basics (i.e. getting sleep, relaxing, saying no) is a good place to start. Also, remember to eat well, exercise, and find a hobby to do regularly. And don’t forget to spoil yourself every now and then!