Self-care has rapidly evolved from a bougie buzzword to an undeniable essential for everyday well-being. In this fast-paced, deadline-driven world, the pressures of external forces have a way of weighing on you over time. If you don’t take the time and attention to zero in on restoring yourself, the rest of the outlets to which you exert your energy are bound to suffer, as will you. However, when proper care is directed to your very source, you’ll see a surge of vibrance that inevitably ripples out in all directions.
Sufficient rest is imperative. It can be easy to negotiate with yourself on hours of sleep when there are other, seemingly more pressing items to attend to. And yet, when you’re not rested, you’re not actually able to give those items as much attention as you know they deserve. Investing in ample sleep is a huge way of offering your other tasks your best, full attention.
Some easy ways to create a solid sleep routine are to follow a schedule, reserve the bed for sleep (and select bedtime activities), establish a bedtime ritual, get exercise everyday, avoid caffeine and alcohol (especially around bedtime), and make your bed as comfortable as possible.
Eat Well and Exercise
Your food is your fuel. Of course, everyone has guilty pleasures. But when you intentionally feed yourself a nutrient rich, balanced diet, you can truly feel the difference. Conversely, when you feed yourself poorly, you’re likely to experience discomfort and low energy. Think of your body as your very best friend: what do you want to feed that person? A slice of chocolate cake may seem like a good idea at first, but a delicious smoothie will undoubtedly come with greater gains.
Eating sensibly also allows for optimized energy and metabolism, opening the door to an array of new exercise opportunities. Not all exercise looks like a gym membership. If there’s a nearby natural area you can’t get enough of, start bringing your bike there. If you live close to a body of water, embrace the chance to go for a low-impact swim. When your favorite song comes on, don’t hesitate to break into a full-on dance. Making yourself sweat doesn’t just keep you physically fit, it also produces endorphins to promote a better mood.
If the mere suggestion evokes a scoff, you probably need this more than you realize. Despite the abstract nature of such a statement, putting de-stressing behaviors into action can be quite simple.
Setting aside five minutes at the start of your day to connect with your breath and clear your mind can have a miraculous effect on hours that follow. If mindful meditation isn’t your jam, try a few minutes of free journaling. Letting your thoughts flow onto a page can free up your headspace to think more clearly going forward. These tools don’t take long, but the impact is long-lasting.
Comfort is King
Have you been settling for a couch that doesn’t support your back? Do you dream of a special pair of mens designer sneakers each time you lace up your tattered old tennies? Has your bathrobe seen better days? These things may seem insignificant, but over time, you’re sending a message to your mind and body that you don’t deserve the best.
Guess what: you do! It’s not as though everyone can splurge on every last whim, all day, every day (wouldn’t that be nice!), but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to recognize the areas in which you do have the means to treat yourself. Even if it requires saving up, when you are eventually able to give yourself that long-awaited comfort, you will appreciate it that much more.
What sort of language are you using with yourself on a daily basis? What kinds of people are you surrounding yourself with? If the messages you’re receiving aren’t echoing your greatness, it’s time to reprogram them.
It may seem unimportant, but your subconscious mind is always listening. Spend a day paying extra attention to what it may be hearing, so you can re-tune it for the better. If you catch yourself serving up put-downs, find a way to reframe them in a positive light. Language is powerful, and so are you. When you harness that power, there’s nothing you can’t do.