Taking a few minutes out of your day for simple self care practices and to relax is so important. When you don’t take time for yourself, your life can start to feel like a treadmill of all work.
Try scheduling time for you into your week and you will feel the difference in your levels of stress and enjoyment of life.
As I’m recovering from an illness caused by toxicity, taking care of myself and keeping stress under control is more of a priority for me than earning money and being successful. I realize now if I’d taken better care of myself in the first place, I might not have gotten as sick as I did.
Here’s a few simple self-care practices I do regularly:
- Stay active. I make exercise a priority and do something most mornings. Besides making me look better, it makes me feel better and gets me off to a great start to the day. While I’m a fan of resistance training, I’ve been doing more yoga lately and besides making me more flexible, it’s helped me feel more relaxed too.
- Take a digital break. For example, only checking social media and e-mail at certain times of the day, turning your devices off in the evening, or taking a day of the weekend off (or both days). Experts suggest not checking your phone first thing in the morning until after you’ve done the most important thing you want to accomplish. Of course, it’s not always that easy to do as life can get it the way. Studies show that social media is addictive and isn’t good for our brains. I find social media stressful and have noticed recently that some of the successful people I’ve been following online are talking about its negative effects on their lives and how hard it is to keep up; some even canceled their social media accounts.
- Get a massage or facial. I do both every couple of weeks, which might seem like a luxury, but the massage is so relaxing and good for getting tight knots out of my shoulders, and the facial is good for my skin and makes me feel pampered.
- Meditate or do breathing exercises. It’s sometimes a struggle for me to meditate first thing in the morning as that’s when I exercise, but I fit it in during the day (along with some gratitude practice). If you’re new to meditation, see this article I wrote a while back.
- Read a book. Any kind of book is good, but I’m a bigger fan of reading a traditional paper book. I always have several books on my bedside table, plus more on my Kindle. I like to read fiction before I go to bed, though as work-related material can be too stimulating. See this article about why paper books are better than e-books.
- Make a cup of tea. Drinking a cup of Earl Grey tea in the afternoon is a ritual for me and I find its smell and taste heavenly.
- Have a relaxing bath. If you want to add to the experience, add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of epsom salt for a detoxing bath.
- Take an afternoon nap. It’s best to limit it to a short nap (like 20 minutes), otherwise you can wake up feeling groggy. I try to take one every day after lunch as it helps me feel refreshed.
- Go for a walk. Or at least get outside in nature every day. This is my favorite. Besides getting additional movement into my day, I’m getting some natural vitamin D from the sun, plus outdoor air is healthier than indoor air. I walk barefoot as much as I can to help ground my energies to the earth; I also have a grounding mat on my bed.
- Take a break. Taking a break is not being lazy or unproductive. When you get back to what you were doing, you’ll likely be more focused and productive. I’ve found that when I’m busy all the time and multi-tasking, I find it hard to focus on one thing and end up not accomplishing what I set out to do. Plus, it’s recommended that you get up from your desk and move around after sitting for about 20 minutes anyway. Your back will thank you for it at the end of the day.
- Have a date night or a girl’s (or guy’s) night out. It’s so easy to spend our evenings in front of the TV. Having meaningful connection with others is so important. I’ve begun accepting invitations to things I normally wouldn’t go to, because once I get there, I usually end up having a good time and I meet new people.
- Eat more green veggies. It sounds simple, but so many people I know rarely eat anything green. An easy way to get more veggies into your diet is to make a smoothie or juice them, and it will give you a quick boost of energy. If you’re new to smoothies, check out my smoothie article.
- Limit your time watching TV news. Seeing all the death and destruction from around the world first thing in the morning isn’t a great way to start your day, and studies show it isn’t good for our psychological health. In fact watching a lot of television isn’t great either. I feel like I’ve benefited from cutting back my TV time.
It’s NOT selfish to put yourself first. When you put YOU first, you’ll notice a difference in the way you show up in every area of your life, and your family, friends, co-workers, etc. will benefit too.