Self care is incredibly important, and if it isn’t a current priority in your routine, it should be. By taking the best care of yourself, your body and mind will be happy, healthy, and thriving. A little self care can go a long way.
Now, the bummer about self care, is that it requires taking time out of our day to pour into ourselves. And as busy, stressed, distracted people that can be incredibly hard to do. If you have a family or loved ones to take care of, you might even feel guilty or selfish taking time for yourself.
However, without solid self care practices you may often find yourself running on empty - irritable and exhausted. By getting your fair share of self care, you’ll be happier, more energetic and productive, and you’ll be better able to take care of those around you and yourself. By adding the smallest smidge of self care to your routine, you may find yourself feeling so great you’ll want to make extra room in your schedule for even more!
Getting Started with Self Care
The most important thing you can do is forget about others’ influence or definition on what your self care routine should look like. Self care is personal, and it should be filled with things that fill you up, make you happy, bring you peace, and keep you centered.
You are your own individual with different stressors and interests in your life, and that is a beautiful thing - play into that. The more you can get into tune with what makes you happy and feeling your best, the better! That’s what self care is all about.
Below are my top 8 ideas for self care. Please remember, this is not an exhaustive list; and, to get the best results, it’s important to define what self care means to you. Put your own twist on each practice.
1. Prioritize Good Sleep
In my opinion, a quality night of sleep is self care at its finest! It’s incredible what a good night of sleep can do to improve your energy, attention, and mood throughout the day. Adults should get a minimum of 7 hours of quality sleep at night. To prep for an ideal night of shut eye, I recommend creating a cozy sleep environment, liming blue light before bedtime (such as from your phone or TV), and getting into a regular routine that works for you.
2. Set Intentions in the Morning
Dedicating 10 minutes to set intentions in the morning is a simple self care practice that will fill your day with joy and purpose. First of all, ditch your phone. Checking your phone is probably the first thing you do every morning, but it initiates your day by reacting to stress - notifications, to-do’s, reminders, what is he doing, what is she up to.
Stop reacting, and step into your day proactively by prioritizing what’s most important to you. Start your day by carving out a little time to focus on yourself and your goals for the day ahead.
A simple way to set intentions for your day is listing out your top 3 goals for the day. Ask yourself: ‘what three things do I want to accomplish today?’ and write them down. If you’re in a season of life where you’re trying to manifest larger goals, such as starting your own business, or losing 50 pounds this year then it may benefit you to jot down that vision on a daily basis then decide one thing that you’ll do today to work towards it.
3. Gut Health Check
Practice self care by caring for your gut. Maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms in your gut will contribute to optimal physical and mental health, immunity, and more! Just a few of the ways you can improve gut health is increasing your intake of prebiotics and probiotics in your diet. Good dietary sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and other fermented vegetables. Also be sure to load up on prebiotics such as whole fresh fruits and veggies, beans and legumes!
4. Exercise Regularly
Fitness can be an incredible release from the day, time to think, and an opportunity to decompress while simultaneously getting yourself care fill. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, and 2 strength training sessions a week. It doesn’t take a complicated program or intense sessions to see massive physical and mental health benefits, just regular, consistent movement. If you don’t know where to start, consider going for a daily walk on your lunch break, doing family fitness activities, or starting a new fitness program.
5. Eat Healthy
You may not have looked at it this way, but eating healthy is a great self care practice. When you fuel your body with good food, you’ll feel better and have sustained energy throughout the day. Eating healthy doesn’t need to be complicated, just maximize fresh, whole foods, and eat a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, nuts, and seeds; and, minimize processed, sugary junk you know isn’t good for you.
6. Stay Hydrated
Self care can be as simple as drinking your water for the day. Proper hydration can keep your skin clear and glowing, flush toxins, maintain regular digestion, lubricate joints, and more! It’s recommended that adults drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Are you getting enough water? If not, consider purchasing a water bottle to encourage you to drink more. Plus, filling up your bottle every now and again is a great excuse to take a break from your desk and move around a little.
7. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is an incredibly powerful self care practice that can improve your physical and psychological well being, mood, and quality of sleep - just to name a few! If you’re out of practice, a great way to be intentional about finding gratitude for things in your life is to keep a gratitude journal. Before going to bed each night, make a list of things you were thankful for that day. It can be as simple as a smile from a passerby, a text from a friend, or the beautiful sunset on your drive home from work. The fact is, we have a lot to be grateful for, taking a moment to notice it is a great way to practice self care.
8. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Finally, exercise self care by spending time with loved ones. This may seem counterintuitive - how does spending time with others count as self care? Well, it turns out humans are incredibly social beings and spending time with others can improve overall health and lower stress levels. Create a special and unique space to connect with those you care about most. For example, have a game night with your family, schedule a coffee date with a friend, or go to a workout class with your significant other.
I hope these ideas are helpful, but don’t stop here! There are endless things you can do to practice self care. Remember, self care is up to your own interpretation because it’s all about making yourself happier and healthier. So, show yourself a little kindness and love by treating yourself to quality self care.