A lot of the time, we’re so busy taking care of others that we totally forget to take care of ourselves—or even how to do it. If self-care seems a bit indulgent to you, think of it this way: Proactively taking care of yourself can make you more resilient to stress, more energetic and more able to be a real-life superhero to your family, friends and community.
Here are some self-care tips that don’t take a lot of time and money, and can help you form new habits that put your well-being first.
If you’re stressed
Everyday challenges and inconveniences will never magically disappear, but you can control how you face them. Start with some simple ways to manage stress.
Exercise offers the dual benefits of relieving stress and, over time, boosting your energy. Best of all, you can probably start incorporating exercise into your daily or weekly routine right now, regardless of how much time you have or how fit you think you are. If you need help getting into an exercise routine and just aren’t sure what your options are or want to try something new, head here and I’ll get back with you right away!
Self-care tip: Start small and make it achievable and enjoyable so that you’ll be more likely to stick with it. And make it your goal to work toward exercising for a solid 30 minutes a day, five days a week. But remember: exercise doesn’t have to be intense to help relieve stress, just get some movement in.
Create a realistic to-do list.
Do you always feel like you’re forgetting something and then wonder why you’re stressed out? A little organization can go a long way toward creating inner calm. Making a simple list can help you take control of your time. Bonus points: Checking tasks off your to-do list will give you a boost.
Self-care tip: Don’t let your to-do list get out of control; if it’s too long and unreasonable, it’ll feel overwhelming. Make it more manageable by prioritizing two or three things you want to accomplish each day, and then do them. Or chunk out your list into things you must get done (these get priority), should get done (these can fall by the wayside if need be) and want to get done (make sure it includes something you’ll enjoy). Also, don’t forget to reward yourself when your list is done.
If you’re tired
It’s the early afternoon and you find yourself ready to curl up right where you are and take a little cat nap. Sound familiar? Ward off that pesky afternoon slump by supporting your sleep quality and making some easy changes to your diet.
Get quality sleep.
Set yourself up for success during the day by getting better sleep each night. The benefits of consistent, quality sleep include increased energy and focus, as well as reduced stress levels.
Self-care tip: Do a quick audit of your sleep habits. Now’s your chance to break some bad habits and create positive new ones. An hour before bed, start winding down, which can include limiting your time looking at glowing screens (and if you can’t, see if your device has a nighttime mode that limits blue light). Remember to assess your sleep environment as well. Is your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary for slumber? If you’re sensitive to noise, invest in a white noise machine or earplugs. Is light more the issue? Use black-out curtains if you’re bothered by street lights at night or bright morning sun.
Fatigue and stress can cause us to reach for more sugary treats, fatty foods and caffeinated drinks. While they might provide a temporary boost, they can also create swings in your blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling tired and moody.
Self-care tip: Aim to reduce the amount of sugar you consume, and bulk up on fruits and vegetables instead. Set yourself up for success by keeping better-for-you snacks on hand so you’re less tempted when that 2 PM slump hits. One of my greatest passions in life is helping to provide my clients nutritional support. If you’re interested in that, please fill out this form!
If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed
You deserve a break, so take one! Sure, it seems counter-intuitive, because taking a break actually involves doing nothing. But taking even five minutes to sit quietly can do a lot to take you out of the grind and give your mind and body a break. A quick reset might be all you need to feel reinvigorated and motivated to get back at it.
Treat yourself to a few minutes of quiet every day, without any distractions. By taking this time, you give your nervous system a well-deserved break, which can reduce stress and help you feel refreshed.
Self-care tip: Giving yourself a break can be as simple as removing external inputs, so try putting down your phone and turning off the TV. Or channel some inner calm by accessing your senses. Put on a face mask, run an aromatherapy diffuser with your favorite, calming and rejuvenating scents, like lavender or peppermint and kick back for a few minutes. Feeling stuck in your head? Try putting thoughts and feelings on paper to get them off your chest.