How many times have you juggled several different priorities at once? How many of those times have you put aside your own needs and wants? If the answer is more than 5 times in the past couple of months, you are in the right place. Self-care is something we know we ought to practice, but it keeps getting lost in all our responsibilities and socializing. The implementing of self-care in your everyday routine is extremely important, since leaving it out can lead to being stressed, overwhelmed and overworked. You may end up feeling underappreciated, unfulfilled and eventually depressed.
To prevent feelings like these, you need to become the best version of yourself, and not just in one aspect. Being the best version of yourself does not mean just presenting a picture of the best version to other people, because that is double the work and very tiring. Being the best version of yourself means working on your mind, soul, and body. If you want to learn more about how to achieve exactly that, keep on reading!
1. Respect your ‘Me time’
Sometimes, you can feel like the day is just not long enough for everything you need to do. When you start feeling like this, it is time to stop. We do realize that stopping isn’t the option when you are swamped with professional responsibilities but learn to make time for yourself. You are the only person who can help you. And this should come almost as a mantra. Your time should be a time in the day, may it be one hour, or four, that you will devote to yourself, and yourself only. During this time, you may want to practice positive affirmations, meditate, take a relaxing hot bath or simply read something.
If you have a partner, explain to them why this is so important for your mental health and ask that they join you. There isn’t a better way to connect to someone than to sit quietly with them. No words, just being together. We guarantee that your relationship will get only better if your partner is willing to give it a go.
2. Don’t do the things you hate
This advice is so important. We are raised to be polite, to say yes even to the things we may not like, and to accept things as they are. However, you need to learn to say ‘No’ from time to time. For example, your friends really want to go to that new Thai restaurant, and they are bugging you to go with. Normally, you would say yes, even though you can’t stand the smell or taste of Thai food, but you feel obligated to go because they invited you. Obligated is the word sticking out here. You do not owe anyone anything!
Write that down and put it on your bathroom mirror if need be, and keep repeating it until it becomes carved in your head. You may feel the need to make up an excuse not to go. It is ok to say ‘No’, without having to explain yourself. And if your friends can’t understand that, then you should reconsider how good of friends they really are to you.
3. Think twice before agreeing on something
This closely relates to our previous point, but with a slight difference. Thinking twice before agreeing on something concerns your time availability and how to avoid being overworked. We all have a job we need to do, and that is perfectly fine. However, people often agree to do more than they can handle, thinking they will impress their superiors by doing so. Oftentimes, your superior won’t even notice that you are taking an extra load on yourself, not to mention that they won’t praise you for it. They will only pile more and more workload on you and expect to see the same results. What’s worse is that the results will gradually get worse and you will look and feel tired, but your superior will get angry at you for not ‘doing your part’.
That is why you need to learn to say ‘Not now’. Explain how you have too much on your plate and don’t let yourself burn out. It won’t do you good, or your company, if you can’t continue working without having a few (sometimes more than just a few) days off.
Binge-watching TV shows never helped anyone achieve their goals of improving the daily self-care. So, what you need to do is spend a little more time doing some physical activity. We know, you can barely keep your head up when you get home from work, and all you want to do is just sit in front of the TV and not think about anything, but guess what? It is only going to make you feel worse. The guilt of not doing anything will slowly eat you from the inside. By doing exercise, your brain produces hormones called serotonin, which are the hormones of happiness. That means that every time you work out, your brain will send happy hormones to your body, and you will feel achieved, more peaceful and happy that you got to make something of your day.
By exercising we don’t necessarily mean go to the gym. There are plenty of ways you can gain more physical activity in your day. Doing yoga is one of them if you are a more down-to-earth kind of person. If you like having a trainer who will yell out positive reinforcements at you, try spin class. If you are a more outdoorsy person and enjoy nature, try running or riding a bicycle. Who knows, you may even get inspired to sign up for a triathlon!
5. Be mindful of what you eat
A big part of self-care is, of course, nutrition. Now is the time to stop making excuses and start making some good food. So what if you work full time and don’t have time to cook for yourself every day? Who said you should? Nowadays, there are so many options for working people, starting with companies that offer you ready meals (and deliver them to your home), vegetarian restaurants that offer an abundance of fresh salad and so on. You don’t have to eat hamburgers or pizzas, or munch on snacks from the vending machines at the office. With just a couple of hours weekly, you can portion snacks and even lunches for yourself. Say you work a forty, fifty, even sixty hours a week. No one expects you to come home and be a chef. However, if you are willing to bring more self-care into your daily routine, then you may consider cooking in advance. This means setting apart one day during the week where you will prep food, cook or bake everything and prepare yourself meals for the entire week.
There are so many meals you can make, portion and then freeze, only to reheat them when you need them. Add plenty of fruit to your diet and you will feel rejuvenated and refreshed in no time! Plus, a diet rich in omega acids from fish for example, or rich in nutrients from vegetables will help with soreness from exercising.
6. Make a home you enjoy in
At the end of every day, you need to feel relaxed and at ease. To help you achieve this, we chose this piece of advice – make a home you feel comfortable and happy in. If you are renting like most people, there are few things you can do. But make them count. If you haven’t already, paint the walls. Such a small and inexpensive change will brighten up your space for a better feel. There is also a way around those ugly kitchen counters that you hate. Peel and stick contact paper can make an enormous change in your kitchen, and leave no trace when you move out. Who knows, maybe your landlord ends up liking them.
Next, you may have been eyeing a new couch for the living room, but you hadn’t had the time or wanted to commit to buying a new one? Now’s the time to do it. Go to the store, or go online, pick a piece (or pieces) you are absolutely in love with. Out with the old, in with the new. Not only will you feel better after shopping, but the new pieces will help you feel more relaxed in your space, making it somewhere you enjoy spending your time in.
On the other hand, if you are the owner of the space you live in, now is the time to make changes you have been putting off. Do you want to renovate that dingy little toilet? Get a sledgehammer and get on with it! Tired of the same old breakfast nook? Sell the furniture online and get yourself a more appropriate style table and chairs – or a bench. Start making changes, and change will come to you.
7. Have a positive perspective
Although it may be challenging at times, projecting positivity into your daily routine is the ultimate self-care action. Surrounding yourself with negative energy and thoughts will only drag you down. Try to find the positive out of the negative situation. For example, if you’re stuck waiting in a long-line, rather than being upset because of the wait, take this time to check your unread email messages or better yet, send your mom a “How are you?” message.
When you find yourself in these dark situations and find it hard to think positive, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talking to someone, whether it be a friend, family member, or a professional, will certainly help.
There are many more self-care options available to you that you might not even be aware of. Mental health and awareness are among those topics that are too often overlooked, and with the increased convenience online counseling services such as BetterHelp.com offer, there’s no excuse to not take your own well-being into your own hands.