While many people believe self-care is taking bubble baths and ignoring texts from your boss, it’s actually much more than that. Self-care is how you take care of yourself, and while bubble baths and being able to set boundaries are ways you can start taking better care of yourself, it’s more of a mindset that can help you set aside time for yourself to improve your life in some way. Self-care can improve your physical and mental health while reducing stress and improving your quality of life. Once you’ve allowed yourself to care for yourself the same way you care for everyone else, you can start identifying ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life, no matter how busy you are. Here are a few ways to step back and take care of yourself.
- Take a Break
Work can be stressful, no matter what type of job you have. Additionally, sometimes your personal life can stress you out. You can refocus your energy and let your mind and body rest by taking a quick break for just a few minutes every day. Even if you feel like you don’t have time for a break, it’s important to take breaks every now and then to prevent yourself from burnout at work and home. For example, if you need to take a break while at work, consider taking a lunchtime walk to get fresh air and use your time to improve your mental and physical health simultaneously.
- Spend Time Outside
Getting outside more can help you improve your mental health because exposure to nature and fresh air can lower stress and boost happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. In addition, getting outside more can clear your mind and allow you to get into the sun for some much-needed and important vitamin D.
There are many ways to spend more time outdoors, including taking your dog for a walk, hiking, spending time at the beach, or even sipping some iced tea on your porch or balcony.
- Move More
Moving your body is a great way to start taking better care of your physical health. However, if your job requires you to live a sedentary lifestyle, it can be difficult to get to the gym or simply walk around more. Since busy people don’t have the time to drive all the way to the gym, workout for an hour, and drive back, they must find every opportunity to move more, even if it’s just taking little steps to become more active. For example, if you spend a lot of your day on the phone, you can walk around while you talk.
Unfortunately, if you spend your time sitting in front of a computer screen, becoming more active is going to be more difficult. Having a job that requires you to work on a computer all day means taking frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around to get your blood flowing.
You can plan for small movement breaks throughout your day to ensure you’re moving more. For example, you can set the alarm on your phone to tell you when you’ve been sitting too long or invest in a FitBit that will notify you when you haven’t moved your body for quite some time.
- Think Before You Eat
Not eating well can affect your body and your mental health. For example, if you’re so busy you skip lunch, you might become hungry, making you irritable. Conversely, if you overeat junk food when you’re stressed, you might become lethargic or even feel guilty that you ate so much. What you put in your body will affect every aspect of your life, so it’s important to think before you eat. Try trying to integrate sustainable eating habits that do good for your body and the planet.
If you’re someone who always goes for the easiest meal, consider food prepping a week’s worth of meals on a Sunday so you have enough time to plan. Additionally, you can start tracking what you eat and seeing how you feel after each meal.
- Celebrate Yourself
Self-care isn’t just about how well you treat your body; it’s about how well you treat yourself as a whole. Many people feel as though they aren’t good enough in some aspects of their life. Maybe you’re not feeling appreciated by your superiors at work, or maybe you’re so tired all the time you feel like you’re not doing your best at home. No matter the case, it’s important that you celebrate your accomplishments even when no one else does. You need to be your biggest, loudest cheerleader to stay motivated and confident.
- Talk to a Professional
Sometimes you’ll need to ask for help, and there’s no shame in getting online therapy to help improve certain aspects of your life you’re struggling with. For example, therapy can help you learn stress management techniques to feel happier at work, even when on tight deadlines. Additionally, talking to a therapist can help you find ways to solve problems in your life that you can’t on your own. Anyone can benefit from therapy, providing them with a safe space to talk about their problems without feeling like they’re being judged.
- Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for physical and mental health. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may not be as productive the next day. Additionally, lack of sleep can raise cortisol levels resulting in weight gain and poor mental health. So even when you’re on tight deadlines or worried about something, it’s important to prioritize sleep to ensure you have the mental and physical capacity to deal with life’s problems head-on. Many people have a tough time sleeping during the hot summer months. If this is the case for you, consider purchasing some cooling sheets that can help keep you from heating up during the night.
- Create a Self-Care Routine
A self-care routine doesn’t mean an hour of skincare every day before bed necessarily, but it does mean taking some time out of your day to do something you care about. Many people prefer to do a nightly self-care routine where they put some skincare or hair care products. If you’ve never had a beauty routine, don’t underestimate the tranquility it can bring. Targeting skincare or hair concerns, such as hair loss, can help you build your self-esteem, relax, and feel and look your best.
Prioritizing Self Care
Many people feel like they’re too busy and have too many responsibilities to take time out of every day to do something that can benefit their physical and mental health. However, not taking care of yourself can lead to burnout in more ways than one. If you want to improve your quality of life and be happy even during stressful periods, you need to learn how to properly take care of yourself.