22 Feb 11 Self-Care Tips For a Happier, Healthier You
If you run your car without giving it gas, without changing the oil, and without checking up on it here and there, it’s eventually going to quit on you. Believe it or not, your body is the same way! So, why do so many of us treat our cars better than our bodies? In an age where everything has become so immediate – your email goes straight to your iPhone, you’re taking conference calls at home, and your business and personal life has merged into one another – it’s so easy to forget to take care of ourselves.
Don’t let your body become that beat up, “junker” car! It’s time for a better, happier you.
Tips for Self-Care
Here are some self-care tips to help you get closer to a healthier mind, body, and soul.
1. Designate “You” Time
I like to call this “unplugging.” Sometimes, when people are texting me at night, I simply tell them “I’m going to unplug.” Whatever conversation that needs to happen can wait until tomorrow. Remember, there once was a time when long-distance communication was through the mail, and it took days to get a response. Your texts can wait 8 hours!
“You” time is essential for rejuvenation. Take a long bath. Meditate. Perhaps read a book or watch Netflix by yourself with a tub of ice cream. It’s important to turn your “on” switch “off” at times.
2. Clean Something
Cleaning may seem like a chore when you have a million things to do, but if you get some free time, try turning on your favorite music and de-cluttering your closet or tidying up the room you spend the most time in (your office, living room, bedroom, etc.). You might be surprised at how refreshing this can be. Cleaning something has a way of lifting a weight off of your shoulders – it’s one less thing that will pile up when things are going crazy for you!
3. Use Your Vacation Time
If you have a job that allows you to build vacation time, do not waste it! Even if you don’t have the resources to take an extravagant trip, vacation time can still be used to just sit and read or catch up on other things that may be slipping into your background while work dominates the foreground. Spend this time with your loved ones, but don’t forget about “you” time!
4. Put Your Health First
There are no excuses that take priority over your health. Schedule regular check ups, dentist appointments, etc. If you don’t take care of you, you won’t be able to care for anyone else. You are never too busy!
5. Slowly Integrate Healthy Habits
The reason why most diets fail and exercise becomes strenuous is because we take on too much at once. Instead of giving up ALL sweets, try choosing certain weaknesses to target. Try eliminating soda instead of all caffeine. Set reasonable goals. Aim to exercise 3 days a week instead of aiming to lose 30 pounds.
You’ll find that healthy habits become much easier when they aren’t so daunting.
6. Consider a Pet
Pets can truly improve quality of life, especially if you live alone or lack children. They are great motivators, supporters, companions, etc. When you want to lie in bed all day, a pet can be that encouraging factor to get you on your feet (to walk the dog, feed the cats, etc.) They depend on you, leaving you feeling less lonely and more loved. They’re also forced to be there to listen to you when you’ve had a bad day.
7. Laugh and Smile More
Laughter truly is the best medicine — it is known to trigger an increase of endorphins in the brain. Physically smiling also causes people to actually feel the emotion of happiness. Watch a funny video once a day or surround yourself with humorous people. Simply having a good laugh once a day can prevent depression.
8. Don’t Forget to Sleep
Sleeping is the body’s way of repairing itself. Waking up refreshed is more beneficial and allows you to be more productive than pulling an all-nighter. Next time it’s midnight, and you’re considering continuing your work, just go to bed. You’ll wake up the next day with a fresh brain, which will allow you to think more clearly and produce more quality work anyway.
P.S. This means don’t push things off until the last minute!
9. Try a Fitness Class
There’s no better way to get motivated to exercise than to do it in a group. Try taking a yoga or Zumba class at your local gym. Exercising can be a great escape from the real world, and it’s also a good way to meet new people. If you find yourself feeling self-conscious, remind yourself that everyone is there for the same reason – to improve their own health and strength!
10. Go For A Walk
Maybe a class isn’t your idea of fun. You need exercise and fresh air. Going for a walk not only gives you both, but often clears your mind and helps you to deal better with stress. Walking a mile more ore 3 – 5 days a week can also help prevent weight gain.
11. Give Yourself 5 Positives for 1 Negative
A well-known concept in communication scholarship holds that people tend to over-exaggerate the negative and underestimate the positive. In relationships, it takes 5 positive acts to make up for 1 negative act. A common practice of Appreciative Inquiry, an organizational development strategy, is to have employees write down 3 positive or life-giving things that happen to them each day.
We are simply too hard on ourselves. We dwell on what we don’t like about ourselves and assume that if we do like anything about ourselves we are just conceited. Forget that notion and start loving yourself. Any time you think of something you wish to change about yourself, counteract that with five things you like about yourself.
You don’t have to be selfish to practice self-care!
What have I forgotten? If you practice self-care in a different way, please share in the comments below. We would love to include your ideas in a future post.