Self care is important in every stage of life. In fact, it’s crucial to your long-term health and well-being. But all too often, our days fly by, packed with obligations and activities. Self care can feel like a luxury, but it is essential to becoming your best self. Self care isn’t just about putting on your favorite lotion or drinking a glass of water; it’s about learning how to take good care of yourself every day so that you can flourish personally and professionally. Self care tips aren’t just pithy—they can help you find balance in your life while also keeping stress at bay. You won’t always have time for spa days or meditation sessions, but incorporating self care into your routine doesn’t have to be difficult. Even small gestures go a long way towards keeping stress at bay and maintaining your mental health.
1. Build time for self care into your day.
Time is the one resource you don’t get back. As you race towards the future, you’re taking precious time with loved ones and engaging with your passions. You don’t want to squander this opportunity. Creating space in your schedule for self care acts as a powerful preventative measure. If you struggle to carve out consistent time for yourself, start small—a quick yoga class or a walk around the block. Once you’ve found a few moments to add self care to your day, you’ll feel better equipped to deal with the inevitable demands life throws at you.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet.
Eating healthy is especially important for people who are in a high-pressure environment. When you’re under pressure, you may turn to sugary snacks or fast food meals to cope. While this might temporarily boost your energy, it’s also going to spike your blood sugar levels, which can decrease your energy levels in the long run. A healthier diet can also help decrease your risk of developing certain conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. Healthy dietary choices range from staying hydrated to eating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
3. Get some exercise every day.
Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to exercise, no matter what your age is. Studies show that people who exercise regularly tend to have better moods and feel less stressed. Additionally, exercise has been shown to improve many aspects of health, including blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels. So not only does it boost your mood and energy, it also has numerous long-term health benefits. Find something that you enjoy and that you think you’ll continue to do. If you have a dream that you’d like to pursue but have no idea how to make it a reality, start small. You don’t have to run a marathon the first day you lace up your shoes.
4. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Sleep is essential for our physical and emotional health. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, balances hormones and cleanses toxins from your body—all things that are crucial for maintaining optimal health and well-being. In addition to daily maintenance, sleep also has a crucial impact on your memory, productivity and creativity. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of psychological and physical conditions, including depression and high blood pressure, which can wreak havoc on your day. If you’re regularly catching fewer hours of sleep than you need, now is the time to change that. Make sure you have your room temperature comfortable and your bedroom dark. Don’t keep a phone or any other electronics in your bedroom—they can mess with your circadian rhythm, making it hard for your body to fall asleep when it’s dark. If you have a partner or family member who keeps you up at night, figure out a way to confide in them so you don’t feel like you’re alone.
5. Take care of your mental health.
Mental health is as important as physical health—it determines how well you perform both activities. If you have low self-esteem or have experienced trauma, you may be more prone to emotional outbursts or even depression. Mental health is more important than physical health because it impacts your daily life, even if you don’t notice it. Neglecting your mental health can make you feel depressed, anxious and irritable. It can also negatively impact your relationships with family and coworkers. Start by taking stock of your mental state: what do you feel like today? Get as detailed as possible with your answers. In addition to keeping a journal, seek out professional help if you need it—you don’t have to go it alone. Look for Psychology or Counseling departments in your local hospital, college campus or city center.
6. Don’t forget to breathe.
Your body is designed to breathe. When you take a moment to check in with yourself, you are reminding yourself to stay present and grounded. This can be as simple as sitting in silence and breathing or doing a mindful activity. Remember to be patient with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others or judge your actions. You are doing the best you can, but you are human and you will make mistakes. Learning from mistakes and growing from them is key to personal development. Self care isn’t a one-time deal. It’s a lifelong practice—one that doesn’t have to be daunting or complicated. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to flourishing.
Life is full of big and sometimes even scary things, but don’t forget to also celebrate the small things. Small acts of self care can include taking a moment to appreciate your loved ones or reflecting on the day. These can be as simple as sitting in silence and taking a few deep breaths or finding something to smile about in your day. Small acts of self care are important because they keep you grounded, remind you to breathe and help you stay connected to yourself. Taking a few moments to celebrate the small things in life will not only improve your mental health, it will also make you feel happier. Self care is more than just finding the time to do something for yourself. It’s about learning how to be patient, kind and loving towards yourself. These tips aren’t just for people who are struggling with mental health issues. Everyone can benefit from a little self care, even if you feel like you’re doing okay. It’s important to take care of yourself and be happy because you only get one life and it would be really sad to waste it!