If you’re looking for a change, make this year about self care! For those of you who don’t know, self care simply refers to anything and everything relating to taking care of yourself - mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s a concept that sounds obvious and easy, right? You’d be surprised, though, at how much we tend to neglect ourselves! To make it easy, here are a few simple lifestyle changes that can improve your self-care.
Develop a routine
Having a routine is one of the best ways to keep yourself happy and healthy. We’re creatures of habit, and having too much unpredictability in our lives can leave us feeling perpetually-hurried, disorganized, and stressed. Start small: set yourself a bedtime, and stick to it! An hour before bed, step away from your smartphone, television, and computer, and dedicate some time to something low-key, like reading a book, to relax. Eventually you can work in a set wake-up time, develop a nice morning routine, and begin incorporating other things you like to get done each day.
It’s easy to forget to take a minute to ourselves, especially in the middle of the day - and especially when we’re at work. It doesn’t take much to practice some self care at work or in the middle of the day, though. Just find something that re-energizes you! Drink some tea (or coffee, or water), read a few pages of a book that’s easy to pick up and put down, stand up and do a few stretches, or close your eyes and sort through your thoughts for a moment. Experiment, and you’ll find something that works best for you!
Cook for yourself (or others, if that’s your thing)
If you find yourself eating out for every meal, then it can be difficult to switch gears into preparing and cooking meals at home. However, cooking your own food can be a very calming activity, and it’s certainly one of the most rewarding! Look up a few super-simple recipes online to start and see where it takes you. Try to cook at least one of your own meals a day. Maybe you’ll find yourself bringing your own home-cooked meal to work in the future, instead of sitting in a drive-thru line for half of your lunch hour – and it’ll save you money, too!
Give yourself a treat
That’s right: an important part of self care is treating yourself! This isn’t buying everything you want and living a life of endless indulgence - but depriving yourself of life’s little pleasures is no way to live either! Whether your idea of a treat is getting a foot massage or taking an hour to enjoy a frappuccino and the nice weather sitting outside your favorite cafe - make it a thing!
Don’t worry, this isn’t about going on a 5 am, five-mile run: just spend some time outside! Get some fresh air! Look up at the sky, or the trees, or the lake - whatever scenic view inspires you. Science shows that walking - just walking - can make us healthier and more productive in life. Even if it’s just a loop around the block, go get yourself some sunshine!
Many of us see the beginning of the new year as a chance to clear our slates, as an opportunity for a fresh start. That’s why New Year’s Resolutions are so popular, after all! However, instead of resolving to lose 100 pounds or become an Olympic athlete this year, how about starting with something small? Something small but 100% doable, and something that’s guaranteed to improve your life: self care.