“Self-care” is a phrase often used, but not often understood.
The idea of taking uninterrupted time for oneself is simple at its core, but the difficulty lies in where to start. Adding another commitment to your already-stressful schedule feels like it will do more harm than good—but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The simplest way to begin your personal self-care journey is to work with the basics. Studies show that those who practice regular self-care have increased motivation, are less susceptible to illness, and even live longer. With all of those benefits, who would opt out of self-care?
If you’re new to the idea of self-care, or even hoping to refresh your old routine, look no further.
By: Emily Dinenberg
Self-care is defined as any necessary human regulatory function under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. Basically, this means any activity you choose to do to improve your mind, body, or spirit is fair game!
Here are 5 simple ways you can incorporate self-care into your daily life.
1. Surround Yourself With The Right People
The easiest way to begin a self-care journey, is to engage with “good” people. It’s important to remember that “good” doesn’t always mean the same definition that you might apply in other parts of your life.
In essence, “good people” are people who motivate, empower, and inspire you in any way. Toxic people, however, make you feel the opposite.
The next time you have a conversation with someone, take note of how you feel afterwards and ask yourself these questions:
- Do they make you feel supported?
- Are you encouraged to reach your goals?
- After a conversation with them, do you feel happy and energetic ?
If your answers are yes, then you’ve got a good person on your hands! Every day, look for the groups of people that make you feel like the best version of yourself and engage with them.
However, if you find yourself feeling less than good while interacting with a person or group, allow yourself the opportunity to step away.
If you’re having a hard time determining if your relationships with others are toxic, try looking for these signs that may be telling you that you should end your relationship.
2. Get Moving!
It’s hard to argue with the fact that exercise is good for you. In addition to increasing your life span and making you stronger, physical activity is also commonly known to produce endorphins, making you a happier and more positive person.
It’s difficult to find to time to incorporate physical activity into your every-day life—not everyone has the ability to knock out a 6 a.m. gym session before work.
Instead, focus on easy ways to incorporate more movement into your existing routine.
Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator or follow a 5-minute workout video online while you watch TV. It could even be as simple as walking to your favorite take-out restaurant to pick up an order, rather than having it delivered.
The point is that you’re moving your body more than usual. In turn, you’ll sleep better, have more energy and focus, and ultimately, become a happier person.
Check out these 5 outdoor activities that aren’t exercise!
3. Nourish Yourself
A balanced diet is one of the most important aspects of a successful self-care routine. Nutrition has the ability to affect your neurochemistry, altering your mood and responses to stressful situations. In addition to supplying your body with the nutrients it needs to function on a daily basis, eating healthy foods will also strengthen your learning, memory, and intellectual functioning.
Nourishing your body with healthy foods daily is simple, but not always feasible.
Creating new habits is always difficult, but through small daily changes, you can slowly and surely develop a healthy and enjoyable diet.
You can begin with small, daily food swaps:
Choose oatmeal instead over cereal, or almonds over potato chips! You’ll soon find yourself gravitating toward healthier, more wholesome snacks, because in addition to tasting great, they make you feel even better.
An even simpler way to nourish your body is to drink more water.
Carry a water bottle around with you and drink water regularly throughout the day. You’ll find yourself more energetic, well-rested, and have clearer skin by the following morning!
You can also turn a healthy diet into a fun activity. Try making stuffed peppers with cauliflower rice at home!
4. Talk It Out
Negative thoughts are toxic and turn us into our worst critics. When things don’t go as as planned, it’s easy to blame yourself, whether it’s for an error in the workplace or a fight at home. Jealousy is also a major culprit of negative thinking. These negative thoughts seem small, but can snowball into a larger and toxic image of yourself.
The next time you find yourself feeling negatively about yourself and your life, don’t let those thoughts stay inside you.
Instead, let them out. Talk to a family or friend you trust, or find a great therapist. You could even talk to your pet or write in a journal and talk to yourself. Let your thoughts out so there’s more room inside you for positive thinking and self-love.
After you’ve decompressed from these toxic feelings, look back and analyze the situation. In most cases, your negativity was temporary. The problem you thought you had probably seems much smaller in hindsight.
5. Celebrate Yourself
This self-care step might be the most difficult. Often, we are quick to praise our friends and family on a job well done, a great looking outfit, or an amazing accomplishment. Why aren’t we showing ourselves that same love? Don’t let the fear of sounding vain stop you from throwing positive words of affirmation your way.
Studies show that those who wake up in the morning and tell their reflection they are competent and powerful succeed more in life and the workplace.
If talking to a mirror isn’t exactly your style, celebrating yourself can come in many different forms. The next time you get an amazing promotion or simply want to give yourself a pat on the back for getting through the day, reward yourself.
Getting through the minor stresses of everyday life is an accomplishment that deserves recognition.
Try out a recipe you’ve been eyeing (like this Apple Spice Cake With Maple Buttercream!) or spend some quiet time focusing on better yourself. You can also take yourself on a solo date! As long as you reward yourself for the amazing things you do, you’re practicing self-care in the best possible way.
Throw a party for you and your loved ones to celebrate all of your achievements! Learn how to throw the best party, even when on a budget.
It’s easy to let life go by without taking a moment to appreciate that you’re important and deserving of a mental, physical, or spiritual moment to yourself. But you’re never too busy to take care of yourself, and through simple modifications in your daily life, you can seamlessly make self-care a regular routine.
Regardless of how you choose to self-care, the important thing is that you’ve given yourself the time and effort you deserve. And the best part? You’ve already begun just by reading this article.
Now that you have a whole new meaning to the words, “take care,” go forth and take care of yourself!