Most of us try to eat well, sleep as much as possible, and get exercise, but sometimes life gets in the way and our healthy habits fall by the wayside. It's easy to prioritize other things over ourselves, but there are certain habits we should be doing daily for our own self-care. Our health, but mental and physical, is important, and we might find that our tasks and demands become easier when we are functioning optimally.
"Taking care of yourself daily is essential," says life coach Stephanie Holland over email. "This is not about you being 'selfish.' This is about taking the time to invest in yourself so that you can be at your best and are therefore better able to be there for those in your life. When you suffer, the family suffers, relationships suffer, works suffers. When you can take care of yourself first, then everyone else can be helped."
It might take some time, but putting yourself first is an important skill, as that promotion at work won't matter if you're too sick and miserable to perform your best. If you're trying to find ways to get your physical and mental health at their best, consider these 11 things you should do daily for optimal self-care.
1. Find A Hobby Outside Of Work
"Participate in an activity or hobby outside of work," says women's health expert Nicole Granato over email. "Find your passion or an interest and make it happen. Outside activities allow out mind and body to de-stress, and it never hurts to start doing something you have always wanted to do."
Meditating might seem too hippy-dippy for you, but spending time mindfully meditating can have a handful of profound health effects, including less stress and anxiety and better physical health, according to Harvard Health. "You can meditate in the morning or during your lunch break," says Granato. "It essentially means take some time for you. Sit quietly, breathe and relax. Try to let all those worries or aggravations of the day go."
3. Be Present
When you are taking some time for yourself make sure you are in that moment," says Holland. "If you are going for a run and mentally going through your to-do list at the same time that is not very beneficial. Leave those to-do’s at the door and reconnect with you." Research from Harvard University shows that people are happier when they are focused on the task at hand rather than daydreaming, so try your best to stay grounded when you're involved in an activity.
4. Express Gratitude
If you are finding it hard to be present, a great trick is to just give a quick list (mentally, or you can write it down) of the things that you are grateful for today," says Holland. It can be small, like your hair looked good today or that new nail polish is pretty." Studies show that regularly expressing gratitude can help you feel more optimistic and boost your happiness, according to Harvard Health.
5. Take A Relaxing Shower
Instead of making a shower a chore, turn it into a relaxing, spa-like routine. "Two minutes and a few simple moves can turn your shower into an at-home spa experience," says certified holistic health coach Kimberly Petrosino over email. "Even the busiest woman has to shower. Take an extra moment to light a scented candle, put on some music, and break out the fancy soap and the good towels."
6. Go For Walks
"Even 10 to 15 minutes is enough time to clear your mind and get into a better space," says Petrosino. "Doing this regularly will help you unwind and de-stress, and as an added benefit, it will make you calmer and more productive as you move throughout the rest of your day."
7. Connect With Those You Love
"At the end of the day, the people you love are who makes the daily grind all worth it," says Petrosino. "Don't let them turn into acquaintances. Take time every day to nourish the important relationships in your life." Those with stronger social support are more resilient to stress, according to research in the journal Psychiatry.
"Watch a video of your favorite comedian, keep a funny quote at your desk, or schedule a mid-day chat break with the office clown," says Petrosino. "Laughter is an instant mood booster and an important act of self love."
9. Establish A Good Nighttime Routine
"So many people hustle and bustle until the moment their head hits the pillow and then wonder why they can't fall asleep," says Petrosino. "Take 20 to consciously unwind before bed. Drink some chamomile tea and dim the lights. Dab a little lavender essential oil on your pulse points. Turn off all technology. You'll feel more relaxed and sleep much better."
10. Listen To Music
Don't be afraid to turn on those tunes while you're getting ready, doing work, or even making your dinner in the kitchen. "Research shows that playing music can reduce stress and put you in a better mood," says Granato.
Working out benefits not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. In addition to boosting your overall energy levels, regular exercise can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as self-esteem.
No matter how crazy things get, it's important to still find time to take care of yourself, as everything becomes easier when you are functioning at your best.
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