A big goal for me this year has been to stress less and practicing better self care. Sure, I go to the doctor, take my vitamins, and wear sunscreen....but I'm talking about going beyond the basics and actually being kind to yourself. When I first started hearing about self care, I honestly though it was a little hokey. However, once I started making a few little changes, I noticed a big difference! I was more rested, less stressed, and much more productive when I'm working. Here are the top 5 things that I've incorporated into my routine. Hope they're helpful for you too!
Do Something Nice For Yourself EVERY Day
I'm not saying take beach day or spend an afternoon at the spa. Doing something nice for yourself can be a small thing, and it doesn't have to cost much. For example, sometimes I take my lunch over to the nearby park and eat it while enjoying some fresh air and sunshine. Or maybe I'll treat myself to a new notebook (I am totally addicted to cute paper products). If I have to schedule it in, I figure out what my "nice thing" is going to be first thing in the morning...but if it's something like a lunch or a little treat, I just wing it.
Sit Down To Eat Breakfast
Sure, sometimes you have to eat on the run. But as often as possible, try sitting down to eat. I always aim to eat something with protein and carbs to help keep me fueled throughout the day (think: a piece of toast with bananas and peanut butter). For me, the act of sitting down to breakfast helps set a tone and I feel less rushed throughout the rest of the day.
Digital Detox Before Bed
Since we often have our work lives following us everywhere through our phones these days, having strong boundaries around work emails, texts, and calls, or even just Facebook if that is very distracting for you, can really help create more downtime. Still, it's easier said than done to just limit your screen time—luckily, your phone might actually be able to help you out (some let you set a daily limit). I try to put my phone down by 8pm each night and give myself time to enjoy other things. Try reading a book, listening to a podcast, or even catching up on a show.
Start The Morning With A Glass Of Water
I like to add half a lemon to my morning glass of water, it makes me feel more awake and refreshed. In addition to feeling great, there's also science behind it. “Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up,” says Vandana R. Sheth, R.D.N., a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “We often wake up after a night’s sleep slightly dehydrated," which often means starting your day off feeling crappy.
Get 30 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day
Should you do a full, high-intensity workout each and every day? Probably not, but getting in at least 30 minutes of some kind of aerobic exercise—whether it's a solid gym session or a lunchtime stroll—is just as good for your mental health as it is your physical. Even better: You don't have to do it all at once—take three 10-minute strolls if you can't do a full half hour. I'm not perfect at this, but I strive to get in some sort of activity each day. When I do, I can tell a difference in my overall energy level and I also sleep better. I do classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, but the other days I try to get in a walk or some other form of exercise.