20 Practical Ways to Incorporate More Self Care into Your Week
Self-care is an act of survival. It’s a means of reducing stress, not getting caught up in life’s little dramas and focusing on the things that keep you balanced, happy and connected to those around you in a positive way.
Here are 20 easy, basic things you can do during a workweek that are straightforward, practical, and simple enough that you can start doing them today.
Care for Your Skin
The first place stress shows up is in our faces. You can do something about the damage that pollution and worry do to your face with a great skin care kit which contains travel-sized products to allow you to try a selection of products at once.
A kit is an excellent option because all the products you need to rejuvenate and de-stress your skin are ready to go.
Develop a Workout Routine
I know, the gym takes time, it costs money, it’s time away from your family and so on. There are lots of reasons people don’t exercise, but it does not have to be a formal workout. Instead, choose something you enjoy.
Try finding an activity that happens to be physical. You can do anything from swing dancing to rock climbing to roller skating with the whole family.
There are also some more unusual choices like zorbing (putting yourself in a giant bubble), zip lining or even acroyoga (which you can do with a partner). If you’re having fun, you won’t think about all the calories you’re burning. You can just laugh and enjoy yourself, which is another great benefit and stress reliever.
Still no time? Then try these simple tricks for doing short, effective workouts throughout your day.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator at work, park further from the grocery store or mall when running errands or take a stroll during your lunch break. These are all terrific ways to help meet your personal exercise goals.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Do you sacrifice sleep in order to help your kids, fit in more work hours or just because it makes you feel unproductive? Sleep helps with every area of life, including healing, digestion, and lowering stress levels. Getting enough sleep even improves the appearance of hair and skin.
To get a good night’s sleep don’t use your bed as a place to watch TV, eat or work. Find other spaces in your home for those activities and reserve your bed for sleeping.
Next, make sure your room is cool and dark. If you have a hard time relaxing, look for products that help keep you cool, block out light and let you slip into a nice, deep sleep.
Develop a Morning Routine
Those first hours of the day are extremely valuable. That window of time is when your willpower is at its strongest, your doubts and inhibitions are at their weakest and your inner, creative voice is ready to shout from the rooftops. Take advantage of this!
First, get up early. Sleeping in is always tempting, but people who get up early feel better and have more energy throughout the day. If you wake up early, you’ll get to enjoy the quiet of the morning, watch the sunrise, work on reaching goals without any interruption, write in a journal or enjoy a quick workout.
Then, take advantage of the morning. Are you a creative person? Then an early morning is exactly what you need to be productive. Do you own the office? That extra time in the morning is a chance to get a big head start while your colleagues are still resting.
Basic thingslike making a to-do list, reading or just playing a sport are all great ways to make the most out of your unique, early-in-the-day energy.
Schedule in Fun
All right, this sounds very counterintuitive, but you really benefit from a moment of carefree fun in your day. It doesn’t have to be happy hour with your colleagues. It can just be something to break up your routine.
There are lots of reasons we hold back from being silly, including the facts that we’re scared what people will think, we like to feel in control or we don’t want the boss to see us doing anything not work-related. However, many offices have found that just one fun activity can keep everyone motivated, happy to come to work and out of a rut.
So, if you need to feel a little safer, just schedule something fun. Make popcorn for the office on a Wednesday or sing along with a song from your high school years with a hairbrush as a microphone.
Little moments of play are essential to feeling good about yourself. So, kick off your shoes and run barefoot in the grass.
Make a To-Do List
You’re probably thinking, I know what I need to do! I don’t have to write it down. However, there is a lot of science behind to-do lists.
When you write down a list of things to accomplish in a journal, an agenda or just a little calendar and then take a moment to look at it, everything starts to feel manageable. And what about the feeling of ticking off completed tasks? It’s pure bliss.
Make a What I Did List
Do you often feel like you did nothing all day? It happens. Sometimes, no matter how hard we work and how much energy we spend on others, we can still fall into bed and wonder, “Why didn’t I get anything done today?”
That kind of negative thinking can really ruin your week. Rather than focusing on the stuff you didn’t get to, take out a piece of paper or a notebook and write down everything, even the little things, that you did throughout the day.
Did you take a shower? Comb your daughter’s hair? Clean up your desk?
Write each of those things down. You’ll be shocked to see just how long your list of accomplishments becomes in only a few minutes.
Meditation can seem really daunting and intimidating, but it’s the most basic thing you can do for yourself. A meditation practice can create mental clarity, which will help you be more decisive when the moment calls for it.
Also, more mental quiet builds compassion and love in your life, helps you create better connections with people and boosts your overall health. When you look at all the benefits, can you really afford not to meditate?
You don’t have to visit an ashram to find your inner peace. All it takes is 10 minutes a day of quiet intention to get the full benefits of a meditation practice. There are some wonderful guides and apps to help you start.
Remember, meditation is just a reminder to slow down, let go and breathe. You can do it.
Cook at Home
Instant disclaimer – if you’ve had an insane day and are ready to collapse, that’s not a day to cook. Just order some takeout and give yourself a break.
The rest of the time, cooking at home is a great idea. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to eat together as a family or to have friends over for a group dinner.
Live in an apartment? Consider a cooking cooperativeor a singles dinner party for residents of your building.
Or, if you want to focus on your family, or maybe you have dietary restrictions, you can try a meal by mail service. Several great companies can help you feel like a professional chefand, as a huge bonus, you don’t have to spend any time at the grocery store.
When we volunteer our time and reach out to the community, several things happen. Our confidence increases, we expand our network to make more friends and meet new professionals, and we develop a sense of self-satisfaction.
Just a small thing like organizing clothes at a drive, preparing a meal at a homeless shelter or playing with shelter dogs can do wonders for your quality of life. Search for volunteer opportunities near you and start today.
Drink More Water
The benefits of drinking enough water are truly endless. Better digestion, more youthful skin and hair, lower stress and less difficulty focusing are just a few of the reasons you should hydrate regularly.
You can mix it up with fruit-infused water or even herbal tea, but don’t reach for that caffeine-filled soda. That’s self-harm, not self-care.
Spend Time with Great People
Again, this can seem like an obvious choice, but a lot of us have certain individuals in our lives that we could really do without. If that sounds cold, then consider this – why waste time with people who don’t make you laugh, feel loved or inspire you?
If it’s just to be polite, cut that person off. Be polite at the office, but don’t spend any of your free time with someone who doesn’t lift you up emotionally.
Check in and make sure the people closest to you laugh with you, feel sad when they see that you’re sad, listen to your opinions about the world and keep an open mind. These are the individuals who will make your life feel full and happy.
Start a Journal
Remember, a journal entry can be as simple as a list. It can be a time to reflect, a moment for you to start wishing or even just escape. The benefits of journaling are well-documented. You’ll increase your memory, feel better about yourself as a person and develop your emotional intelligence.
It’s also an excellent way to step outside your head. Did someone at work make you nuts? Instead of discussing it with colleagues, go journal about it for five minutes. Then close your journal and move on.
Read a Book
Reading books has recently seen a big resurgence for a good reason – we have more opportunities and more ways to read than ever before. Try reading an old-fashioned paperback. Turn off your phone and give yourself 30 minutes of reading time.
Books are a great chance for us to express ourselves. Some of us love true crime while others live for a cozy romance.
Whatever it is you love, find it in a library or bookstore and just sneak in a few pages whenever you can. Try a suggested reading list to help get you started.
Color in a Coloring Book
Adult coloring books have become a kind of movement. While you may be turned off by fads, this one is worth your time.
Coloring helps reduce anxiety, helps us activate both sides of our brains at once and transports us back to childhood for a moment. Many people have found their bliss in the pages of a coloring book and in the feel of a paper-wrapped crayon.
Learn How to Say “No!”
For so many of us, just saying “No” can seem impossible. I can actually think of a few friends who probably should have declined job offers, places to live and even marriage proposals, but didn’t.
Saying “No” is really very empoweringif you do it the right way. It lets those around you know you’re making the decisions for your life, no one else, and that your time is valuable.
Talk in Person, Not by Text
Yes, texting is easy, it’s fun and it comes with all those cute emojis, but it can also be a bummer. When we text a friend as opposed to meeting up, we get the subtle, non-verbal reminder that we’re alone.
Whenever you can, do your best to have a conversation in person, as opposed to via text. The eye contact and sound of a good friend’s voice can make all the difference in the world.
Can’t get together? Make a phone call and just listen to another person’s voice. It can turn a bad day into a wonderful day.
Go for a Walk
If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach or near a beautiful green area, take advantage and stroll around. You don’t have to have a plan or a destination in mind. Let yourself get lost and meander.
Walking without a goal is a great way to release any built-up stress, take a breath and truly enjoy the present moment. A 30-minute walk each day is also incredible for your health. It improves digestion, helps prevent chronic diseases and keeps you in shape.
It also helps your cardiovascular health and just improves your mood. In fact, you can make walking your entire workout and skip the gym altogether.
Take a Nap
This is an easy one to incorporate into your weekly routine. A nap is more energizing than a cup of coffee, is an excellent way to relieve stress, and can clear your head in the process. Keep it to 20 minutes by setting the alarm, and then just relax and close your eyes.
So many of us find ourselves constantly checking our phones, updating our statuses and scrolling through friends’ posts to make sure we’ve liked and commented, acknowledged and watched all the funny videos that have been posted.
Social media, smartphones and networking sites are all wonderful and can be very helpful, but they can also overwhelm us. Unfortunately, they can also sometimes be used as a space for someone’s negative musings or diatribes, and that doesn’t help anyone.
Try going on a media diet. This means turning your phone off, blocking social media sites on your computer and just giving yourself an hour or two without worrying about any of these things.
No law says you must photograph and post everything you do, so why stress? Just focus on the moment you’re in, take a deep breath and smile.
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