Self-care: The term itself often conjures up images of bath bombs, scented candles, and sheet masks. But self-care is more than just an occasional indulgence meant to distract us from gloomy headlines and constantly-pinging phones. It’s a daily necessity for all of us, especially amid times of uncertainty and stress. On top of improving overall health, practising daily self-care can help you build resilience and bounce back from burnout.
So, how can you effortlessly incorporate self-care into your daily routine? From getting optimal sleep to taking better care of your skin, here are a few different ways to practice self-care every day.
De-Stress With A Weighted Blanket
Between work, family, and other responsibilities, it’s easy to feel anxious and overwhelmed at the end of the day. The next time you’re feeling frazzled or anxious, put up your feet and toss a weighted throw blanket over your body. Relaxing under a heavy blanket is thought to trigger the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), disrupting the cycle of stress and making you feel more at ease. Use your weighted blanket on the couch as you binge-watch TV or take it to the bedroom and let it lull you to sleep. Either way, you’re bound to feel more serene.
Drink Water First Thing In The Morning
Like many Americans, you probably start your day with a cup of coffee. But as it turns out, drinking a cup of Joe first thing in the morning can lead to a host of issues, from gut problems to daytime fatigue. To get your day off to a better start, hold off on your daily brew and drink a glass of water in the morning instead. Besides saving, money, waking up with water can help you rehydrate and give your digestive system a boost.
Do A Full-body Stretching Routine
Stretching is an essential component of any fitness routine, yet many of us rush through our post-workout stretches or skip them altogether. But there are many benefits to lengthening your muscles, including better flexibility, lower stress, and a reduced risk of injury. Not to mention, it can make you feel more relaxed and connected to your body. If you’re stretching before a workout, focus on dynamic stretches, such as lateral lunges, high knees, and jumping jacks. Finished with your workout? Cool down with static stretches like lunging hip flexor stretches, standing calf stretches, and reclined spinal twists.
Build Out A Weekly Meal and Snack Plan.
If you struggle to eat healthy on the job, you aren’t alone. According to the American Heart Association, more than half of working Americans aren’t eating nutritious lunches at work. Sure, many of us are still working from home these days, but that doesn’t make sticking to healthy eating any less of a challenge. That’s where meal planning can be a lifesaver. By planning out your snacks and meals for the week, you’ll be less likely to give in to temptation when hunger strikes. In addition to keeping your waistline in check, meal planning can also help you save money and reduce food waste.
Take A Calming Night Shower
Whether it’s because you’re in less of a hurry in the evening or because the hot water feels extra good on your skin after a long day, there’s something undeniably relaxing about taking a shower at night. To make your daily shower routine even more soothing, hang eucalyptus from the showerhead and visualize your stress going down the drain with the water. Stay cosy and relaxed when you get out of the shower by slipping into a weighted robe and a pair of warm slippers.
Practising daily meditation, whether it’s for five minutes or 45 minutes a day, can reap big benefits for our mental and physical health. Indeed, some studies suggest that meditation may help ease anxiety and depression, improve focus, reduce blood pressure and help insomniacs get the rest they need. To get started:
- Pick a quiet place to meditate and get comfortable.
- Set a timer for five minutes.
- Bring your attention to your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe.
- Choose a spot to focus on and concentrate on your breathing.
- When your mind begins to wander, gently pull it back.
- Repeat this process until your timer goes off.
Jot Down Your Thoughts
Writing in a journal is a simple but effective way to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity and boost your memory. Journaling can also serve as a brainstorming session, helping you find inspiration and get your creative juices flowing. (Perhaps that’s why Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, and other pacesetters were staunch proponents of journal writing.) Another benefit to putting your thoughts down on paper? It’s inexpensive and easy to do. Begin by setting aside a few minutes every day to jot down your thoughts, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t start the process sooner.
Take A Walk
Want to feel happier and calmer almost instantly? Take a walk. Experts say that walking helps boost your mood by increasing feel-good endorphins in the brain. Not only is walking a natural mood-booster and stress-reliever, but it’s also a helpful sleep aid. According to the National Sleep Foundation, moderate exercise like brisk walking can help you fall asleep faster and get a better quality snooze. Get in the habit of walking on your lunch break or first thing in the morning, and you’ll have a more positive outlook on life.
Doing the right thing for your body and mind isn’t always easy, especially when you’re busy raising a family or holding down a 9-5 job. But developing a self-care routine is well worth the time and effort you put into it. By practising daily self-care, you can take better care of yourself and enjoy a happier, healthier life.