Why is self-care so important? Because we live stressful lives and we deserve some happiness, that’s why! 🙂
- Spend 30 minutes a day doing something that you enjoy. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. If you get a full 8 hours sleep, that leaves 960 minutes of time that you are awake. Assuming you work an 8-hour day, that leaves 480 minutes to do as you please! Why not use 30 of those minutes to listen to music, dance around in your underwear, read a chapter or two in a book, paint a picture, participate in that class at the gym you’ve been thinking about trying, swim, meditate or practice yoga, play with puppies, or even go for a walk? Do something that brings a smile to your face. The more you do things that you enjoy, the less stress you feel, the happier you become, and the healthier you will be.
- Enjoy your food. Really pay attention to what you eat. Slow down and savor the flavors and really taste them. Notice the texture, the temperature, the crunchiness, the complex flavors, and the amount of moisture in it. Sure you may have to grab food on the go, but why not truly enjoy what you have spent time making or spend your hard earned money purchasing?
- Limit Social Media. Most peoples’ social media posts are an exaggeration of their own experiences. Many people who have a social media addiction have reported feelings of low self-esteem, jealousy, anxiety, depression, and FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out). There is a real life phenomenon called Social Media Depression that is triggered by spending too much time online looking at other people’s lives. Social media has been associated with higher rates of depression in teens that use it to replace real-life socializing or other peer activities like sports or hobbies (which may actually combat depression). Engaging in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like, before bedtime can disrupt your sleep or disturb the quality of your sleep due to the blue light emanating from using electronic devices. Instead, nurture your friendships, invite a friend to coffee or have an old fashioned sleep over (who says we are too old for those?!), or call up a few friends for a pick-up game of basketball or ultimate Frisbee.
- Get Outside. Soak up some vitamin D! Spend 10 minutes every day outside, more if you can! A study conducted in 2002 shows that the brain produces more serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical, on sunny days than darker days. In a study by Gavin Lambert of the Baker Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, serotonin samples were taken from 101 healthy men during all four seasons and compared temperature, rainfall, hours of bright sunlight, and atmospheric pressure. What they found was that the serotonin levels were directly related to the duration of bright sunlight. So while the days are longer in the summer, soak up as much sunshine (with sunscreen!) as you can get, you’ll be happier for it!
- Get Enough Sleep. It sounds so easy right? For many, this is not a reality with difficult work schedules, children, and even insomnia. For many, the optimum amount of sleep may not be the 8 hours that is generally recommended, some people function better on 6, some 8, and some even 10. Pay attention to when you feel most rested and that should be your goal. Try turning off your electronics a half hour before bedtime in order to let your mind and body unwind. Breathing and meditation exercises can also help clear your mind of “the committee”, the flood of thoughts that can sometimes enter your head as you are laying in your bed (you know, the to-do lists, the reruns of the day, anxious thoughts, plans, etc).
What other ways do you practice self-care? How do you de-stress after a long day or week?