Do you spend time each day practicing self-care? If not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your happiness and productivity. Neglecting to take care of yourself can result in more stress, increased fatigue, and potentially life-threatening physical and mental health problems.
It’s clear that self-care is a great way to improve your quality of life and make a happier, more ambitious person. But why do so many people ignore what seems so obvious?
In most cases, people say they don’t have time, or they don’t understand the term self-care. Let’s get to the bottom of this problem by looking at a no-frills definition of self-care:
“The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Self-care is all about understanding what you need as an individual and making sure you achieve those things throughout the day. It’s worth noting that negative actions (unnecessary risk-taking, excessive drinking) do not qualify as self-care. This kind of destructive behavior usually the opposite impact on your overall health.
Now let’s look at several ways you can start actively practicing self-care in a way that will improve your productivity and overall quality of life.
Listen to Your Body
Your body always gets the final vote when it comes to self-care. We have all sat at our office desk, exhausted, hoping we can finally have a full two-day weekend. If you find yourself feeling sluggish, drained, or “off,” stop and listen to your body.
It’s not easy to stay at peak productivity when you feel like the energy you get from sleeping is gone by the time you walk through the door at work. Getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercise are all vital parts of a healthy body and mind.
Tracking your nutrients can help you identify deficiencies that may be having a significant impact on your body. For instance, a lack of Vitamin D can hurt your immune system, cause symptoms of physical pain, and make you feel tired all the time. Similarly, a lack of exercise can cause body stiffness, swelling, and lethargy.
You will not feel at your best if you’re not listening to your body. Keep a food and exercise log if you want to keep better track of the signals your body might be trying to send you.
Establish Morning and Nightly Routines
Morning and nightly routines will quite literally change your life. We all have our own list of things we do each morning when we wake up and at night before bed. But are you using this time to establish healthy routines in your life?
Spend some time each morning writing down your goals for the day, both personally and professionally. Carry your list with you and use it to guide your day. You’ll find that it’s much easier to accomplish your goals when you have a vision in place. Consequently, you’ll spend less time trying to stay organized throughout the day. Now you have more time to take care of yourself throughout the day and at night.
Your nighttime self-care routine should consist of various calming exercises like meditation or reading. You’ll want to take some time at the end of the night away from smartphones, TVs, or any other technology that uses blue light, so you can fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night.
Everyone’s routines are going to vary greatly, depending on your personal interests and hobbies. The important thing here is you’re using mornings to set the pace for the day, and nights for relaxing and unwinding.
Commit to Your Favorite Hobbies
How often do you find yourself committing to work projects or deadlines? Now, let’s flip that question around. How often do you find yourself committing to your favorite hobbies and interests? If you find yourself overcommitting to work, while under committing to your hobbies, you’re missing out on an opportunity to take care of yourself.
Think about the things you enjoy doing. You can spend some time with a loved one. Play the latest video game release. Read a book, just for fun! Spend some time taking care of your mental health and take part in the activities that make you happy.
It’s so easy to get lost in the wheel of work and block out all of the other things you enjoy in life. Don’t put yourself in this position. If you have to block out time to commit to your favorite hobbies — do it. Your health and happiness should be your number one priority, and hobbies can have a positive impact on both.
Invest in Yourself
Finally, you should always find ways to invest in yourself. We don’t necessarily mean your current job. Think about your passion. What would you like to do with your life? Do you want to learn a new language? Start your first blog? Travel the world? Think about the ways you can reach these goals and start making proactive decisions to invest in yourself.
Everyone’s journey is different. Remember, practice makes progress, not perfect. The key is to find self-care tips that work for you. You may find some tricks along the way that don’t cut it. Eventually, you’ll develop a routine where you prioritize your mind, body, and soul for a better life.