We are happier in our personal and professional lives when we take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is a ripple effect that spills over into other areas of our lives.
If you are a creative person, you already know how important it is to nurture your creativity. For those of you who are athletic, working out changes your outlook for the entire day and how you handle whatever is thrown your way. Having self-care strategies can impact your internal and external life. Never be too ‘busy’ to make pampering yourself a priority.
You do not have to be in incredibly great shape or know anything about yoga to take the leap into this wonderful spiritual and physical journey. Yoga is a great stress reliever and a fantastic way to get in shape; it helps improve posture, increases bone strength, wards off osteoporosis, increases mental focus by teaching you to be present and less distracted, especially for those whose minds tend to be all over the place.
We live in a fast-paced ‘busy’ world constantly connected to our phones and computers. We’re incessantly texting our every move, posting on social media, liking and commenting on posts. Disconnect for a while. Take time and get in touch with your breath and be present.
When you are feeling down or stressed, sleep can rejuvenate you and enable you to feel refreshed and inspired. The power of sleep, especially REM sleep, affects every part of you. Quality sleep rejuvenates us and relaxes the mind and body. Setting up sleep rituals is key. Try soothing music, a bath or shower before bed, some light reading, journaling or playing a musical instrument, but ditch the phone.
Call a friend and take a walk/run/hike or go solo, while listening to an inspiring audio book or uplifting music. Working out is one of the best antidepressants. Boosting your serotonin is a start to improving mood and decreasing depression and anxiety. Choose activities you love or would like to try. Join an exercise class or group activity and connect with new people.
Find new music or music you love. Listening to music is the greatest vacation for your mind. Your entire mood can transform into a more relaxed state or transport you to a wild rockin’ universe. Music is an absolute healer for the soul. Find different musical styles that grab you at certain times of the day.
Massages help to decrease stress, tension, anxiety and pain, promote relaxation and improve your overall mood. Depending on which type you choose, you might also experience better flexibility and sleep. Do your homework when looking for a massage therapist. You want a reputable professional who knows what they are doing.
Maybe you have wanted to switch up the way you look for a while. Consider a new cut/color or style, and consult with an experienced, reasonably priced stylist. On a budget? Some salons have students who need experience as part of their training or find a Groupon deal. Overhaul your wardrobe and try out some new styles. Start a clothing swap party with friends.
Select some books from the best sellers list. See what is popular on-line in genres you enjoy. Look for new authors on book tours. Ask friends and family what they are reading. Visit your local library and see what’s new in print and in audio.
Writing in a notebook and expressing your thoughts and feelings is very cathartic. Journaling is a great way to process your internal dialogues and work through issues; it boosts your creativity, self-esteem, mindfulness, IQ and communication skills. Don’t ignore what is going on in your inner life. Self-awareness through writing can bring about incredible insights. Pay attention to what you are feeling by having a daily writing ritual.
Learn how to draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, cook, etc. Don’t dismiss something new because it looks hard, and never let someone else influence what you can and cannot do. You never know what you can achieve until you try. You are never too old to learn something new or revisit an earlier passion. Taking classes is also a great way to make new friends and create a weekly routine you look forward to.
A complete diet makeover can boost your mood in ways you never imagined. Cleaning up your bad eating habits is an excellent way to improve your energy and overall well-being. Remember, what you eat affects how you feel, how you sleep, and your performance mentally and physically. If you eat a diet that meets your dietary needs, chances are you will feel a lot better, too.
It’s never too late to rock, study the blues, pick up your guitar again, or wail on the drums. Used gear is relatively inexpensive, too. Want lessons, but can’t afford them? There are plenty of free lessons on youtube.com and other sites such as songsterr.com and truefire.com. There have been many nights that learning a Beatles song, or a riff of Led Zeppelin has brought a smile and a boost to my mood, and a better night’s sleep.
You will only feel as good as you smell and look. Really. Not washing your hair and taking care of your personal hygiene screams
“I HAVE FALLEN APART AND CAN’T FIND ALL OF MY PIECES!”
Do something nice for yourself. Scented candles, essential oils and a relaxing bath can be the perfect solution to a long day.
Even if you have limited time, carving out a little bit of space for yourself every day and having “me time” is crucial for your well-being and your relationships. Take the step to make pampering an essential part of your weekly mental health and wellness routine.Janeane Bernstein, Ed.D.