While not a wellness expert, here’s what I know for sure: there’s no such thing as too much self-care. Especially now. The more you take care of yourself, the better you will be at all of your important roles in life: friend, spouse, parent, employee, leader etc.
The self-care activities in this article are likely things you already know. However, knowing isn’t even half the battle. The biggest battle is in the doing.
As you read through, consider in which of these 10 areas you make improvements. Get ambitious. Your happiness and wellbeing literally depend on you doing your best to take care of you.
Be honest. How many of these 10 self-care essentials are you doing on a regular basis?
1 Eating Healthy Foods
There is no shortage of diets to try but what really matters is eating real food. The kind that isn’t packaged in cans and boxes. The more fruits and vegetables the better. Keto. Intermittent fasting. Try all the fad diets if you must BUT fuel yourself with natural foods.
I love some greasy French fries and Champagne is a must! Maybe you are a cake person. I get it. No judgement. We all have our favorite comfort foods. Everything in moderation. Remember a serving is a handful or the size of your palm. Don’t go crazy.
Google “healthiest foods” when you make your shopping list. Luckily there are some really tasty healthy choices like salmon, rasberries, walnuts and dark chocolate.
2 Moving Your Body
We all know the rule about exercising 3 X a week for 30 minutes. Who can’t find 1.5 hours in a week? You say you’re too busy? We both know that’s just some simple sad BS.
You don’t need one of those fancy Peloton bikes but buy something if it inspires you. Need some motivation and instruction? There are lots of free dance, yoga and martial arts videos online you can do early in the morning or late at night. There are live Zoom classes too.
You can’t ignore you heart and body and expect to perform at your peak. Exercise is good for your mind too. No more excuses. Get outside and at least take a walk around your block.
3 Sleeping 8 Hours
The research here is also pretty sound yet so many still claim they only need 5 hours. I am going to trust science and call BS on this one too. Sleep supports our immune system, our clarity and our energy levels. It’s critical to bringing your A game.
When you struggle, as we all do, try ALL the tricks recommended like hot baths, stretching, deep breathing, reading or journaling so your mind gets clear and your body relaxes. Find what works for you.
4 Drinking Lots of Water
Another 8 goal! This is on my must improve list ALL. THE. TIME. I was happy to learn my morning tea counts. Sad to learn my bubbles do not. Drinking water seems the easiest one on the list and yet the one I never fully conquer. I have the cute Swill bottle. I keep it or a glass by me all day. I have tried spa water infusions. Even those expensive premade fancy waters and coconut water.
I have made improvements but never quite get to 8. I would welcome your hydrating tips!
5 Meditating in Stillness
Any other productivity junkies out there? Sitting in stillness is nearly impossible even at the end of the day when I have tired myself out. I did the 21 Day Deepak and Oprah meditation. I was so proud BUT confession I did it while putting on makeup or Swiffering my floor. I have the CALM app too and can almost get through 10 minutes without exercising my arms.
I am committed to improvement. The power of meditation is also scientifically proven. You in?
6 Resting as Needed
Playing often is easy but rest…not so much. I am still jealous of my husband’s ability to do the 20-minute power nap. I sat on my porch and did nothing but watch the birds for the first time recently. That was restful. I now call rest “strategic mental disengagement” to trick myself into categorizing it as productive.
Remember vacations count as rest and you still deserve and need true time off even while working from home. It’s not as easy to travel these days, but even a road trip with some new scenery can be really restful and rejuvenating. Rest to be your best.
7 Showing Kindness to Others
Research also supports that doing for others ALWAYS makes us feel better too. It doesn’t have to be a sizable donation or even volunteering even though those things are awesome. It can be something as simple as taking a plant or a basket of fruit to someone you know is down. Or calling someone out of the blue to check in and offer support.
Make random acts of kindness something you do all the time not just for tax benefits or an annual holiday tradition.
8 Practicing Gratitude
This can be as simple as counting your blessings when you open your eyes each morning. Also, feeling deep appreciation for your skills and strengths. There is no better way to harness the power of positivity. Gratitude generates good energy which influences everyone and everything around us.
Just saying thank you silently, out loud or in writing is such a grounding way to start the day! Another super easy one with amazing positivity benefits.
9 Making Social Connection
Many say success can be measured by your friendships in life. I am still in touch with my childhood neighbor, High School friends, college roommates plus my work colleagues and bosses throughout my career. Who can you get back in touch with from your past?
What I didn’t realize, is how much joy can come from conversing with strangers you meet in passing. This was my new favorite insight from the Yale Science of Wellbeing course.
When running errands or traveling, I used to go into stealth mode seemingly wearing an invisible shield not even noticing all the other humans around. Now I make eye contact, share a smile and offer a pleasant comment about our shared experience. Turns out SMALL talk can bring BIG joy. Another easy one.
10 Spending Time Creating
This is another new awakening. You don’t have to be an artist or writer to be creative. Gardening and cooking are creative endeavors. Decorating your home counts. Dancing. Singing. Even doing puzzles and creating Pinterest boards count as creating.
Making things makes us happy. What can you make today?
So What’s Your Score?
How many did you get out of 10? Wherever you are, don’t beat yourself up. Every day is a new chance to start again and small changes can have big results.
I hover around a 7 or 8 most days. As a long practicing self-care advocate, I want so badly to be a 10. Yet seeking new ways to improve keeps me motivated and inspired. Turns always striving to be our best in itself brings us happiness. We are actually wired to want to consistently improve ourselves.
Taking good care of you is critical to all of the other things you want to achieve in life. Focus here is a solid investment. You are worth it.
What self-care improvements can you commit to today?