Hitting the *pause* button to hold a discussion on self-care tips and just why taking care of YOU is oh so important.
Last night, I came home from a long day at the office and was just about to set off on a long night tackling another side project when a better idea sprung to mind: a night of self-care.
After several hectic days and events, I couldn’t help but notice how exhausted I felt both physically and mentally. And yet, making the choice to listen to my body and dedicate the evening to caring for myself rather than pushing through yet another project seemed revolutionary. It may sound kind of silly on the surface, but I was actually proud of myself for hitting pause for the night. Pushing and over-extending myself is SO OFTEN the route I usually go and my self-inflicted time out felt like an achievement of sorts.
No doubt, the world we live in today encourages people to take pride in constantly being busy with the “grind”.
Coming into 2019, though, I really wanted to do a better job of prioritizing my own well being. Last year I found myself giving and giving so much of myself that I’d be left feeling burnt out and, frankly, in a bit of a sour mood. To better the situation, I adopted periodic self-care evenings to my schedule to better maintain a balance and I’ve noticed they make a tremendous difference!
I never realized how important it was to have time to put yourself as a priority.
My Self-Care Tips
Today’s post is dedicated to those who struggle with prioritizing themselves! I know you’re out there. Yes, you. The one who says “Yes” to everything, runs on little to no sleep and has a schedule so jam-packed you barely have time to brush your teeth.
Be it work, motherhood, family, friends, volunteering or other commitments…we as a society have gotten in this frame of mind that we’re supposed to constantly be on the go – go – go. BUT, what I’ve learned from forcing myself to take enjoy some quality “me” time is that by tending to your own needs, you actually to a much better job being there for others.
To help you relax and hit the breaks a bit, I wanted to share self-care tips I’ve picked up in 2019 as I work to take better care of myself.
Take 10 Minutes
One thing we all have in common? Ten minutes. Seriously, this is one of the best self-care tips out there. No matter how busy you are, I guarantee there are 10 minutes in your day you can redirect for your own well-being. That’s 10 minutes you can carve off browsing Instagram, 10 minutes while stuck in traffic, 10 minutes while waiting for a pot of water to boil as you prepare dinner, etc.
Once you find 10 minutes, take that time back for yourself and dedicate it to doing absolutely nothing. And I mean nothing. Seriously, sit there and breathe. When your mind wanders, patiently let that thought go and focus back on breathing. As you breathe, check in with your body and any areas that are feeling tense. Is your jaw clenched? Is your heart racing? Do you have a stress headache? Pay attention to those areas where you’re holding stress and breathe into them.
You’ll be amazed how much more energized you will feel after taking 10 minutes to yourself. In fact, whenever I’ve gotten little (to no) sleep, I do this in the morning and it helps me feel like almost like I got a full night’s rest. If you struggle to sleep then I really recommend trying this.So, by taking just TEN minutes to yourself…your mind and body will recenter so you can better tackle the day in front of you. It’s pretty remarkable.
Turn Off Your Phone
Here’s a shocker: you can actually live without your cellphone. I know, as shocking as that is to believe it’s true.
While I have to admit, this is one of those self-care tips I reserve for those times when I’m most most stressed or anxious – but it’s a wonderful one nonetheless.
Truth is, cellphones come with all sorts of distractions that pull attention away from yourself. There’s text messages, emails, social media notifications, news alerts, weather warnings…the list literally goes on and on. There’s about one Sunday a month where I’ll turn my phone off completely to disconnect from those infinite distractions and I’m always left feeling more refreshed. Sometimes I think we’re all so accustomed to being distracted a million times a day that we don’t even notice the toll it takes on us mentally.
When you turn off your phone, you give full attention to yourself, the world and the people around you. I encourage you to try it to see for yourself what a difference it will make!
Adopt a Skincare Routine
Even on the longest, most busy days of the year…I still make a point to take care of my skin before bed. It’s one of those self-care tips that is so ingrained in my daily routine that I gravitate towards it without even realizing. And honestly, what could be more self-care than caring for your skin?
Last month I shared my evening skincare routine (here) and it’s something I seriously never miss. I can have an incredibly hectic day without time to so much as eat…but still manage to get my skincare routine is. It’s gospel to me and once you adopt one yourself I think you’ll see what I mean. There’s something so symbolic about washing the day away when you cleanse your face and nourishing to your soul as you go through the toner, serum and moisturizer steps that follow.
Okay, including a healthy diet on a list of self-care tips seems like an obvious no brainer…but it really is just too important to leave off. Have you ever found yourself super stressed out, opening a bag of chips and binge eating instead of having a real dinner? I know I sure have! But in reality, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Rather than giving your body the nutrients it needs, you’ll end up feeling bloated and tired. Two things that definitely aren’t a lot of fun.
If things are too hectic for you to hit the kitchen, take advantage of great local salad bars or even healthy cereals. One of my favorite meals that takes next to no effort is soy vanilla yogurt with Kashi Go Lean Cinnamon Crunch cereal and berries. It takes less than two minutes to assemble and is packed with 25+ grams of protein. In my desk, I’ve also taken to having pumpkin seeds on hand at all times because they too are a great source of protein and make for much better snacking than a bag of chips.
Of course there’s also the importance of water. Yes, I’m guilty of drinking coffee and I sometimes let myself have up to one Diet Coke a day. From there? The rest is water. Chilled, plain water.
Schedule Time For Yourself
I’ve read this tip many many times over but only recently have taken myself up on it – and I have to say? It works. Rather than mentally telling yourself you’re going to make it to the gym, give yourself an at-home pedicure or meditate…actually ADD it to your schedule. I think you’ll be amazed at how much more likely you will be to follow through.
Think about how badly we all feel when we cancel on others but how much easier we find canceling ourselves? It’s quite sad. Once you start seeing that “you” time physically on your calendar, I think you will notice it becoming easier to actually follow with the plan. There’s really something about taking that extra step of adding that self-care time to your schedule that makes you more inclined to commit.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
This tip I actually picked up from a YouTuber named Amelia Liana. She has a five-year journal, which is a whole other concept, but basically explained that she uses her five-year journal every day to reflect on the things she’s grateful for at that particular time. You can of course go out and buy yourself a fancy diary for this if you like, but really any ole notebook will do.
Before switching the lights off for bed, take a minute to reflect and jot down positive things from your day that you are grateful for. It can be something as big as someone doing you a huge favor or as small as your new shoes. The intent is to celebrate and cultivate positive vibes in your every day life and surround yourself with positive, not negative, energy.
Be Realistic With Yourself
As we aim to “do it all” and continually strive to constantly make things bigger and better, we mount pressure on ourselves that can seriously come back to bite us. Over time I’ve learned that one of the best self-care tips is to quite simply be realistic with yourself and don’t set unattainable goals…particularly several at the same time. We have to admit that as annoying as it may be, we do all have our limits. We also are only human and naturally need time to take care of ourselves and sleep. Trust me, driving yourself into the ground isn’t going to do anyone any favors. You’ll run the risk of not just hurting yourself, but disappointing those around you.
In the end, be realistic with yourself. Accept that you’re just one person with two hands and need balance in your life. If you do find yourself juggling a lot of projects at pressure at the same time, check out this post on how to manage multiple projects like a pro to help keep your head on straight!
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