We are making it through the holiday season and with all the hustling and bustling we often forget to take proper care of ourselves. Today’s article is a gift from self-care advocate, Brad Krause.
It’s not a stretch to say that our daily activities play a part in our overall health. Everything we do from the time we wake until we hit the sheets for the evening defines how we feel each day. But in a time when our mortgage and car payments can easily exceed $3,000 each month, it’s no wonder we often focus more on work than on self-care.
Here are a few changes you can incorporate into every day that will make a difference in your overall wellness.
Learn how to manage stress
Stress is something that’s par for the course as an adult. But just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to let it overshadow your happiness. Stop it where it stands by practicing mindfulness, which is as simple as paying more attention to your surroundings. Walk away from intense situations for a moment and take a few deeps breaths—you’ll return re-centered and more mentally able to tackle challenges.
Get enough sleep
Sleep isn’t fully understood by the scientific community. But you don’t need a guy in a lab coat to tell you that you feel miserable when you don’t get enough rest. Make sleep a priority and schedule at least seven hours of snooze each night. Harvard University has devoted a huge chunk of online real estate to educating the public on the importance of getting enough rest.
Eliminate health inhibitors from your environment
Your home is supposed to be a place of respite, but it may be making you ill—which adds to your stress levels. Part of your self-care plan should include making a thorough sweep of your home to identify and eliminate factors that may be making you unhealthy. This list from LiveWell Collective outlines many of the most common yet overlooked causes of health issues at home. You’ll also need to identify unhealthy activities, such as eating processed foods and not getting enough exercise. Changing your diet and physical activity level can go a long way toward improving your mental and physical health. If you’re not sure where to start, Prevention offers a handy rundown of handy ways to clean up your diet.
Spend time with family and friends
Self-care involves more than just eating well and eliminating stress. Spending time with your loved ones is also an important facet of your self-care routine. Not only does spending time with family and friends help strengthen the bonds you share, but it also nurtures positive behaviors and can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Sit down for dinner as a family, call your aging parents, and make your spouse a priority.
One of the biggest flaws of our modern day lifestyles is the push to get everything done each day. But you don’t have to. Incorporate strategies that help you streamline your activities so you’re not a disorganized mess. Give yourself more space in between tasks and slow down at the dinner table. You’ve heard the old wisdom about stopping to smell the roses; this simply means learning how to find pleasure in the mundane aspects of everyday life. But to do this, you have to slow down and take an inventory of the things that give you pleasure.
Communicate your needs
This is an area where the vast majority of adults tend to stumble. We often fear rejection or mistakenly believe that expressing our needs will make us appear weak or rude. But if you want to be strong from the inside, you need to make your desires known. Know that it’s okay to say no to added requests. It’s perfectly fine to tell your friends or neighbors you can’t watch their kids for the afternoon because you already have plans. Likewise, it’s perfectly fine to express to your spouse or partner that you’d like to spend a day lounging around watching Netflix rather than shopping for new living room furniture.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of self-love strategies. But it’s a good start and one that can lead you in the right direction.