With 2017 off to a rough start and bad news being plastered all over your Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines, it can be tough to keep yourself feeling well. If you combine this with the winter blues, sooner or later you will be finding yourself feeling less than great mentally and physically. Many of us have obligations outside of ourselves such as work, school, kids, people who rely on us and social groups who all constantly need our attention. It can be almost impossible to ignore all of our responsibility and take care of our minds and bodies. In fact; many of us don’t actually know how to help ourselves at all. We are so used to helping all the others around us that worrying about ourselves has become a foreign concept. We need to make self-care a reality. You are always willing to sacrifice yourself to others but now is the time you need to worry about yourself. It is the same concept behind airplane safety instructions, secure your own air mask, then secure your child’s. If you are not able to breathe, then how will you assist others?
While you cannot abandon all your responsibilities at once, you can take breaks from them where needed. A day off of work, skipping one committee meeting or putting your kids in front of a movie. This can be easier said than done for most people but here’s the reality: taking care of yourself does not make you a bad person. I believe that more people need to hear this so they can take a step back and do something for themselves. So how do you start to take care of yourself?
Stay off social media – Social media is constantly surrounding us and it can be so toxic to our self-care as it causes us to be stressed. The news is a large factor of people’s stress and we are nowhere short of bad news lately. There are also your or friends who always seem to be living a better life than you are. FOMO or fear of missing out can cause an astronomical amount of stress in our lives. While it sounds somewhat ridiculous, if your sister-in-law just got back from a service trip to Africa it may seem like you are not doing enough. You are doing enough so take a break from your phone and computer. I suggest staying off social media for at least one, full, uninterrupted hour a day. Your mind will also thank you for the break.
Feed your body now, worry about the calories later – The majority of people aren’t eating the right way. I don’t mean eating healthily but being mindful of the food that is going into your body. A study was done saying that 65% of workers either skip their lunch break altogether or work through their lunch. The rest of us usually eat standing up or eat with a smartphone in front of our face. Eating in this way can cause weight gain and malnutrition by not listening to what your body really needs. Take some time to yourself and really enjoy your food. If you’re not enjoying what you’re eating then eat something else! Life is too short to eat food that isn’t good. You need to listen to your body. Feeling a little fatigued? Drinking a big glass of water will help a lot. Also while it is important to eat healthy because it keeps your body going, it’s also important to indulge every once in awhile because it keeps you sane.
Relax your body – I bet if you paid attention to your body right now, you would feel some kind of discomfort. Maybe your head hurts or your neck is feeling stiff. It can be easy to ignore what our body is telling us as we get swept up in the trials of everyday life. A good way to relax your body is to get it moving. Our bodies were meant to move so if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, you’ll find your body feeling restless and probably achy as well. Going on a walk or hitting up a yoga class can instantly make your mind and body feel better. You’ll also sleep a lot better at night. If you are feeling physically exhausted, taking a bath or doing some stretching will also do the trick. Even just taking a warm shower can relax your muscles and put your body at some ease.
Find a non-technical hobby – Doing something with your hands can be a great way to give your mind a break from stress. Don’t limit yourself in this area. Writing, woodworking, knitting or whatever might be your thing is very satisfying. If you’re like me and have never found a hobby to work for you, I suggest reading this book. It’s full of DIY ideas that are useful for your life and can be super fun. If you can’t decide on just one hobby, pick multiple! No matter what you decide to do, the time spent will not be wasted and you’ll be feeling some peace of mind in no time.
Do something for yourself that has been looked over in everyday life – This is a big one. If you are like the vast majority of people, you have passed over some self-care to do something for someone else. Think about something specific to you that needs to be done. Maybe you need to go to the dentist or just a good face wash. Things like this are very small but they are important. After accomplishing just one of these mundane tasks you will also find that you feel better about yourself for getting something done and because it was just for you and not anyone else, you’ll feel a little happier as well. When it comes to taking care of myself the first place I go is skincare. I usually use this face mask that’s basically a really big pore strip and is the most satisfying thing in the world to peel off
Just relax! – Whether relaxing for you means going on a run or just sitting down and watching TV, take a little time to yourself to just relax. During your relaxation, you have free your mind of any obligations or stress or else your relaxation will be useless. You can stress about making lunches later just take a moment for yourself now.
It is incredibly easy to stretch yourself thin and lose time for yourself. Take a little time every day to worry about just you. Even just drinking a cup of coffee to yourself can drastically change how good you feel. It can be hard to make real time for yourself but I promise that the results are worth it. By making a little time for yourself first you’ll be making more time for your other responsibilities as well. With a clearer head you will be able to make better decisions and accomplish more throughout your day. So whatever you decide to do, as long as you are taking care of yourself, you’ll be on to bigger and better things.