Mother’s Day was just a few days ago. A day we make an effort to sit back, relax, and enjoy ourselves. A day when we focus on self-care. But, come Monday? It’s back to the grind, right? Who has time for that stuff anyway?!?!
Clearly, it’s not practical to spend everyday as if you have zero responsibilities. But taking one day out of the year to slow down and focus a bit on yourself? That’s not healthy either. So what can be done?
First, it’s important to understand that self-care does not have to mean an all-day trip to the spa, full of a 2 hour massage, 1 hour facial, manicure and pedicure – though that would be great. Self-care is different for everyone. Finding something that works with your schedule that leaves you feeling refreshed, energized, or more relaxed is what matters most. We thought we’d share 5 ways we implement self-care into our daily routines in hopes that some of them may work for you.
5 Self-Care Tips to Try
Exercise is a great way to increase your body’s endorphins or natural “feel good” hormones. Thus, it’s a great stress reliever. But don’t overcomplicate it. If you think that you need to spend 45-60 minutes every workout, the chances of you skipping a workout are high. What can you consistently do 4-6 times a week? Haven’t worked out in a while? Start small and gradually build yourself up. Otherwise, if you do too much too quickly, you’ll risk injury or burnout.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your day and forget to drink water. Low on energy? No, you may not need an extra cup of coffee. It may just mean you’re dehydrated! A good way to determine how much water your body needs is by taking your weight in pounds and dividing by 2. For example, someone who is 140 lbs, divide by 2 = they need 70 oz. of water/day. Another thing to consider: if you’re consuming caffeine (a diuretic) on a regular basis, or exercising often, you may want to bump that number up.
Nutrition boils down to a pretty simple equation. Junk In = Junk Out. Simply put, if you eat poor-quality foods, then your body’s going to feel pretty cruddy. What foods don’t leave you feeling tired and bloated? Typically, that’s eating more veggies and some fruits, healthy fats and protein. Most higher carb foods like grains will cause a spike in your blood glucose levels and once they dip, leave you feeling exhausted.
Maybe it’s the introvert in us, but having a moment to yourself can help you get a better grip on your day. Do you have little ones at home? If your schedule allows, try waking up a bit before them to have a brief amount of time to sit and think, read, meditate, or anything else you enjoy doing. Side note: if you have a baby that you wake up to feed in the middle of the night, this is NOT for you.
When we’re stressed, our brain responds by increasing our heart and respiratory rates – our “fight-or-flight” response. This increase in respiratory rate usually causes shallow breathing, which tends to increase our stress response, creating this vicious cycle. One way to reduce this is by focusing on deep belly breaths. When you inhale, breathe in deeply so that your belly begins to rise, not your chest.
Some people find if they focus on one word or phrase while deep breathing, they can set their intention for the day, helping them stay relaxed and calm. For instance, “I accept everything as it is right now”. This simple phrase is great for the perfectionists. Did you plan to throw something quick together for dinner, but had little ones who wanted to help? Instead of focusing on how much longer it took, focus on the quality time you had with your children. Planned to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones or Big Little Lies but had a late night visitor? Enjoy those baby snuggles.
Consistency is Key
The secret to all of these? Consistency! Find how you can add these to your schedule on a regular basis. You may not always have time to go out for a 45 minute run, but a 15-20 minute workout? You can find a way to make that happen. Soon, you’ll find as you continue to do it, you’ll build up the habit and it’ll become a can’t miss item in your schedule. Need to drink more H2O? Figure out how many ounces your water bottle holds, then determine how many times you need to fill it up to reach your goal. Set reminders in your phone to go off that let you know it’s time to refill, so drink up what’s left!
Self-care is about making the time to take care of yourself. It doesn’t mean you accumulate all that time and cash it in all at once. It’s about making small changes throughout the day that allow you to meet your daily demands without sacrificing your health.