We work hard. We’re entrepreneurs, chefs, caregivers, parents, animal wranglers, friends, confidants, and so much more. Our list of jobs is literally never ending. And I get it; there aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work, family and everything else- those hours go by fast. Self-care is absolutely essential to surviving life sanely. You must make time to care for yourself both mentally and physically, and I don’t just mean a vacation once or twice a year, you should be doing these things regularly – like every day.
Four self-care activities you can easily make time for every day
1. Take a Few Minutes to Meditate
I saw that eye roll. I know, I know, everyone says it. But it’s true, and there’s plenty of research to prove it. The benefits of daily meditation include increased focus and stamina, clearer thoughts and heightened creativity, just to name a few. In fact, the busier we get, the more important meditation becomes. Don’t believe me?
Studies from Harvard University found that people who practice meditation regularly have increased amounts of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, and the auditory and sensory cortex. That’s right; meditation literally changes your brain!
Physically, meditation is proven to lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety and increase serotonin. Mental benefits include increased clarity and intuition as well as less tension and frustration; I’d say all of these things are super beneficial.
I suggest practicing meditation daily. Even 10-15 minutes a day has amazing benefits. There a lots of amazing apps out there to help you practice and walk you through the steps. Some of our favorites include Calm, Headspace and Buddhify, just to name a few.
2. Exercise Doesn’t Have To Be Something You Hate
If you do no other exercise, do yoga! I’ll be honest here; I’m not a fan of the gym. People, judgment, it’s just not my thing. I also don’t like cardio, and I’ve got all kinds of excuses about why I can’t lift weights today. I know both of these things have amazing benefits, they just aren’t my favorite activities, and I’ll sometimes go to great lengths to avoid them. (seriously.)
I can do yoga in my living room, in the shower, in my backyard, and in my kitchen. Why is this important? Because I can do it wherever I want, whenever I want, with absolutely no tools or equipment needed. Apps like DownDog and YouTube channels like Yoga With Adriene help me keep my routine mixed up, so I don’t get bored.
According to the American Osteopathic Association, the benefits of yoga include a balanced metabolism, increased flexibility, and muscle strength as well as vitality. Celebs like Kate Hudson and entrepreneurs like Julia Pimsleur even credit yoga as the driving force behind their creativity, innovation, and success.
Aim for 25-30 minutes a day. It doesn’t really matter when, just do it. If you need some help getting motivated, check out these six tips!
3. Make It Healthy
A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly and keep the brain from fatigue. In order to get proper nutrition from your diet, you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and lean protein.
Eating healthy isn’t always easy, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your body. If you’re struggling to get your diet back on track, aim for at least two healthy meals per day. Pack two meals with nutritious veggies and wholesome protein, and allow only one to be more flexible with treats like pizza, pasta and delicious tacos. (Trust me, if I could have tacos for three meals a day, I totally would.)
Not a fan of veggies? Visit Whole Foods or your local organic juicer for a fresh squeezed dose of vitamins and minerals, or sneak them into your meal via delicious recipes.
4. Go The F*** To Sleep!
Have you read the book?! It’s adorable! (also this!) But seriously though, a good night’s sleep is perhaps the most important piece of self-care that you can give yourself. We get so caught up in everything we do every single day that we let those tasks, worries, fears and tomorrow’s to-do list keep us up late at night! I know I’m at my best after a good night’s sleep, and without it, I’m close to worthless.
You already do it, so make sure you do it enough! Sleep plays a vital role in our physical health. Sleep is involved in the healing and repair of vital organs, rejuvenating the body. It spurs creativity, improves performance and curbs inflammation. Lack of sleep has severe consequences including an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Everyone requires different amounts of sleep, and many people don’t have a typical sleeping schedule. Aim for at least 6-8 hours of solid sleep to allow your body and mind the rest and rejuvenation it needs.