This year as one of your resolutions, you may have decided to practice daily self-care and pay more attention to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But then it happens: the dryer stops working, your car breaks down, a massive project lands on your desk at work (with a last-minute deadline), another natural disaster is splashed across the news, and your kids are at each others’ throats.
How can you take care of yourself and still manage everything that life throws your way?
Here are five simple steps to take care of you every day:
1. Start every day with a moment for yourself. Wake up, stretch, and allow yourself to come into the day quietly. This may mean you need to set your alarm for ten minutes earlier than normal, but taking these few minutes to breathe calmly sets the tone for you and helps quiet the mind. Make sure to turn on a light or open a curtain immediately upon waking to signal that it’s time to rise and shine!
2. Eat a healthy breakfast that includes protein. Eating good food is an important part of daily self-care. Even if it is just a piece of toast with peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, or a quick bowl of oatmeal with honey and chopped nuts, fueling your body with sustainable energy (instead of a fat and sugar-laden pastry) goes a long way to regulate mood and help you cope with whatever comes your way.
3. Incorporate exercise into your day by parking your car far away from the entrance to work, taking a walk at lunch (even just a quick 15 minutes), and playing with your kids after school. Taking the time to get up and be active also elevates mood, provides vital health benefits, and strengthens relationships with your kids—who can be unhappy or stressed during a game of kickball?
4. Turn off and tune in. Limit screen time (computer, phone, videogame, and television) for all members of the house, including you! Engage in activities that challenge you and bring your family together (board games, crafts, reading out loud, or other hobbies) and watch as attention spans deepen, conversations broaden, and relationships grow. Build community by participating in life actively, every day, instead of watching it pass by on a screen. Keep screens out of bedrooms to promote restful sleep as well.
5. At the end of the day, write it down. An often-neglected part of self-care is adequate sleep, and one thing that hampers that is a racing mind. Keep a journal or write a daily list of things you are grateful for. You can also write a (reasonable) to-do list for the following day to unburden your brain of thoughts and allow yourself to drift off to sleep.
Self-care does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. What are your personal strategies for incorporating daily self-care in the new year?
Image by jiunn kang too via Flickr