Why is it important to practice self-care starting today? Because you will most certainly experience varying degrees of stress during the course of your life. Learning how to take care of yourself now, will help you manage stress and prevent burnout in the future.
If you are constantly neglecting your personal well-being, you’re probably heading towards burn out. According to Adam Dachis of Lifehacker:
“Burnout isn’t as simple as extreme exhaustion. When you’re truly burnt out, there’s very little you’ll do that isn’t necessary for survival. You won’t find a regular vacation very refreshing. You not only lose interest in the work that burnt you out in the first place, but in nearly everything else that you do. Fun won’t be fun, every little thing will bother you, and you’ll be unhappy without fully understanding why. You’ll feel this way on a regular basis, and you’ll likely believe there isn’t an alternative.”
Symptoms of Burnout
“My mother always says people should be able to take care of themselves, even if they’re rich and important.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett,
If you practice self-care starting today, you can prevent symptoms of burnout, which, according to Life Hacker, include the following:
- A general negative attitude, often paired with the feeling that nothing is going to work out.
- Inability to concentrate.
- General apathy towards work, chores, and other tasks.
- Feelings of stagnation.
- Lack of interest in social activities.
- Difficulty with healthy habits like exercise, diet, and regular sleep.
- Feelings of worthlessness or ineptitude.
- Neglected personal needs.
- Decreasing importance of personal values and beliefs.
- Short temper.
- Constant exhaustion.
- Feelings of detachment from people and things you care about.
- Frequent boredom.
- Psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches, lingering colds, and other issues with a cause that’s difficult to identify.
- Denial of these feelings.
Set the Intention to Practice Self-Care Starting Today
“[G]rowing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is.”
― Victoria Moran,
Making time for self-care between competing personal and professional responsibilities may feel like attempting an impossible balancing act. But, as you go through the week, scratching items off a seemingly endless to-do list, make sure to pencil in some time to address your own needs.
The actions a person takes to intentionally improve his or her mental, physical or emotional health do not have to be grand. Self-care can be as simple as deciding to exercise before work or as easy as taking deep breaths during difficult times.
- If you loath going to the gym but love dance, why not enlist in a salsa class to stay in shape?
- If you love to stay in as opposed to going out, why not create a spa day indoors and invite friends?
How to Practice Self-Care?
For some people, self-care may seem self-indulgent and time-consuming, which is why they may experience guilt engaging in it. However, in many ways, self-care is a reflection of your sense of self-love. Taking your daily dose of self-care should be seen as preventative medicine against burnout.
In “How Clinicians Practice Self-Care & 9 Tips for Readers,” author and psychotherapist Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, said her self-care practice consists of various activities that incorporate the people she loves:
“I exercise daily, I practice healthy eating, I socialize, I spend time with my loved ones, I engage in activities I enjoy, I take time out for myself, and I say ‘no’ to things that are not meeting my needs. I also think humor is a very important part of life. Having an optimistic outlook also is an important part of self-care.”
9 Ways to Practice Self-Care Starting Today
Below are a few suggestions for how you can incorporate self-care into your daily life, but remember: there are many different ways to practice self-care and not all practices fit everyone.
1. Put It In the Schedule!
Many people intend to practice self-care starting today, but don’t do so. To keep at it, take a close look at your calendar and rearrange it so that things like sleep, exercise, and relaxation will become a normal and scheduled part of your day.
If you can answer “YES” to the following questions, then you’re good to go:
- Does your schedule look balanced?
- Did you give yourself sufficient time to unwind after work and before sleep?
- Do you have a recreational “activity” scheduled at least three times a week?
- Are you able to see your work/life balance on paper?
- Do you have time to interact with your friends and loved ones at least twice a week?
2. Practice Self-Care On the Go!
There’s no need to set a side a large block of time to practice self-care starting today:
- Take a 15 minute meditation and mindfulness break every few hours.
- Listen to some relaxing music before your next big business meeting.
- Try these easy yoga moves for a quick boost of energy in the middle of the day.
- Grab a fresh smoothie or a nutrient packed salad if you won’t have time to cook a healthy meal.
If you don’t have a lot of time, then commit to practicing self-care on the go.
3. Take a Walk
Showing yourself a little tender love and care can be as simple as taking a mid-day walk. Being held up in cubicles for up to 9 hours a day can leave us feeling restless, tired, and/or irritable. Taking a brisk walk is a great way to combat negative emotions and enjoy a load of other benefits including:
- Reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
- Improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis.
- Lowered risk of obesity.
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you!
For many people, the thought of exercise conjures up images of sterile indoor gyms and hoards of sweaty people halfheartedly doing reps of various moves.
But, there are numerous ways to enjoy exercise outdoors, at the gym, or in the comfort of your own home. Plus, there are many reasons to exercise aside from loosing weight.
- Blast your favorite playlist as you jog around the neighborhood.
- Skip public transportation and take a long walk home.
- Get off the train a stop or two early and enjoy a brisk stroll.
- Take up a different every season of the year.
- If you love to dance, try a Zumba class.
- If you’re into martial arts, sign up for a self defense class.
- If you love to socialize, try spinning.
- If you love the water, take up swimming.
- If you’re a busy professional with limited time to spare, you may enjoy the Blogilates “Quick Burn” series on YouTube. The challenging Pilates videos feature a set of strength-building moves that target specific areas of the body to induce sweat and burn fat, fast!
- If you’re looking to build up your cardio, try jumping rope or doing High Intensity Interval Training with FitnessBlender. They dynamic exercises will get you sweating and your heart pumping in as little as 10-15 minutes.
5. Try a Facial
Who said facials are reserved for the spa? Bring out your inner beauty by mixing a few simple concoctions in the kitchen. DIY facials are especially relaxing after a long day with the kids or at the office.
At-home facials are an easy way to show yourself a little tender love and care. To enjoy a radiant complexion, try these DIY face mask recipes below:
Soothing Lavender & Honey Facial
In a small bowl, mix one tablespoon of honey with 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil. Apply the mixture to your face, then let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a warm wet cloth to gently wipe the mixture away.
Clarifying Face Mask
Combine one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel and 2-3 drops of ylang-ylang oil in a mixing bowl. Apply the mixture to your face, then let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a warm wet cloth to gently wipe the mixture away.
6. Take a Long Bath or Shower
Try soaking in a hot bath before bed; it will help you reduce stress, relax the muscles, and help you fall asleep. Enjoy a luxe bath by adding bubbles and soothing essential oils including lavender and chamomile. For additional fragrance, add candles or place sachets around your bathroom.
7. Cook Your Favorite Dinner
Consuming healthy food that is both delicious and easy to make is definitely one way to practice self-care stating today.
Learning at least seven quick dinner recipes will allow you to enjoy the relaxing benefits of cooking, as well as the help you consume nutrients and vitamins that come from eating freshly cooked food.
To keep things interesting, experiment with cuisines from around the world whenever possible.
8. Talk To a Friend
A network of friends can help you smile through the darkest days and provide support when we need it most. But, you don’t have to wait until there’s a crisis to call on them. Having someone to talk to can improve your sense of mental and emotional well-being.
Author of The Healing Connection, Jean Baker Miller, MD, found that women who don’t have at least one close bond with a female friend may experience many psychological dysfunctions that include “eating and sleeping disorders, anxiety, certainly depression—all that can result from chronic disconnection.”
The next time you’re feeling blue, call your friends—they’re doing wonders for your health.
9. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude, or the practice of being thankful for everything that is positive in your life, can seriously improve your sense of personal happiness.
As you practice gratitude, you become more aware of the present moment and in doing so, create a more optimistic mindset.
There are many ways to practice gratitude, you can try one or you can try them all:
- Journal the things you are grateful for while enjoying your first coffee or tea of the day.
- Take pictures of the things you are grateful for and share them with friends on Instagram, Facebook or via email.
- Think of at least three things you are grateful for on a daily basis.
- Remind yourself of how lucky you are to have what you do.
“Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.”
― Tia Walker,
Everyone can practice self-love starting today – how will you?