There is no disputing it: This has been the most stressful time most of us have been through. As we move towards normalcy, we can let out a collective sigh of relief and move forward with hope for a better future.
If there’s anything the past year has taught us, it’s the importance of self-care for getting through periods of high stress. No matter what lies ahead, keep these 10 self-care tips in mind to create a proactive defense against stressors and anxiety:
1. Wake Up Without the Snooze Button
While hitting the snooze button in the morning for an extra moment of peace may feel like a form of self-care, it might actually be detrimental to your health.
Falling back to sleep between alarms is disruptive to your sleep cycle and can leave you feeling disoriented and groggy. Instead, set a single alarm or use a smart alarm and sleep app to gently wake you at the right time in your sleep cycle so you can start the day feeling refreshed.
2. Let the Light In
To start your morning off right, get in the habit of opening your curtains when you wake up each morning. Exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning has several benefits such as boosting your vitamin D levels, balancing stress hormones, and regulating your circadian rhythm. Morning sunlight can even brighten your mood and may jumpstart your metabolism.
3. Find a New Hobby or Passion Project
Especially during a lockdown or stay-at-home order, having a hobby is a wonderful way to use any downtime you might have. A hobby can act as a break from your work or daily routine and can be something as simple as reading, creating music, or making art.
Finding something you are passionate about or enjoy outside of your work and fitness routine is a great way to nurture your mental health. Research shows that a well-chosen hobby can boost your mood, reduce stress, and stave off depression. Look for activities that make you feel happy, calm, or fulfilled.
4. Practice Classic Self-Care
When you think of classic self-care, you may imagine something like putting on a face mask or relaxing in a bubble bath — and you would be correct! While self-care has evolved to encompass everything from mental health to physical fitness, putting on a simple face mask is still an effective way to practice self-care.
Taking time to relax and apply a face mask that complements your skin is a legitimate and effective way to check in with yourself and your body without distraction.
5. Unplug From Technology
Research shows that there is a clear link between screen time and depression among US adults. Taking time away from your television, computer, and even your phone is an essential form of self-care.
Ideally, you should set aside specific times each day or week to unplug from technology. For example, you can create a screen-free sanctuary in your bedroom and remove all technology from the space. This promotes sleep and creates room for peace within your home.
Another way to regularly unplug is by setting a time limit for phone time. Reduce anxiety, loneliness, and depression by banishing your devices after dinner each evening.
6. Declutter Daily
Did you know that clutter can make you feel depressed, stressed, and anxious? A cluttered space can have a significant negative impact on your work and even your workouts. Taking time to declutter every day — for a few minutes after you wake up each morning, for instance — can help you focus, be more productive, tap into your creativity, and breathe easier throughout the day.
7. Make Healthy Food Choices
Taking care of your body is a vital part of self-care and starts with simple choices you make each day, such as what snack you reach for in the afternoon. Regularly fueling your body with nutritious food puts you on track to be more fit, feel more satisfied, and stay focused throughout the day.
If you need help making healthier food choices, apps like Noom can help you navigate stress-free snack and meal planning — but even intuitive choices like choosing fruit over candy and processed snacks can make you feel better instantly.
8. Use Positive Affirmations
Words have a tremendous and tangible impact on your mental health. They can also inspire you to make — and stick to — choices that affect your physical health. Take the time to collect your favorite positive quotes and use them to motivate you throughout the day.
Even reading a positive or enjoyable book can have a positive influence on your health. Research shows that reading can reduce stress, improve brain function, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s later in life.
Meditation has many benefits beyond mental health. Spending just a few minutes meditating every day can improve your workouts, the quality of your sleep, your creativity, your immunity, and more. Meditation can also quell stress and anxiety, making it the perfect addition to your self-care routine.
If you’re new to meditation, apps like Headspace make it easy to make meditation part of your daily self-care habits.
10. Develop an Exercise Routine
One of the most overlooked elements of any self-care routine is regular exercise. Working up a sweat for at least 30 minutes a day is a powerful form of self-care. Even a short sweat session can boost your mood, promote better sleep, elevate your energy levels, lead to healthier weight, and increase your immunity.
Working out at home doesn’t have to be complicated. Set up an exercise schedule that includes:
- Strength training.
- Cardio training on an elliptical or treadmill.
- For low-impact cardio, training on an indoor bike or rower.
Building an at-home gym around the workouts you love is a great way to include fitness as a part of your self-care routine. If you’re looking for high-quality fitness equipment, the experts at G&G Fitness Equipment can help you find the equipment you need to stay healthy this year.