Self-care is a term that includes a variety of behaviors, some of which you can start practicing today.
Taking care of your physical and mental health is something we should practice every day, not just when we’re sick or experiencing a sharp bout of anxiety. Learning how to eat better, develop helpful routines, and monitor your habits and thoughts will help you prevent stress and manage tough situations better.
While it’s hard to make space for “me time” while we’re worried about work, spending time with friends and family, and other everyday stressors, there are simple ways of sneaking in self care if you know where to look.
Here are 5 self-care tips that can help you lead a less stressful life:
Routines give us a blueprint of daily, often auto-pilot actions. Most of us follow these routines during key moments of the day, like before going to bed and upon waking. Try to sneak in some helpful habits during these times of the day, such as limiting your smartphone usage, meditating and setting time limits when it comes to waking up and going to bed. Habit stacking is also useful, allowing us to remember that we’re supposed to do something helpful for ourselves, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.
Make time for friends and family
While we usually associate self-care with alone time, surrounding yourself with friends and family is also another form of taking care of yourself. Hang out with people that leave you feeling energized and limit the time you spend with toxic people. Helping out a friend will make you feel better and will also ensure that someone will have your back when times get tough.
Take an interest in your health
Prioritize your health, making regular visits to the doctor and slowly try to cut bad habits. While drinking and eating fast foods occasionally is perfectly fine and good for you mental health, try to limit these behaviors on a weekly basis, creating more opportunities for exercising, eating healthy and taking care of yourself.
Pay attention to your thoughts
Self-monitoring is one of the best habits you can adopt for changing behaviors and breaking patterns. Psychology Today reports that self-monitoring allows you to keep track of your progress or lack of progress when it comes to achieving a goal. It’s a moment of reckoning when you spot unhelpful patterns that you commit to on a daily basis, but it’s a necessary step for viewing your progress and for setting realistic goals.
Listen to your emotions
Listening to your emotions is important for self-care, allowing you to identify sources of stress, triggers and more. Pay attention to your feelings, what actions and people make you feel happy or sad. Developing a better understanding of your emotions will allow you to make better decisions in the future and will teach you better coping habits when it facing moments of change and high stress.