Although self-care can incorporate numerous practices and routines, starting to take care of yourself is simpler than you might imagine. Beginning with daily small steps will naturally lead to a better and transformative lifestyle. Here are five easy ways to build a solid foundation.
- Go for a walk outside: Regardless of your fitness level, a walk is a great way to de-stress and stretch your legs after a long day. Getting outside always makes me feel refreshed after being cooped up indoors at work or school. Walking can serve as your exercise every day, or can help you build up your fitness level into something more substantial. I have gotten into the practice of going for walks as often as I can, and love the chance to catch up with a family member or friend. As simple as it sounds, it can do a lot for your physical and mental well being.
- Prioritize breakfast: If you forsake breakfast for sleep, you are not alone. Countless people never eat breakfast because they are in a hurry or hit the snooze button one too many times. Dr. John L. Ivy of the University of Texas at Austin corroborates the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Ivy states that “Breakfast is a critical meal because it influences practically every dimension of our being during the course of the day, including how we perform physically and mentally” (easacademy.org). Thus, it is crucial to provide your body with proper nutrition in the morning to enable yourself to feel your best. Not only does it affect how you feel, but it impacts the way your body works, including maintaining healthy cortisol levels and the way your body craves food. What you eat is equally as important. Assaulting your body with a sugary cereal sets you up for craving sugar the rest of the day and does not properly nourish your body. Instead, opt for eggs or grain-free granola with almond milk and berries. It might take an extra fifteen minutes every morning, but it is well worth it. Read more about the benefits of eating breakfast here.
- Have fun: One of the biggest things that has helped me persist through difficult periods of life is implementing something fun into each day. It astounds me how often people forget to have fun, especially once the routine of adulthood sets in. Whatever fun means to you, whether it is watching a tv show with a friend, sitting down with a good book for half an hour, or going to a favorite restaurant, you can make it a part of your daily life. A healthy work life balance is essential to maintaining positive well being. I understand feeling like you don’t have time or energy to do this during the week, but I encourage you to try. If nothing else, make sure you plan something enjoyable during your days off.
- Drink enough water: You have heard this a million times, but drinking water is incredibly important to your physical and mental health. If you find you forget to drink water throughout the day, set a goal for yourself to attain. For example, fill a water bottle and promise yourself you will drink the whole thing by the end of the day. Especially if you are an avid coffee drinker, you need to hydrate your body more than others. I notice a significant difference in how I feel on days when I drink water immediately when I wake up in the morning compared to days I only drink coffee for the first couple hours of the morning.
- Catch up with friends and family: Oftentimes life can get away from us and before we know it, it’s been two months since we last saw certain friends or family members. Even if it is just a phone call, be intentional about keeping up with others’ lives. Texting is an okay placeholder, but there is nothing like having an actual conversation with someone we love. Showing this kind of care for people and knowing they care about you has a significant impact on how we feel.