10 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself
There is more to a healthy, happy life than hydration, salads and sleep.
Here is a simple fact: if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. It is crucial to your success and longevity to find ways to take care of yourself that are geared toward some sort of spontaneity, rather than regular regimen. You can have the best diet in the world, get enough sleep, work out daily, hydrate and still feel mentally and emotionally exhausted by life. Being physically healthy certainly mitigates the negative impacts of stress, but you must traverse beyond being overly disciplined to wholeheartedly live your life. Life must be a balance.
1. Indulge in a warm drink.
There is something healing about holding and sipping on a warm drink, no matter the time of day. A warm drink provides a forced slow-down because you must take your time to drink it. As you slow down, your breath slows down, and things naturally become calmer internally. Plus, anything warm is also soothing. When you’re feeling stressed take 10 minutes to go grab something warm to drink. The more you stay away from caffeine the less anxious you will be, the better your blood sugar, and the better your energy.
2. Food is fun.
Good nutrition is clearly important in maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit. Be mindful of the quality of fuel you put into your body; however, it is also important to indulge a little because -- bottom line -- eating is fun. Eating is social. It brings people together, it is nurturing, it makes you feel better mentally and emotionally, and it’s creative.
On another note, food essentially organizes your day. You plan when you’re going to eat, what you’re going to eat and who you’re going to eat with. Eating provides you necessary breaks during the day, which is why most look forward to it. Missing a meal is like missing recess at school. Don’t miss recess!
3. Watch movies/TV.
Watching movies and/or TV are great entertainment. Both can be enjoyed alone or intimately with others. It is a social and internal way to spend some downtime. Great shows, sporting events and movies are “experiences” you share in, and they provide great cause for easy and fun conversation. Most importantly, they pull you out of your stress by putting your mind and emotions into another world. If you’re in a dry patch of feeling flat in your career, it is helpful to watch documentaries or movies which inspire you emotionally to be a better human being, to overcome your challenges and to remind you of the reasons you’re working so hard. In this way, movies/TV can also be used as a form of therapy.
4. Responsibility is your freedom.
The best way to authentically and most effectively take care of yourself is to be responsible. Think about it, there is no such thing as an irresponsible healthy, successful human being. Take care of your stuff. It’s really that simple. Tackle your bigger stressors first, and then move your focus to the less important details in need of our attention.
When you tackle your responsibilities, you’re also opening the door to experience the freedom you desire to have from them. Once you complete what is necessary you can clock-out feeling accomplished and ready to roll. It’s now time for a little celebration.
5. Find the quiet.
The world is loud, the mind is loud, stress is loud, kids are loud, meetings are loud.
Life is loud.
Finding some quiet time in your day is necessary for you to remain balanced. The noise of life is dramatic. It’s too easy to catch the negativity infection and unconsciously feed into it. Taking some time to get quiet and gain perspective helps you discern what important items need your attention, and what items on the table you can let go of. You do not need quiet-time in equal proportion to your work-time, but try and create 15-30 minutes per day at a minimum. It really doesn’t take much to re-ground yourself.
If you want to feel good and do better, read. You don’t have to solely focus on self-development, but you should have at least one self-development book on hand at all times to keep you directed and inspired. However, it’s important for your self-care to indulge in some brainless magazines, novels and other topics which spark your interest.
Reading is way to internally travel into another world. It provides an imaginative break from your work-life. Most importantly, the more you read, the more you exercise your brain, the more you boost your knowledge, confidence, mental sharpness and intelligence.
This is a big huge world we live in, so it’s crucial to get out and explore life beyond your commute to and from the office. While it is healthy to have a sense of structure to your routine, you can only grow so much living Ground Gog Day over and over.
Take the time you have on weekends and/or vacation time to get totally out of your comfort zone. Explore new things, new cultures and new experiences. Take a road trip solo and get to know yourself. Make it a priority, each month, to explore new restaurants or to cook recipes you haven’t tried before. The more cultured you are, the more wisdom and compassion you develop as a human being.
Relax people. Get a massage, sit in the sun, take a walk, meditate, get outside, take a vacation, a day off of work to recoup, turn off your electronics, browse the internet, sit in a sauna or steam room, laugh, go to happy hour, golf, take a hot yoga class, or a long weekend to get away.
Relax your mind, your body and your spirit in whatever ways work best for you. Relaxation is crucial to being mentally sharp and emotionally balanced. Without enough time to relax you are more prone to being moody, short tempered and to make more mistakes.
9. Speak up.
There is absolutely no path to happiness on any level if you do not, cannot, or will not speak up for yourself.
There are times to stay quiet, but most of the time, to get anywhere in your life, to get any of your needs or goals met, you cannot do so through “pleasing” or “catering” to others. You must let this world know who you are, what you want, what you don’t want, what you like, and what you don’t like. To have any self-respect at all, to achieve the levels of success you desire, you must use your voice. The more you do this, the more confident, happy, fulfilled, self-respecting and successful you become.
10. Dork out.
You all have an inner dork. Whether you play video games, love to research history, engage in goofy antics, collect coins, read romance novels, have a passion for cars, technology, playing cards or other games. It is tremendously necessary and healthy not to live as a 100 percent serious person. Also, it’s a great strategy to use your personality and sense of humor (as long as it’s not offensive) to have fun wherever you go, including the work environment.
Anything that is too serious, is stressful. Dork-out whenever you get the chance. It makes things lighthearted, it shows humility, makes you more approachable to others and it's good for networking because people are drawn to fun people.
Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.