Treat Yourself to the Basics
You can hardly scroll social media anymore without an influencer pushing another self-care product that they are obsessed with. Self-care, however, starts long before purchasing the newest product or service. Psych Central defines self-care as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” The most important investment you can make in yourself is time, and there are easy changes you can make today to take better care of your body.
Move Your Body
When you experience stress, your muscles tense up. The American Psychological Association says that “muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress – the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain.” Two easy ways to ease this tension in your body are to intentionally move more and to care for your muscles.
The Mayo Clinic states that, “Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.” This physical activity can come from a visit to a gym, an online workout program, or even a 15-minute walk during your lunch break. A regular stretching routine is also a great addition to your day.
Drink Plenty of Water
Every system in your body counts on water to function properly. According to brainMD, water intake not only keeps us hydrated and nourishes our skin, but it helps our brain function and connectivity by improving concentration, balancing mood and emotions, and preventing headaches. Easy ways to increase your water intake include finding the right water bottle (we highly recommend a water bottle with time markers to keep you on track), adding fruit to your water to add a little flavor, and starting your day off with a full glass of water as soon as you get out of bed.
Get Enough Sleep
Adults are generally recommended to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, which sounds easy enough. Sleep, however, is often one of the first things to suffer when your life gets busy. Healthline provides many reasons why a quality night’s sleep is so important, including lesser known reasons like lessening the risk of heart disease and stroke, decreased inflammation, and limiting weight gain. By setting a regular bedtime routine, including a set time to go to bed and wake up, you can ensure that you are getting the sleep you need.
Read a Book
Mason Cooley once said, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” There is something magical about taking the time to get caught up in someone else’s story. Whether your preferred method of reading is through a physical copy of a book, an e-reader, or audiobook, even a short 15-minute reading break can significantly lower your stress level. Anne Bogel, host of the What Should I Read Next? podcast, puts together weekly book lists around a variety of topics and is a great place to start if you are looking for your next read.
We are all having to get more creative to stay connected to friends and family right now, but there are so many tools to help you do that. Technology has come a long way in the last few years, and there are many resources now available, to provide interactive, face-to-face communication with the people who mean most to you. As Amy Poehler says, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”