How often have felt like this? You feel like you have just gotten to sleep and the next thing you know your alarm is blaring. It’s time to get up, again. You reach out for your phone, hit the snooze button, “just a little more shut eye before I get up”. And then before you know it, you’ve already pushed snooze three times to find you’ve only got enough time to have a quick shower, rush to get dressed and bolt out the door.
You push through the day fuelled on a cup of coffee and a donut without any time to prepare a good nutritious meal, or for exercise. And the thought of setting aside some time for self-care to nourish your spirit seems to be a luxury that might occur in the distant future once you’ve caught up with everything on your plate.
Sleep, wake up, work, repeat. Sound familiar? This kind of daily grind will eventually lead to burn out. This is what happened to me. I worked and studied hard. I didn’t set aside time to look after myself. I was so focused on my goals, achievements, and meeting the huge expectations I had of myself. I thought I was bulletproof and that I could handle juggling all the balls I had in the air.
I always thought “I’ll take that vacation when I get that promotion, or after that project finishes.” Or “I’ll have a massage after work” only to find that I would have to cancel my appointment as something urgent had come up at work.
I thought work came first and my work related goals were my priorities which left me little time for anything else. Eventually, my body forced me to take a vacation, but it was not at a beautiful resort. I was bedridden, completely burnt out, and it took a very long time to recover.
It is so vital that you set aside time for self-care, to look after yourself. I know. You’re busy, and finding the time to take good care of yourself can be difficult. But it’s important to ensure that you avoid being battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.
Are you stuck in an unhealthy daily grind? Here are ten simple ways to incorporate self-care into your life.
1. Start your day with a morning ritual
I used to answer at least ten emails or messages before even getting out of bed each morning. I’m learning that I’m much happier when I take about 45 minutes getting ready for the day by spending time in my garden, showering and then performing my morning ritual before looking at my emails. Most issues can wait and are better dealt with when you are ready to deal with them.
I start every morning with a short 10-15 minute meditation from an app called Om Harmonics. We spend so much of our time in a hyperactive stress out state that we often forget that it isn’t our natural state. Relaxation through meditation gives us a chance to reconnect with our inner self and helps us ward off unnecessary after-effects of stress, which ultimately put a strain on our bodies. Follow the link for more information on Meditation.
After my meditation, I then write down the ten things I’m most grateful for which helps me to start the day intentionally focusing on finding good things rather than reacting to anything and everything that is going on around me. I then set my intention for the day. I find that if I write down my intention I usually find that I have the type of day I wanted.
This morning ritual helps me to start my day on a positive note. It also increases my self-awareness helping me to put into perspective the things that matter the most. I have also found that by setting aside time for this morning ritual, I am more productive as well as happy and relaxed.
2. Schedule some me time in first
When you put yourself on your schedule first , you won’t have meetings and appointments that prevent you from taking care of yourself. I prefer to put myself as my first appointment of the day on my calendar that is linked to my phone and my laptop as well as my other devices. This way I ensure that I follow my morning rituals and not get caught up in the day, deciding later to skip on important things that keep me grounded, like exercise and meditation. This is so helpful when you have people at work who look for free time in your calendar to schedule a meeting. If you have time already reserved some “me-time”, you will be more likely to keep your appointment with yourself, and the bonus of having reminders increase the chances that you will keep your appointment with yourself.
3. Set specific time slots when you don’t work.
Focusing on work is a great excuse for not taking care of yourself. I schedule work-free slots first thing in the morning (before eight a.m.) and dinnertime (6 to 8 p.m.). During these time my computer is off and I answer my phone for only those who important in my personal life. Block off work-free times in your calendar. This is the best way to ensure that these times are clear for your “no work” time.
4. Get moving
Exercise is one of the most critical components to staying healthy and maintaining optimal wellness. Sedentary lifestyles produce mediocre bodies and fast-forward the aging process. To achieve greater health and feel your best, you must move your body. Of course, there are virtually thousands of ways to exercise, but each one of us has different needs and health concerns. How you choose to exercise isn’t as important as simply being active. In other words, whether you decide to run 5 miles every morning or shoot for a quick 20-minute walk around the neighborhood, as long as you are moving you can attain physical fitness.
For me, I love yoga. It has many so many benefits, from helping to keep you physically fit to helping relax the mind and washing away feelings of stress and anxiety. With our busy lifestyles, it is common for people to forget to take a little bit of time out for themselves to de-stress and recuperate after a hard day of work, and yoga has the potential to achieve this. Yoga is a low-impact exercise and, therefore, can be done by people of all physical levels and all ages. It’s the easiest way to reset your mind and body in 60 minutes.
Most of all choose something you love doing and aim for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week.
5. Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal is an excellent tool for self-examination. You can use it to track your progress, encourage yourself and especially when you are trying to help better self-talk. It is a great outlet for dealing with challenges and where you can process your thoughts. It helps to get some feelings that you have bottled up inside out and on paper. I have found I have gotten to know myself better by keeping a journal and by writing down my thoughts have more understanding about how I feel about things. .
6. Have a chat
In studies conducted in places where there are the greatest concentrations of centenarians (people over 100 years of age), such as Okinawa Japan, one of the most important factor attributed to their long lives were family and friends and their sense of community. Your friends and family are your biggest supporters and are a great source of encouragement. When you are having a very stressful and busy day, pick up the phone for a few minutes just to say hi to Mom or have a chat with your best friend. You don’t have to talk about your problems, just talk about the good things that are happening in their lives or just have a laugh. It will keep you grounded and connected.
7. Read, watch or listen to something inspiring
One of the best ways to refresh your mind is by taking an afternoon break from your workflow and escaping to another world. Fictional stories help to stimulate right brain activity, sparking creativity. This might contribute to making your day go a little smoother by helping you to think in a different way. Biographies are wonderful for inspiration as well. Choose someone you really admire and become engrossed in the story of their life..
Another great thing to do in your afternoon break is to go outside, get fresh air and listen to an inspiring podcast or a Ted Talk with the podcast app that now comes standard on the iPhone.
8. Make time for play.
It is vital to incorporate play time into your life. Do something you love, and savor every moment you are doing it. You can be something as simple as taking a bath by candlelight, or listening to beautiful music or indulging a hobby such as gardening, painting or taking in the sights of a beautiful view. You can plan a holiday to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to. If you have a pet, spend some time playing with or cuddling them. Or if you have children spend some quality play time with them. Make a habit of doing something fun at least once a week.
9. Remember to Pamper Yourself
Pampering yourself facilitates relief from stress and helps you to connect with your inner self. It is a good way to practice self-care and self-love. However, some feel that pampering yourself is selfish. The truth is that this type of thinking is flawed. When you practice self-love, you have more of yourself to give to others. In fact, when you think about it this way, the practice of self-love is a really a selfless act. There’s nothing more important than making sure that you are just as happy and just as healthy as can be, especially in the stressful and pressure-packed modern world we all live in today.
Make time regularly to have a Day Spa at Home. It will help you to have beautiful hair and skin while letting the stress and pressure of day to day life just melt away.
10. Get enough Sleep
The health, well-being and beauty benefits of sleep are incredible. Getting the sleep your body needs helps lead better mood, energy levels, focus and concentration. Not to mention that many detoxification processes are performed while we sleep and helps your brain to process what you have done during the day. To do perform at and to be your best, it’s critical to consistently recharge your batteries by getting adequate sleep.
It is so easy to get stuck in a grind. I know, I’ve been there myself. All of the stress and pressure of life in our busy modern lives is having an adverse effect on our sense of self-worth and our ability to love ourselves—nothing could be more detracting from leading the happy and fulfilling lives we were meant to lead. It is so vital that you set aside time to look after yourself, inspire yourself and to do something completely different to work, study or just the same old routine. I hope this article has given you some ideas to incorporate some self-care into your life. They are so simple but make such a difference.