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After a year like 2020, the importance of self care has become more apparent than ever. The only problem is that all too often, self care is branded as bubble baths, shopping trips, and vacations. And while these things can be helpful, I think of them more as Band-Aids than actual self care.
Really, self care is about creating sustainable habits and a lifestyle that is beneficial to you and your mental health. Towards the end of this past year, I started working on creating these habits for myself and in just a few months started experiencing the benefits, after years of struggling with depression and anxiety.
By implementing these habits of self care, I’ve been able to increase my motivation, productivity, and energy. I know I’m not the only one who can benefit from these habits, so I wanted to share them and encourage you to try them out for yourself.
1. Make Your Bed Every Day
This probably sounds kinda dumb and underwhelming, but hear me out.
Oftentimes when I would go through a depressive episode, things like cleaning would fall to the wayside. Dishes would pile up, laundry wouldn’t get done, and living in a dirty place would just make me feel more depressed, creating a cycle that is difficult to break out of.
By making the bed every day, I was doing one small thing that broke the cycle. My bedroom looked better with it made and it meant that even if I did nothing else all day, I had accomplished one thing. Many times it would also encourage and motivate me to clean up the rest of the house. Eventually it just became part of my morning routine and I actually enjoy doing it now.
2. Drink More Water
This one is simple but very important. Water is essential for life, but chances are you aren’t drinking enough for your body. A good way to find out how much water your body needs is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it in 2, and drink that much in ounces.
For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you would want to drink 90 ounces of water a day.
If you are like me and don’t weigh yourself, you can either just approximate your weight or stick to the standard “8 glasses a day” and see how that makes you feel. Bottles like this are also great for keeping track of how much water you are drinking throughout the day!
3. Improve Your Mind-Body Connections
I’ve found that a habit like this can help keep you grounded during difficult times. It can be as simple as mindful stretching or taking a walk everyday or more extensive workouts like weightlifting or running everyday. The important thing is that during the exercise, you focus on how your body feels.
I liked to incorporate stretching into my morning and nighttime routines. It helped me to feel that connection throughout the entire day and relax before going to bed.
4. Set a Skincare Routine
No matter your age, gender, or hobbies, a skincare routine is important! If you don’t have one at all, I highly encourage you to start a simple one. At the very least you should be cleansing, moisturizing, and using sunscreen (yes, even if it isn’t sunny out).
Setting a regular skincare routine is truly doing future you a favor, and spending a couple minutes on it in the morning and evening are worth the long term benefits.
5. Be Intentional About Gratitude
It is so easy to focus on the negative in our lives, and I don’t want to discount how difficult life can really be for some people, especially during a global pandemic. But focusing on only the bad is detrimental to your mental health.
I firmly believe that there is something to be grateful for every day, like little rays of sunshine that leak into our lives when it’s dark. By being intentional about finding these rays of sunshine, we leave more room for them to appear.
I started listing 5 things every day. Some days they were more extravagant than others, but eventually I became more appreciative of even the little things.
6. Journal Every Day
Just a couple days ago, Alicia wrote about journaling and shared some great journal prompts you can use. Now, I’m not a spill your guts on the page kinda gal like Alicia. I usually just write a couple sentences about my day or how I’m feeling and leave it at that. But however you like to journal, just do it!
It’s a healthy emotional and mental release, as well as a great way to document your progress and experiences in life.
7. Spend More Time Away from Screens
This habit is so important, especially if you are still dealing with lockdowns or working from home. It’s no secret that social media can have negative effects on mental health, and staring at a screen all day is not good for your physical health either.
Find a hobby you enjoy that can give you a break from all the screens! Baking, hiking, reading, crafting, you name it. It doesn’t matter how good you are at it. Exercise your mind and give your eyes a break, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day.
8. Set Aside More Time For Yourself
Stop overexerting yourself. Stop giving all of your time and energy to everyone else around you while neglecting yourself. Get in the habit of having time everyday that is just for you, where you aren’t working or focusing on someone else. It’s okay to spend time focusing on yourself and just relaxing! It doesn’t make you a bad parent, friend, employee, or person.
This may take the longest to truly learn and realize, but once you do it is liberating!
I hope that you’ve found something useful here. Which of these self care habits are you going to try next year?
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Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!