When it comes to feeling your best, the truth is, we usually know exactly what we need to focus on, but the last thing we do is implement it into our daily lives. Why is that? Our minds are powerful tools. With so much to answer to on a daily basis, and an often natural tendency to be sure others are ok, we lose sight, commitment and action around our own self-care. If we don’t give our mind the attention it needs such as opportunities to relax and feel clear or to change the way we think about things to avoid negativity, then it can have an impact on our wellbeing, and overall our lives. So what can we do?
Self-care and a positive mindset are the key to happiness on the inside. We know this. And I don’t want this statement to be brushed off as a “cliché” recommendation while meanwhile, your inner critic (the ego) is saying “yeah right! I’ll never change. I already know this, but I don’t have the time. You don’t understand my situation. Self-care is not an option.”
If that’s you. It’s ok. If you’ve tried “self-care” before and fallen off, that’s ok too. But you’re here now. Keep reading. And simply ask yourself, which one of these is actually an option for me? If I’m being completely honest, what is a baby self-care step I can try this week? That’s it!
Because when it comes to resetting, relaxing and self-caring… we may even advise it to friends and family members. But when was the last time that you made self-care your priority for you? Here are some of the ways you can implement this to feel better within yourself. And ultimately, to show up better in all areas of your life!
Take Time for You
One of the first things you can do to indulge in a little more self-care is to take some time out for you. This can be the simplest of tasks that you do, but often gives you the greatest results. It might be that you run a nice hot bath. Or you can look at doing things like going to bed earlier to read a book, enjoying a nice meal that you haven’t had to cook, or taking more time with your skincare routine than you normally would. Small changes like this can make a massive difference to how you feel day to day. These things enable you to take a step back, and to really appreciate the time that you have. Where in your day can you create 10-20min, just for YOU?
Looking After Yourself
Do you really take good care of yourself? You might have a healthy diet and exercise, but what about the basics? The regular check ups at the doctors, such as getting your blood work done, an eye exam, etc. I know a lot of people who have said “I need glasses, I just haven’t gotten around to it” and that’s a daily physical strain that can really add up! There are even all sorts of companies that can send you glasses with your prescription to try out. If you want more info on this, you can find it here. Even having your hearing checked and keeping up to date with regular appointments at the dentist means you are taking care of yourself and can be seen as a form of self-care. Something we should be “automatically” doing can make a big difference to how we feel in our lives. Take an inventory of what basic check-ups you need, make a list, and begin with one at a time.
Drink More Water
Water is nature’s natural detox, and so it can be a great way to help you feel better and could be the perfect way to help you start making self-care a priority. Water can not only help you to stay hydrated, but it can also help to improve your energy levels, allow you to get a better quality of sleep and can improve skin condition and tone. Increasing your water intake is one of the simplest ways to help you make self-care a priority. If you need a little extra motivation, I highly recommend making water-drinking fun and easily measurable with this creative and encouraging water bottle with hourly markers of water intake goals.
You Knew this One Was Coming… Exercise!
Most of us are completely aware of the value of exercise when it comes to our day to day lives, but often the issue is that we feel we don’t have time to attend lengthy gym sessions, and not all of us jive with group workouts. It isn’t always about attending a gym, but making a choice to be more active daily can make the biggest difference to your mood and your mindset. I personally love the gym, and love group classes. But recently I’ve even been more mindful about going on walks, and it’s been a wonder for my daily mindset!
Sometimes exercise can often be the biggest hurdle we can face for helping us with our mental health, but it can actually be a great turning point and give us the biggest high. Literally, because our feel-good endorphins are released during exercise! Small changes can make a big difference. Try going out for a walk, stretching for 5min morning and night, taking a dance class, or downloading an app that guides you through a HIIT workout! It could help to make you feel completely different.
A Shift in Eating and Taking a Balanced Approach
You may find that doing something such as changing your diet can have a significant impact on how you feel, the amount of energy you have and your general mood. Food is such an important aspect of our lives, which means it can be difficult to navigate when the temptation of cake and ice cream becomes a more-often-than-you’d-like type of craving haha. So, what’s a possibly helpful approach?
A balanced approach can be good for the soul. This means not denying yourself any of the food groups and eating certain types of food in moderation. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help you to stay more energized, regular 😉 and satiated when it comes to wanting sweetness. Really prioritizing protein in each meal, and even snacks, helps us hold on to lean muscle, repair the body, and again feel satisfied.
Eating the foods that aren’t ‘whole foods’ but might have more processing, sugar, fat, etc. in moderation is a great approach to have when it comes to a balanced diet. And it also helps us stay mentally balanced around food choices as well!
Gratitude is one of those things that is so prevalent as a self-care suggestion, partly because it’s a needed daily reminder. Our brain can default to the stress, the negative, the ‘bad’. It can feel hard at first to understand what it is you should be thankful for, but looking back on your day is a great place to start. In fact, I have a free handout that gives you a daily journaling exercise at the end of each day! Download my free gratitude handout here.
During this exercise, you write down one thing you’re letting go of, one thing you’re proud of, and one thing you’re grateful for. If you are in a tough spot and not actually ‘feeling’ grateful, keep it simple. It might be a chance to see a friend, your warm bed or the food you have eaten. The more you do, the more easy it is to start doing it throughout the day too. The more thankful we are, the happier and more positive we become. So this is your invitation to jump on the Gratitude Train and be one of “those annoyingly (yet authentically) happy” people. Haha.
Trying Calming Techniques Like Meditation
Feeling stressed and anxious at times is common, so it might be a good idea to try some calming techniques that can help your mindset stay balanced. Self-care can often be about extinguishing the fires before they begin to rage. Meaning, managing stress levels could be an excellent way to help you feel more in control.
Meditation is a great way to do this. It allows you to stay focused, to clear your mind and empty your thoughts. It can calm you down and allow you to gain your composure. If you haven’t done it before, there are plenty of applications you can download to your phone with guides to help you get started.
Your Mindset, and Changing Old Habits
Finally, a change of mindset might be all you need to help you change old habits. And I don’t mean to say that as an overnight, just do it, type of statement.
In fact, it might feel forced to focus on your thought process at first, but often negativity needs to be combated by actively and intentionally making a change. Thinking positively and ensuring that you have that outlook on life in a long-term way.
The more you do it, the more natural it will become. Positive thoughts can even feel uncomfortable at first, especially as we naturally gravitate toward drama and negativity. There’s oddly more stimulation in the brain with negativity than with positivity, meaning we’re heightened and alert to be aware of negativity. Think of the news. Or when we get feedback. Ten critiques might be positive, but we’ll remember that one comment from someone who had a correction for us, or said they didn’t like what we shared, etc.
Another example: getting a bill for your house in the mail. That might spark a negative thought. Instead, focus on the fact you are in a position to pay the bill. How fortunate are you, actually, to be getting this bill! It means you have a house.
Your home is then what you become thankful for. You get to pay the bill, not that you have to. Applying this mentality to your life will help you to see the positives in almost all situations.
I hope these tips help you when it comes to incrementally improving your self-care, your mindset, and your happiness! Comment below and let me know which one you will do this week!