You’re busy. You have a lot to handle on a daily basis, from work to family to caring for your household. You want to keep up to date on health news and politics. You need to reach out to extended family members and check on their wellbeing. The dog needs to go for a walk. Your teenager has a school project due tomorrow. All of a sudden, it’s time to cook dinner… or maybe you’ll just pop in a frozen pizza- again. Before bed there is just enough time to check your email again. If you’re not careful, there’s one person you’ll forget to take care of in a loving way- yourself! Exhaustion, irritation, and stress won’t leave enough of you to go around if you aren’t diligent in practicing daily self-care.
Self-love is vital to your mood. This means it is also key to a good relationship with others Let’s take a more detailed look at exactly what this entails:
#1 Set the tone for your day. How do your days begin? With a blaring alarm clock, hitting “snooze” a few times, and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook as your sip your first cup of coffee? You can do better than that! We’re at the mercy of the external world when we launch into the day without plugging into ourselves first. Mental health experts tell us to talk to yourself like you are your own best friend. Something as simple as “How are you feeling today?” can help you bring mindfulness and awareness to a situation. Are you nervous? Are you excited? If you are feeling a little down, ask yourself how to get back on track. Maybe you need to cancel a meeting to spend more time on your personal life. Perhaps you can push back an appointment to get in a 30-minute walk.
#2 Spend five minutes meditating each morning. Developing a morning meditation practice can be a life-altering experience in a positive way. Taking just five minutes in the morning benefits you all day! When you meditate, you are accessing a place of love, strength, and power. This is the perfect mindset to begin your day! Morning meditation reduces your stress, increases your awareness, boosts your overall well-being, and allows us to see the “big picture” before we begin our day.
#3 Add a “positive filter” to your conversations. Many of us have a tendency to speak about ourselves in a negative way that we would never use to talk about a loved one. When you’re talking bad about yourself, your mind hears this and internalizes it. It becomes a never-ending tape played on loop within your own head! It isn’t just about internalized negative thoughts. People are listening to you, from your daughter to your best friend. Making jokes about how fat or how bad you look encourages other people to do the same. On the other hand, articulating something we love about ourselves is not only great for your mental health but also gives others around you permission to feel good about themselves too.
#4 Nourish and fuel your body. What does your body need to eat in order to feel happy, healthy, and full? When you give yourself the space to consider how to nourish and fuel your body, you’ll leave the table feeling good about yourself. This means you can’t wait until you’re famished to decide on dinner or make a last-minute decision to pull into a drive-through because you forgot lunch. Be sure to choose mood-boosting foods! Diets rich with Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, reduce inflammation in our brain and help improve our moods. Similarly, spinach, asparagus, and brussels sprouts are high in folate, a nutrient linked to lower depression rates. Don’t forget to add in some kiwis and almonds to help you sleep better!
#5 Remind yourself that “me time” is not a guilty pleasure. Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is anything that refuels you, rather than takes from you. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. When you love what you do for self-care, it is key to an improved mood and reduced anxiety. This could be a certain form of daily exercise, like yoga, taking a bath, getting a massage, taking a nap, or putting on a facemask and listening to some soothing music. Work, friends, and family place large demands on us, but carving out time for ourselves isn’t selfish. Ultimately, it’s an investment in those around us. As the famous saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup!”
#6 Give your body the rejuvenation it needs. Your body needs rest and rejuvenation, not only for you but so you can be there for others. This means getting the sleep you need. Just like it’s important to exercise, it is important to rest as well. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Your body, mind, and soul require eight hours of sleep every night. Making a serious effort to ensure that happens is essential. If you aren’t getting what you need, it may be that setting up a sleep oasis complete with a luxury mattress, adjustable bed base, supportive pillows, and premium linens is needed.
Practicing self-love is just as important as the love you give to your partner, children, family, friends, pets, and others you care about. Begin your day in a way that is positive and mindful. Then, make conscious choices to do things that will improve your mental and physical health, which means everything from speaking positively to eating well to getting a full eight hours of sleep at night. When you are showing yourself the self-love you deserve, your life will be more rewarding and enjoyable!