You are the most important person in your life.
It’s time to start treating yourself like it.
There’s been a lot of hubbub around self-care, especially since most of us found ourselves completely isolated from the people and things that make us feel whole. Once quarantine hit, many of us expected a nice little stay-cation in the comfort of our home. But reality came all-too-soon when our lives became stagnant. Taking care of our mental and physical health has been one of the most important things we could do for ourselves as we waited for life to start again. Just because things have begun to open back up and life is starting to feel more like it was a little over a year ago, doesn’t mean you should put the self-care you’ve been working on back onto the back-burner.
A lot of people struggled to master the art of self-care during one of the most impactful events of our lifetime. While some thrived under stay-at-home orders, others crumbled. If you’ve found yourself unable to climb out of the chasm the pandemic left in your life, prioritizing your well-being is going to be the ladder that leads you back to your life.
It’s more than just face masks and your favorite food. Self-care is about the unconditional love you hold for yourself that supports you and your growth throughout your entire life. Taking good care of your mental and physical self is what will help you succeed in every area of life that you aspire to succeed in. Shooting for a promotion? Looking for love? The more you love and take care of yourself, the more your confidence grows and the more bright your aura shines. Other people notice, too, and people will want to surround themselves with people like you.
Knowing how to take care of yourself may not be something that comes naturally for a lot of people, and sometimes the things that used to work don’t anymore. That’s why it’s so important to listen to your mind, body, and heart in finding what works best for you. Be open to exploring the possibilities that are out there and build yourself up from the inside out. To make it a little easier, we put together a list of 9 ways to take care of yourself and get you motivated on your self-care journey!
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Reading & Learning
Remember that feeling of being totally immersed in a subject or a book as a kid? Maybe it was a book that took you from your childhood bedroom into a magical world filled with spectacular mysteries. Or maybe you were in awe at the formation of stars and planets in the sky or the dinosaurs you learned about at school, so you took every opportunity you could to learn more about the things you loved. As we get older, we can start to lose that fascination and wonder we were filled with as children. Making time to indulge in that curiosity through reading and learning can be so beneficial for living a healthy life in adulthood, just like when you were a kid! It’s not just about finding enjoyment in the books your read or subject you learn about, but setting aside time for learning and reading is actually going to help you create better habits for your life in the long run! It’s an easy and fun way to jump into self-care that will help to motivate you and establish a self-care routine, too!
Image by Gregory Pappas
Making Sleep a Priority
You’ve probably heard it a million and a half times already, but getting enough sleep is integral to a healthy and happy life. Giving your brain the time it needs to process information and reset is what is going to keep you in the right headspace and give you the tools you need to live your life. Memory, emotion, attention, energy, weight, immune system, and so much more are all regulated during sleep! It’s not just that you need to get enough sleep, but that you need to establish a routine where you give yourself enough time to rest on a regular basis, too. Restoring your mental and physical health starts with healthy sleeping habits. If you want to take care of yourself, you have to give your body what it needs!
Image by Anastasiia Chepinska
Knowing When and How to Say “No”
Like most people, you’ve probably found yourself putting more stress on your shoulders than necessary. You take on extra work projects, obligations to friends and family, responsibilities with spouses and children, and who knows what else. It’s true, some things are necessary and can’t be avoided. You have to feed your children; you have to go to work; you have to eat, but there are a lot of things we put on our plate that only stress out more. If you happen to be a people-pleaser, this can totally derail your life at times. One of the best things you can learn in life is that you are the most important person in it. It doesn’t mean you’re conceited for acknowledging it, just that you respect yourself and are comfortable setting boundaries that will keep you happy, safe, and healthy. One of these boundaries is being able to say “no” to things that don’t benefit you. If your friends are asking you to come to a night out but you’ve had a long week and would like nothing more than to stay home and watch a movie on the couch, there is nothing wrong with letting yourself have that. Learning and establishing your own boundaries will totally transform your life and mental health. So next time someone asks you to take on a responsibility that makes you feel stressed, uncomfortable, or discouraged, know that “no” is a perfectly acceptable answer and that you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Taking care of yourself starts with you.
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Taking care of yourself means bettering your mind, body, and spirit. So, of course, exercise is going to be part of a healthy self-care routine. Staying active and getting some exercise into your daily or weekly routine is going to help balance your mood, energy, and overall life significantly. It may not be particularly enjoyable at first, but after some time it often becomes something many people look forward to, and a lot of what helps people transition from hating to loving exercise has to do with perspective. If you begin exercising with the intention of “I’m unhappy with myself and exercise will make me into this image of myself I think I will be happy with,” odds are, that’s not going to be what makes you happy. Exercise is a tool to take care of your body, whatever it happens to look like. You don’t need to fit a specific mold or look a certain way to be happy, you just need to be what feels like you. For a lot of people, exercise is something that makes their body stronger, which means it’s more equipped to take care of them. Changing your perspective can help you establish a better relationship with exercise and your body, which in turn will improve your mental health and physical well-being, too!
Image by Elyse Turton
Spending Time with Nature
With a lot of us having to live our lives from the inside of our houses, we’ve forgotten the importance of spending time in nature. There is so much benefit to being outside aside from just being able to appreciate the natural beauty around us. In fact, there’s a reason that cities and urban developers have shifted to creating “greenspace.” Public parks, trees, community gardens, and conservation centers do so much more than act as an aesthetic component to the neighborhood or a place of refuge for wildlife. Being surrounded by nature is extraordinarily beneficial to psychological and physical health in a number of ways, ranging from a source of mental grounding to acting as a source of fresh air for our lungs. Scheduling out time to experience nature is crucial to taking care of yourself, so make time for a walk around the neighborhood every day or plan a hiking trip with friends!
Image by Fiona Smallwood
Being organized does a lot more for your life than streamline your tasks. If you’re wanting to prioritize your self-care, getting organized inside and out is going to be a great way to grow. Externally, having a well-organized system for work and home-life is a great way to make sure you are getting everything done when you need to get it done without piling too much on your plate. But you should be doing the same thing in your self-care routine to prevent burnout from self-care overload. You can’t really benefit from one day filled with everything self-care compared to a structured and balanced routine over the rest of your life. Take your self-care journey in strides. Write down the things that are weighing you down and tackle them all one-by-one instead of trying to change your entire life all at once. Set realistic goals for yourself and you will have a much better relationship with yourself in the long run!
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Taking Care of Your Digestive Health
A lot of people probably don’t realize how much gut health plays a role in your overall well-being. Taking care of yourself means all of yourself, including your gut! Our stomachs are doing a lot of work to keep us happy and healthy by breaking down and processing everything we ingest. Everything you eat is converted into energy that your body uses to get you through your day. If you aren’t ingesting very good things, how can you expect to feel good, mentally or physically? According to medical research, roughly 90% of the serotonin in your body is produced in the gut. This chemical is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, memory, and is one of those “feel-good” chemicals that does exactly that! This is one of the many reasons you should be mindful about what you are putting into your body and how your stomach responds to your diet. Constantly eating food that doesn’t agree with you is going to leave you feeling terrible more often than not, and that is no way to treat the body that takes care of you!
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Spending Time with Animals
There’s a reason cat videos are such a beloved part of the internet. People don’t just love cute animals, our bodies and brains actually crave connection to animals! Spending time with your fur babies or taking a trip to places where you can be surrounded by animals like a petting zoo is so beneficial for taking care of yourself! The connections we make with animals helps our bodies in a number of ways including boosting our immune system, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, and improving our emotional well-being, too! Animals are often incredibly sensitive to humans, which is why they are such perfect helpers and used as disability or therapy assistants. If you're wanting to improve your self-care practices, consider spending time with furry friends!
Image by S Migaj
Are you feeling stressed after being confined to your home for way too long? Are you wishing you could get out of the spaces you’re in, even if just for a moment, because it would make you feel freed from everything that’s weighing you down? You’re definitely not alone in this feeling. For a lot of people, getting out of their routine and the palace they’re used to is a great way to give their lives a breath of fresh air. Traveling is such an enlightening experience and has so many benefits as a form of self-care. You don’t necessarily have to plan an exotic vacation across the globe in order to take care of your well-being (although it probably would be fun), even a small day-trip to the town next to you can be rewarding for your soul!
No matter what you decide to do on your self-care journey, we hope that you are taking time to take care of yourself. It’s not a competition and everyone’s journey is going to look completely different, so there’s no point in comparing your progress to others. Explore the many forms of self-care that are out there and find what works for you!
We hope you enjoy this article for Self-Care Tips that Prioritize YOU. If you tried incorporating these things into your regular routine, make sure to let us know! For more recipes, follow us on social media and make sure to check out our weekly blog posts where we share our new favorite recipes and must-know facts about food and living a healthy lifestyle! Check out the other meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the Pound.