Why Self-Care Should be One of the Most Important Parts of Your Day.

Tired of having little to no energy and consistently having a low-grade irritation with everything & everyone? It may seem cliche, but you need a self-care routine. And I’ve taken the guess work out of it for you!

Does every little thing get under your skin lately?

Your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, or just the simple act of another human breathing next to you – haha – seriously though. How many times have you been at work or in the check-out line at Target, and thought to yourself – “I just can’t deal!” or “Are you freakin’ kidding me right now?” Yep! Been there, done that. 

The truth is, everyone experiences some sort of daily irritation or frustration. And no matter how hard we may attempt to resist the urge to scream, the smallest irritations seem to keep coming. Sometimes all at once, and other times, in full seasons of our lives. 

And guess what, swimming in a sea of misery while constant, nagging irritations overtake your emotions, is no way to live. So if you can’t eliminate every irritation, frustration or stressor that life brings – what then?

It’s simple.

You need to incorporate daily habits that improve your mental health. And it’s easier than you think. It starts with the simple act of a daily self-care routine.

“No matter how indulgent or fancy the term may sound, self-care is crucial for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.”

(Nazish, Noma, Practicing Self-Care is Important: 10 Easy Habits to Get You Started, Forbes Magazine, 9/19/2017, online source)

Here are seven SIMPLE acts of self-care that you can start implementing today.

1. Meditation

Length of time – (5-10 minutes)

It’s simple, FREE, and it’s been proven to lower blood pressure, decrease stress & anxiety, decrease physical tension, strengthen the immune system, AND slow the aging process.

What? That sounds amazing! Where should you begin?

The good news is you don’t need to be on a mountaintop, or a perfectly empty, candlelit, meditation room, you can start today on your living room couch, or even at your desk at work! If you still don’t know where to begin – get a FREE trial of the Calm App on your smart phone (they have instructors that talk you through the “how-to” of meditation) – and start right now!

Note: I meditate with my toddler sitting right next to me – proof that meditation can be done in less than “perfect” conditions.

2. Deep Breathing

Length of time – (1-5 minutes)

It’s simple, it’s FREE, can be done anywhere, anytime and has multiple benefits for you. Deep breathing sends signals to our brain to calm down and relax. It is a great way to relieve stress & tension.

Try it right now by taking 5 slow, deep breaths!

3. Journaling

Length of time – (10-15 minutes)

It’s simple and it’s FREE (minus the paper & pen of course.)

Take the time to sit down with your first cup of coffee, tea, or warm, lemon water in the morning, and journal. Write about your negative or positive experiences, or simply write down your goals for the day and how you plan to approach the day.

For instance, writing as if it has already happened – “I walk into work and I am strong, capable, and full of positive energy.” “No matter what comes my way today, I will remain calm, and handle each situation with a positive attitude.” Again, the health benefits to journaling are astonishing. The power behind putting pen to paper is worthy of your time.

4. Take a Bath

Length of time – (5-20 minutes)

Light a few candles or start your diffuser, get your bath salts, and get ready for a calming experience. The warm water allows more blood-flow & oxygen to your whole body. Calming your nervous system, reducing pain & inflammation, while simultaneously reducing stress & anxiety.

Again, the science behind the simple act of a warm bath is undeniable. Do this 1-2 times per week, or daily!

Note: I use to take warm baths with my 1 yr. old – she played, and I relaxed – WIN-WIN!

5. Laugh

Length of time – once a day, or all day for that matter!

It’s simple and it’s FREE! Don’t take life too seriously; certainly you are human, and you have permission to experience sadness & let-downs, but certainly not ALL day every day.

Sometimes we need laughter in order to cope with all of our hardships. Laughing not only feels good, but is also one of the best medicines for your mental health.

Try it today – watch a funny movie, or make a joke! 

6. Say “No”

Length of time – whenever necessary.

It’s simple, and it’s FREE! If you are a people-pleaser, you understand this all too well. However, you can give yourself unlimited permission to just say no.

You can’t possibly be everything to everyone ALL of the time. Especially if it’s at the expense of your own mental health. Learn when you need space, and if possible, say yes at a later date; a date when you won’t feel overwhelmed with all of the things. In the end, you will be a better version of yourself to offer to your friends & family anyway.

7. Get Outside

Length of time – 15 minutes – every day.

It’s simple and it’s FREE! Nature has so many redeeming qualities. The simple feeling of the breeze, and the sun on your skin can change your whole outlook. And you guessed it, spending time outdoors reduces stress, increases self-esteem, provides you with Vitamin D, and improves the immune system. AND BONUS – it’s pretty to look at!

There you have it! 

In as little as 20 minutes to an a hour a day, you can start your very own personalized self-care routine. And before you tell yourself “I don’t have any time.” Believe me, you do. 

According to the book, 168 Hours, by Laura Vanderkam – if for one week period – 7 full days, you were to sleep 8 hours a night and also work a full 40-hour work week. You would still have 72 hours LEFTOVER to choose to use however you like. That’s right! Read that again – 72 hours a week just for your personal use! 

Let that sink in for a minute. What would you do with an “extra” 72 hours a week?

Ultimately, it comes down to how you prioritize your time, and what you value that matters. 

So, if you want to start feeling less irritable, and less stress altogether.

Incorporate some or all of the above self-care tools, or incorporate some of your own, as well, into your daily routine. Whatever your situation may be, based on the above information, you definitely have the time, and believe me, your mental health is worth it!

Cheers to your new self-care journey! 

You are worth it.

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