I am by no means an expert in taking care of myself. I will go days without eating something green, and keep myself awake at night worrying about everything and anything, and I often don’t make time to do the things that actually feed my mind or my soul. So lately I’ve tried to think of things that are easy to do that help me take care of myself. Here’s what I’ve come up with, maybe they will help you too!
1. Take a candlelit shower. I like the idea of taking a bath, but once I clean out the tub enough that I feel it’s decent enough for me to soak in, and fill it up, and set the ambiance, etc. I’m already over it. The water is too hot, or not hot enough, I forgot to grab a towel, or I’m too quick to start thinking about all the time and water I’m wasting just soaking. Needless to say, I’m much more of a shower person. Recently, I upped my shower game by turning off the lights, and lighting a few candles instead. I was amazed how much more relaxing it felt. I was in a spa shower instead of my one bedroom apartment shower. Now, any time I need to really relax, I light some delicious smelling candles and let the hot water massage my tense and aching muscles before a restful night of sleep.
2. Go outside. Bonus points of if you walk barefoot in the grass. Since my job is so far from perfect for me, I’ve taken five or 10 minutes out of the day, or of my lunch to go outside and soak up some Vitamin D. A little bit of sunshine and fresh air has gone a long way. I come back feeling happier and more refreshed to face the rest of the workday.
3. Warm up a wet towel and use it on your neck or face. Take a washcloth, run it under warm water, and microwave it for 10-15 seconds (just make sure you can still tolerate touching it). Salons and spas do this all the time and it amazes me that something so simple can feel so luxurious at home.
4. Eat proper meals. I have been especially bad at this lately. I eat breakfast every day, but lunch gets very tricky on workdays. I try to pack a lunch, but if I don’t plan ahead, it doesn’t happen. I end up snacking or eating pure carbs throughout the day and then wonder why I’m so hungry all day and right before dinner. If I’m cooking for just myself, I almost never make a full meal. When I cook for someone else, I try to have a protein as the main course, a vegetable side, and a carb/starch side. I’m even getting more into making my own salads. (I promise, there is a salad out there that you can eat and tolerate, if not actually enjoy.) Why don’t I deserve the same full, balanced meal that I would feed others? Well, you know what, I do, and so do you!
5. Take a deep breath. There’s a reason why we tell toddlers who are having a temper tantrum to take deep breaths. It has been proven to help ease stress and increase your relaxation. This is especially helpful to me in the workplace and during arguments. Take a step back, breathe in deeply, then try again.
6. Give yourself a facial. I am a big fan of DIY facial masks. I have put oats, bananas, honey, coffee, cocoa powder, lemon juice, olive oil, milk, and so much more on my face. It’s fun, easy, and all natural.
7. Go to bed early. Sleep is huge for me. I am so much more irrational and emotional when I’m truly sleep deprived, and yet I still vacillate between if I want to go to bed early. On one hand, if I go to bed too early, I think that all I do in life is work and sleep. On the other hand, if I’m falling asleep on the couch, I should just skip that step and go to bed early that night. If you have to sacrifice one night of potential fun for a restful night and a more positive outlook the next day, always choose positivity.
8. Wake up early. This has less to do with sleep and more with “me time.” If you wake up 10 minutes early, (when your alarm actually goes off the first time) you can take that ten minutes to have a cup of coffee uninterrupted, read a chapter in a book, make a better breakfast, etc. Take some time in the morning to actually wake up and check in with yourself before starting the day off on a bad note.
9. Disconnect. I’ve said it before and I will always continue to say it, look up. Log off the constant stream of highlight reels we call social media and actually call a friend. Go out with someone and turn off your phone. See how long you can go without even looking at your devices. We’re so connected through the internet, but so disconnected in real life.
10. Laugh. I know, on some days, this is easier said than done. But do whatever you can to laugh at least once a day. And I mean a real laugh, not a polite, small talk laugh. Google dog or cat fails. Watch baby laugh videos. People watch. Watch a comedy special. Reminisce about a time when you couldn’t stop laughing. Call someone close to you and have them relive one of your most embarrassing moments to laugh at yourself. At the very least, smile a real smile. Even when it’s buried deep within you, find the joy.