Raise your hand if you can relate. You are your own worst critic. Some days it’s so crippling, keeping you from feeling like you have accomplished anything. You know what it feels like to feel rundown, discouraged, and wishing to feel like “yourself,” again. Friend, if your hand went up during any of this, then this post is for you.
After years of realizing my hand went up in all of these categories for too long, I started to learn I need to make a conscious effort to make sure I am looking after my mental health. I, by no means have it all figured out. But, I have adapted 5 healthy habits that when I follow regularly, can drastically improve my health.
Self care can sometimes be this ominous thing we hear everyone talking about, but we can’t see it. If you’re like me, I struggled at first identifying what I could even call self care. But here’s the thing, it looks different for everyone, and comes in many forms! Self care and healthy habits can come into play in many areas of our lives. From meditation, to a healthy diet and exercise there are so many ways we can care for ourselves. In return our body will care for us and allow us to conquer our day, love our family, and feel overall pretty damn amazing. I’ve adapted these 5 healthy habits, and want to share with you because:
1. I truly can tell a difference in my overall mood, and mental wellbeing when I’m following these daily habits
2. These habits are attainable, realistic, and easily adapted – meaning, you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune at the spa or a fancy gym and you can tweak several of these habits to fit your lifestyle.
5 Healthy Daily Habits For Your Self Care
1. Wake Up Earlier
I realize everyone has different schedules, some of us work night or 12 hour shifts. So, whatever “earlier” is to you, do it. Set your alarm 30 minutes before you would normally wake up and DO NOT HIT SNOOZE ( I am guilty of this). You’d be surprised how much more awake and accomplished you’ll feel by just getting up a little earlier.
When I wake up earlier, I feel less rushed, less anxious, and more alert as I’m going about my morning routine. You can even use this extra time to cook yourself a healthy breakfast so you’re not grabbing a donut, or get a morning workout in (hello boost of endorphins, yes please!). If you like to ease into your day, use the extra morning time to read, or meditate. Consider this special time YOU time and try not to do anything that will make you feel stressed or anxious (like house chores, or making a to-do list, unless that stuff is your jam…then, you do you girl).
2. Put Your Best Face, and Outfit Forward - Take Time To Make Yourself Feel Good
Okay, I am not saying appearance is everything, and I do not mean this in a shallow way at all. But, ladies, we all know that outward appearance can drastically impact our mood, self confidence, and motivation. I work from home most days, so yes I am guilty of throwing on a t-shirt and workout leggings and calling it a day. However, on those days when I do not get dressed in, “real people clothes,” as I call them, I can noticeably tell a difference in my mood and motivation through the day.
When I start my days by putting on a cute, outfit, doing my Flawless in Five Beautycounter routine, and brushing my hair – girl, I cannot be stopped! Here’s the beauty of this one, you can tailor this to your lifestyle. If joggers and a sporty braid make you feel put together and at your best – GO FOR IT. If you feel your most confident in a bright dress and lipstick – HONEY, GET IT. Whatever is your best face, put it forward.
Move, move, move, and move again. So much of our lives is spent sedentary. We drive, we sit at desks, we sit at dinner, we sit on the couch. Your body, and your mind, needs you to move. If you work at a desk job, set a timer and get up once every hour. Take a lap around the office, get some water, stop and say hi to Betty at the water cooler. Remember that earlier rising time? Well, use that time to do some light stretching, yoga, or go on a walk before you start your day. Whatever your version of moving is, whether it’s running a 5k every night, going for a bike ride, or a casual walk around the block, try to get at least 30 minutes of moving in a day. It’s so important.
- The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, was updated in 2018 for the first time in 10 years. The improved guidelines actually recommend that adults get 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity movement (like walking or yoga), or 75 – 100 minutes per week of high-intensity workouts like running or intense cross training. If you start with the earlier recommendation of 150 – 300 minutes of moderate intensity movement per week, this 30 minutes a day of moving should put you well within that goal.
If I go a day without some sort of exercise movement, I can really tell a difference in my mood and energy levels. Not to mention the overall health benefits of regular exercise. An article by the Mayo Clinic attributes these benefits among many others to regular exercise:
- Weight control
- Combat health conditions and disease like: stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, arthritis, and many types of cancer
- Mood and energy improvement
- Promotes better sleep
- Improves sex life (okurrrr!)
Bottom line, your body and your mind need you to move! So, find a way that is fun and attainable for you and implement it into your daily habits.
4. Center Yourself
This can look different for everyone. Some people find their calm, and their clear head by reading, for other’s it’s through meditation. Here are some suggestions to center yourself daily:
- Brain dump – sometimes, I do this in the morning. I write down any thoughts, sentiments of gratitude, worries, or ideas that come to mind. Afterwards, I feel a sense of calm and clarity like I know what to focus on for the day because all of that clutter is out of my mind.
- Bible Study – if journaling isn’t your thing, but Jesus is – take some time and do a bible study. Not sure where to start? The Daily Grace Co. has so many guided studies for different levels, and they even have a really amazing podcast that I like to listen to to clear my head and focus on the Lord.
- Meditation – this is one area I do not have much experience in, but I have heard from many friends and resources who use mediation to center themselves daily. I really love this post from Little Blog of Positivity, that goes into the benefits of meditation as well as suggestions for beginners.
5. Take It Outside
It’s no secret being outside improves your mood. Fresh air and Vitamin D can be huge health boosters. Mental Floss has a roundup of 11 benefits from being outside. A few of my favorites are:
- Helps improve Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Enhances creativity
- Gives you your daily dose of Vitamin D
- Restores your focus
- Natural sunlight helps mitigate pain
- Boosts energy
Not super into the outdoors? That’s ok, you don’t have to go backpacking across the Rockies to get your dose of outdoors-ness. Here are some simple suggestions for getting that dose of sunlight:
- Take your morning coffee outside. Enjoy your cup of Joe next to a large window, or if you’re lucky enough to have a porch or deck area head out there. The soft morning light and fresh air will also help wake you up.
- Read outside – find a park or a bench and post up with your latest read.
- Plant some flowers or greenery. Even if you live in an apartment or urban area you can still do this! Pick up a planter and load it up with some greens to keep near sunlight. If you are in a suburban area, take some time and add some color to your yard.
- Go get ice cream. This may be my favorite suggestion There is one caveat. If you can, you need to get to said Ice Cream destination without using a car and eat said sweet treat, outside…with your phone put away! Enjoy the treat, grab some company, and focus on the few minutes of uninterrupted bliss.
I hope you take some time to adapt one, if not all of these healthy habits. I realize life can pull us into some crazy directions, and it’s easy to get distracted from taking care of ourselves. Heck, we often put ourselves last. But that to-do list, those goals, and that job won’t be done unless you take care of you. Wishing you health and happiness! If you have any healthy habits that have helped you – please share in the comments!