These days, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is no easy feat. Regardless of who we are or what we do, we are often expected to rise to the challenge, be a leader or strong community member, support our loved ones, etc. — all while holding down a demanding full-time job and/or running our own businesses.
To make things even trickier, we’re now under constant pressure to be ‘selfie-ready,’ ‘Insta-perfect,’ and live-stream-able at all times. This is why it’s so important to take care of ourselves — both mind, body, and soul. Self-care isn’t just a cliché; it’s a necessity.
We all need to refuel, de-stress, and recharge regularly. Otherwise, we risk burning out, becoming detached from our loved ones, and ultimately failing to reach our full potential.
Here are some tips for healthy self-care routines:
1. Stay Active
Staying active keeps you fit and gives your brain a workout, making you more creative, insightful, and productive. Here are a few ways you can stay active:
- Walk or run to work/school. This is ideal, as it gets your body moving and burning calories simultaneously.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Remember to take your thoughts with you instead of letting them ruminate while you climb.
- Participate in sports that you love. If you’re in your 30s or 40s, you might be hesitant to jump back into the gym, but don’t be!
- Join a fitness group or class. It’s easy to feel self-conscious when you first walk into a fitness group but just focus on what you’re doing and not how you look.
2. Do Something You Love
Doing something you love can take your mind off daily stresses, help improve your focus and productivity, and make the hours fly by. Here are some suggestions:
- Take a class. Even something as simple as learning a new skill, such as how to cook a meal, can be a source of joy for you.
- Volunteer. Helping others is a great way to give back to your community and make new friends.
- Learn a new hobby. How can you make time for this? It doesn’t matter.
- Clean out your closet. Letting go of old clothes, shoes, and other belongings can be therapeutic.
Writing is a powerful way to process emotions and identify thoughts and behaviors that need attention. And here are a few suggestions to get you started journaling if you have no idea how to:
- Keep a journal by your bed. When lying in bed at night, write down everything you think you need to remember for the day.
- Create a “word search” journal with letters and words related to self-care. This can help you organize your thoughts while also making you laugh!
- Use your journal to “floss:” Write down all of the good things that happen to you throughout the day. This can help you identify and appreciate the blessings in your life.
4. Take a Hot Bath
Nothing can soothe your body and mind like a hot bath. Not only is it relaxing, but it also provides a great way to unwind after a stressful day. Take your self-care to the next level with these suggestions:
- Make your own bath salts. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your bathtime relaxing.
- Add Epsom salt to your bathwater. Epsom salt is excellent for absorbing toxins from the body.
- Incorporate essential oils. Even if you aren’t a fan of bath salts or Epsom salt, adding a few drops of essential oils can drastically change the experience and make you feel rejuvenated and relaxed.
5. Walk It Out
Walking is a healthy way to clear your head, release tension, and get your blood flowing. Plus, it’s easy to do almost anywhere — just pack a light bag, put on your favorite playlist, and walk!
- Go for a walk in nature. Getting your body in contact with Mother Nature is a great way to clear your mind.
- Walk around the block. Getting your circulation moving is just as important as stretching your legs.
- Go for a walk with a friend or family member. Getting outside of yourself and diving into a shared activity can be a great way to de-stress.
Put Your Self-Care Routine First
It’s essential to put your own health and well-being above all else. Practicing self-care is the best way to manage your emotional and physical well-being. A few ways you can do this are by taking care of your mind. Instead of beating yourself up for having negative thoughts, try to understand where they’re coming from.
Try to practice self-compassion. This is a difficult one, but it’s so important! It can take the form of accepting yourself as you are and making minor changes to improve your self-esteem. For example, it might not be considered self-love if you change your appearance, but it can boost confidence. It could be as simple as putting on a face mask or a more long-term solution like getting orthodontics. Whatever you decide or think, the most important thing is to put yourself first (rather than always putting others first).