Self-care is essential in a crisis. Unfortunately, it’s often one of the first habits we leave behind in the face of stress. Right now, many people are feeling less than their best, thanks to the pandemic’s effect on their self-care routines. If you’re in this boat, the good news is that it’s never too late to get your self-care schedule back on track. Here are some tips from Wellness Central for how you can look and feel your best this year:
Have Some Fun
A lot has happened over the last year and frankly, very little of it has been fun. Right now, we have to make a deliberate effort to bring back fun experiences into our everyday lives. This can help relieve some of the tension you’ve built up while isolating at home, and it’s especially important for families.
Spending time at a park, busting open a board game, and playing a video game online are all great ways to bring some fun into your routine. If your internet’s not quite fast enough for gaming, a 5G connection can remove the frustration, leaving just the fun behind.
Drink More Water
Did you know that 75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated? This type of constant, mild dehydration is extremely common and surprisingly subtle. If you’ve been behind on water long enough, you may not know how to recognize thirst signals. As a result, instead of craving water, you just wind up fatigued, achy, and cranky.
A simple and effective way to drink more water is to pick up a large water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day. Refill it when it’s empty and make sure it’s in arm’s reach, and you’re likely to absentmindedly drink from it all day long. Stick with it, and don’t worry: After about two weeks, your bladder will adjust.
Make Peace With Food
All of us — but women in particular — are taught from a young age that we have to look a certain way. Despite the fact that this “ideal body” is constantly changing, the desire to reach it still plagues us and unfortunately, it can have a devastating effect on our relationship with food. Feeling stressed out every time you eat is bad for your mind and body, and for many people, it can lead down dangerous paths.
Starting a mindful eating practice is a great way to make peace with food. Commit to eating mindfully once a day. It can be a meal, a snack, or even just a single bite, but for that period of time, pay close attention to how your food tastes, smells, and feels. You should also use this time to practice listening to your body’s hunger and satiety signals. With time, this practice can help you get more joy from your food, which is linked to a variety of major benefits.
Take Time to Rest
Finally, make sure you’re taking time to really rest and recharge. Many people stay busy in order to cope, thinking that a packed schedule won’t leave any time for stress. In reality, however, you’re just running yourself down the path to burning out.
If you have trouble taking a break, consider writing it into your schedule or making it part of your routine. Reading a book, taking a nice bath, or enjoying some time outdoors are all wonderful ways to recharge your batteries so you can take on your day.
Remember, the best thing you can do for yourself right now is rebuild your routines. Make sure to focus on consistency, not perfection. It’s better to do a little bit each day than to overcommit and then give up on an unsustainable plan. With practice, you can get back into your self-care routine and start to feel like your best self again.
Written by Cheryl Conklin of Wellness Central.