We all do it. We put our needs on a back burner to take care of work, family, or friends first. It’s in our DNA, but doing it repeatedly is suffocating and will slowly suck the life out of you.
But news flash: if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. It’s that simple.
1. Improve your sleep. Make a nightly routine to calm down all the noise from the day, and the adrenaline pumping in your veins. Don’t eat heavy meals at least 2 hours before bedtime. Dim the lights and turn off the TV. Getting good sleep will give your body and mind a break from the day’s hectic routine. It’ll also give you a chance to rejuvenate and get ready for the next day. This strengthens your concentration and memory skills. It also increases your energy levels so you don’t feel wiped out by lunch time.
2. Meditate. Relaxing in general improves your outlook on life. You stop making mountains out of molehills and your ability to think logically improves dramatically. It also brings in a sense of optimism into your life. Just by closing your eyes for 2 minutes while focusing on your breathing will do wonders for your physical and mental states. You can also do yoga or tai chi, which are also considered specific types of meditation, especially if you do it outside where you can be one with nature.
3. Talk to family and friends. Research shows that when connecting with others, especially those close to us, our brain releases “happy” hormones, which lower stress and blood pressure levels. It also gives us a sense of bliss and peace, even if it’s just talking on the phone for a couple of minutes.
Having that sense of belonging is crucial to a healthy, well-balanced existence. Volunteer work is also great and helps you connect with people. Also, joining a club with your interests or taking a class will offer you similar results, and you’ll meet new people while learning something new, so it’s a win-win!
4. Read. Pick up a magazine, follow a blog, or sit down for 10 minutes each day to enjoy a good book.
Reading allows our minds to do 2 things:
• Free itself from daily, tiring thoughts that clutter and exhaust us
• Spark up your imagination
Both of these things are crucial for healthy living.
5. Keep a journal. Set aside 5 minutes each day to write down the day’s events and your feelings towards them. If it was a bad day, then writing it down on paper will relieve you of the burden of carrying around all that negative energy and lower your stress levels. If it was a good day, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when seeing the day’s events on paper. Either way, it’s a therapeutic way to get in touch with your inner self. You can also write down your goals to help you stay focused on what you really want out of life.
6. Explore. Schedule it in your calendar so that once a month, or every weekend if you can manage it, you can learn something new about a topic you’ve been thinking about, or learn a new language. The point is there’s a wide world around you, filled with exciting and new things you haven’t seen or tried before. It’ll put things into perspective and give you a chance to see where you fit in. You can think of it as some much-needed “me” time because you get to do something you enjoy.
7. Speak up. Successful and well-balanced people know that if you don’t speak up and say what you want and what you don’t want, you’ll get trampled on. We’re often so afraid of not fitting in or upsetting our loved ones that we don’t speak our thoughts and feelings. However, keeping quiet will make you resent those around you first, and then you’ll slowly start to resent yourself.
We usually associate speaking up with being rude or selfish, but when done right, saying how you feel is actually very healthy and therapeutic. Moreover, people on the receiving end will appreciate it because it lets them know where they stand. It also shows your confidence and stability. And who doesn’t want that in their lives?
8. Eat and drink right. Maintaining a balanced diet where the amount of food you eat equals the amount of energy you burn is necessary to live a long, healthy life. Taking care of your own self requires hard work and discipline, but it quickly becomes a lifestyle when you do it right and make conscious decisions about what types of food and drink you want going into your body.
9. Maintain high self-esteem. Nothing can be more important than how you think and feel about yourself. It helps bring inner stability while reducing attempts of self-sabotage, which we’re all guilty of. Enjoying high self-esteem will make you happy in all of your relationships because you’re confident in your own skin, and you know exactly what your likes and dislikes are.
Stopping your inner critic takes time and practice, but by using motivational statements, you’ll be able to have a more positive outlook. Appreciate everything that makes you YOU and learn how to stop the myth of perfectionism. Instead, focus on your strengths and all you’ve accomplished in your life – even the small things, because they’re part of what makes you special.
10. Surround yourself with supportive people. Sometimes, it’s easier to blend in with the crowd and go-with-the-flow. However, that isn’t always good for our mental and physical health. We need to have people who know and love us for who we are, without judgment or negativity.