The key to making any change in your life, whether small or big, is commitment. Of course, we understand that long-term commitment, patience, and resilience do not come easy. The solution? Baby steps!
By making small changes to your everyday routine and incorporating some self-care tasks every day, you will happier, healthier, and more energetic. We know that given the global pandemic, multiple lockdowns, deaths, and perpetual fright, 2020 has been a long, hard year. Remember, self-care is a necessity. It is not selfish at all. In fact, you must put yourself before anyone and anything else.
Here are 10 self-care tasks that will help you feel less stressed and more in control of your life this year:
1. Step Up Your Morning Routine
Mornings are the most important part of the day. Instead of checking your phone the minute you open your eyes, try to remain in bed for a couple of minutes and breathe. Take a few deep breaths before you get on your mat to stretch. Stretching first thing in the morning will greatly benefit you by loosening tight muscles, increasing blood flow, and putting you in a good mood.
Once done, jump into the shower and make yourself a cup of green tea. According to research, consuming green tea every day can reduce your bad cholesterol levels, encouraging good heart health. Studies show that those who incorporate black tea into their routine are less likely to develop heart disease. Since tea is made from natural ingredients and flavonoids, it is likely to impact your body positively. However, make sure to use the unsweetened versions.
2. Open Your Curtains
Don’t be shy of some sunlight. When you wake up in the morning, you should let open your curtains and windows to allow some fresh air in. Sleep Health printed a study that showed that people who expose themselves to sunlight every day are more likely to fall asleep quicker and more peacefully at night.
To ensure a stable circadian rhythm, make sure to let the sunlight in wherever you are. Remember, this will aid your sleeping pattern. If you get less than 6-hours of sleep each night, you are more likely to develop heart disease or suffer from a stroke. Moreover, your risk of diabetes also increases.
3. Finish Your Shower with a Burst of Cold Water
We get it- not everyone enjoys showering with cold water. That’s completely okay! In fact, warm water can help loosen knots in the body, reducing muscle pain. The trick is that once you are done scrubbing your body with warm water (tip: never use burning hot water), switch to cold water.
Let the cold water run for 30 seconds. The first two seconds may feel scary, but you will feel instantly energetic as your body wakes up and tries to conserve heat. Blood circulation in your body will increase. Studies show that ice-cold water helps release endorphins- the happy hormone- in the body. This can work as an antidepressant.
4. Learn Something New
The brain is a muscle that needs to be stimulated. If you are not constantly challenging yourself, life will become mundane and boring, and you won’t have anything to look forward to during the day.
To make things more exciting, try to take a course in something new every week. Whether it is painting, self-help- photography, or learning a new language, making sure to exercise your brain actively.
5. Track Your Hydration and Refill Your Bottle Every Hour
Hydration is essential. In fact, it affects your stress and energy levels as well. Oftentimes, people get a headache and cannot figure out the cause. It is usually due to dehydration, especially if you include caffeine in your daily routine. According to a JAMA Pediatrics report, one in five children and young adults say that they can go an entire day without water.
To function efficiently, your body requires water. A lack of water can be responsible for dizziness, constipation, confusion, and even low blood pressure. The trick is to track your progress and refill your water bottle every hour.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of your body is as important as taking care of your emotional well-being. For many people, dry skin and scalp are not limited to the winters. If you have dry, brittle hair, it is time to show it some love. Oil your hair or make a DIY hair mask with the ingredients in your kitchen.
Keep a moisturizer close by so that you can hydrate your hands and face every now and then throughout the day.
7. Walk Around While Texting or Talking on the Phone
According to research, walking for 15-minutes while you are on your lunch break, on the phone, or texting your friend, will help increase concentration levels, making you feel energetic throughout the day. In fact, a study was conducted where older adults with mild cognitive impairment were made for walking on the treadmill at a moderate speed each day. This helped them score higher in their cognitive tests.
MRI scans also show that working out every day can increase blood flow to certain areas of the brain, increasing memory, cognition, and language/ speech functions.
8. Focus on Nutrition
Restrictive diets are not the way to be healthy. Instead, focus on getting most of your calories through fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins. These will help keep you full longer and provide energy throughout the day for different exercises, such as jogging or dancing.
That being said, don’t stop yourself from having a bar of your favorite chocolate or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. The more you restrict yourself, the more likely you are to crave that food.
9. Practice Mindfulness
One of the best ways to remain stress-free and keep yourself grounded throughout the day is to practice mindfulness. This can be done in several ways. You can try to sit still on the floor with your legs crossed, and think about the things you can hear, feel, taste, smell, and see.
Moreover, you can also maintain a gratitude journal where you list down all the good things that happened throughout the day, right before bedtime.
10. Do Nothing
People underestimate the importance of doing nothing. Remember, you do not have to be accountable for every second of every hour you spend during your day. Normalize the idea of doing absolutely nothing when you get home with work and complete the household chores.
Sit back and binge-watch a show, mindlessly scroll on your phone, listen to a fun podcast, or watch a comedy YouTube channel. Do whatever to help yourself unwind.