If you’re like most people, then you’re probably really good at taking care of others and their needs. However, you probably forget the most important person and that is you. Self-care has been called selfish countless amounts of times and I just have to disagree. I say this because if you aren’t taking care of yourself first, then how are you going to take care of someone else? The better care you take of yourself, the better you’ll be able to care for others. You’ll be surprised at how much simple self-care habits will change your life if you just practice them daily.
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Taking care of yourself should be a habit. An important one. Yet we tend to neglect ourselves in many ways anyway which is something that should never happen.
It’s important to take care of yourself daily. Try taking on these habits:
1. Take a nightly walk.
You’re killing two birds with one stone when you go for a walk alone. It’s a great time to think. Part of your mind is occupied with moving your legs and maintaining your balance. The rest of your brain is free to think creatively. Taking a walk can help clear your mind especially when you have a lot on your plate. Sometimes a nightly walk can come in handy and gives us time to find clarity in our problems.
You’re also getting some good exercise when you take a nightly walk. Most of us spend far too much time sitting each day. I’m guilty of this so I try to walk more whenever I can. Getting up and getting a lot of steps in is good for the mind and body.
2. Use positive affirmations.
Negative self-talk is sadly pretty normal for people. But you can undo this and give yourself a better perspective on life by using positive affirmations. Come up with just a few and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Over time, you’ll be pleased with the results. I say this because as you repeat them, you start to believe them.
Keeping affirmation cards in your purse or handbag can be useful as well. Especially if you’re a beginner when it comes to using affirmations. I recommend using affirmation cards because they will force you to say them and remind you of positive things that you can’t forget because they will be written down on cards.
3. Eat healthier.
Our natural instincts are to eat high-calorie foods that aren’t particularly good for us. Unfortunately, this instinct greatly reduces our lifespan. Let’s be honest here, we all love cheese burgers, french fries, fried chicken, sweets, etc. but eating that stuff every day or frequently isn’t healthy at all. And eating healthy is an important part of practicing self-care.
Eating healthy can be a real challenge because it goes against our nature. However, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel mentally and physically when you clean up your diet.
4. Read each day.
Reading is great for brain health. Reading is also a great opportunity to learn something new. Imagine how much you could learn over 20 or more years by reading 30 minutes each day. That’s roughly 3600 hours or 90 40-hour workweeks. Crazy right? And honestly, growing up, I was never a reader up until I started my blog. Then I suddenly became obsessed with reading blog posts and different articles on various topics here and there.
Your brain needs a rest from the constant stimulation of the internet, your smartphone, TV, tablets, and so on. Give yourself at least a few hours each day of complete rest from these items. This is sort of like detoxing and this detox is essential to your mental health. I say this because it will decrease your anxiety, increase mindfulness, and help you connect back with the real world.
Instead of being on your phone or watching tv, go outside and get some sunlight. Go visit a family member that you haven’t seen in a while. Take a break from and unplug. Your brain needs it.
6. Sleep at least 7 hours each night.
Everyone seems to claim they only need 5 hours of sleep. Every one of them is incorrect. The science is clear on this matter. To maximize your health and cognitive abilities, you need at least seven hours of sleep. Some people need more. With work schedules, including mine, this can sometimes be hard to accomplish especially when your schedule flip flops. But if you have the opportunity to sleep, make sure you go to sleep. Don’t stay up. Allow your body to rest.
7. Keep a gratitude journal.
Even when it seems like there is nothing good in your life, there is. There are plenty of good things in your life. You’re just failing to recognize them. Remind yourself about all of these positive things by keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it each day. I must say, keeping a gratitude journal has really done me some good. Especially when I’m feeling down and low. It always reminds me of the good in life and how much I have to be thankful for.
Self-Care can change your life
Self-care is an important habit to develop and you need to start now. Being at your best is good for not only yourself but for everyone around you. When you fail to take care of yourself, people have less respect for you. It’s hard to receive more respect from others than you’re willing to give yourself. You deserve the best. Treat yourself that way.