3 Simple Ways to Prioritize Self Care
When working from home it can make drawing the line between “work life” and “home life” more difficult than usual. If going into an office or customer service job, stress can be higher with new procedures in place and changes happening on a daily basis.
No matter what your situation, right now it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. Stress takes a big toll on our immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Finding ways to practice self-care regularly is important in managing day-to-day stress, and making sure you stay healthy.
Get comfortable with routine, but know when to break out of it
Routine is something that our brains love. Daily habits don’t take a lot of thought - they are an automatic process that takes very little energy or effort. Although putting yourself on auto-pilot can be great sometimes, it also can cause your days to look like the same thing over and over again (think Bill Murray in Groundhog Day).
Make small changes in your routine to spice things up a bit, and keep your brain active. Here are a few ways to make things look different today:
- Purposefully find a different route to walk around your neighborhood
- Tonight, have breakfast foods for dinner (and tomorrow, dinner foods for breakfast)
- Play “power outage” - turn off the lights and electronics as though the power went out, light candles, and find things to do that don’t require a plug or charge
- If you always take a shower, take a bath instead (or vice-versa)
- Meet a friend for a walk in a park you’ve never been to before
- Swap coffee one morning for green tea instead
Speak up for what you need / want
Sometimes taking care of yourself means speaking up. Often we assume that people know what we want or need, and we resent them when they don’t offer that help. But have we really done a good job at communicating our needs to them?
Asking someone for support, or asking a loved one for what you need is something we should all learn to get comfortable with. That friend or partner should be willing to change their habits and get outside of their comfort zone in order to try and fulfill your needs - because they care about you. (If they refuse to or simply don’t want to, then that’s a bigger conversation to have.) But the first step is asking. Our loved ones aren’t mind readers, but most of them will do whatever they can to create an environment of love and happiness.
Enjoy your meals in a new way
Most of us are probably eating very differently than we used to. Whether we’ve started comforting ourselves with sweets, eating more meals on-the-go, or getting up from our remote work set-up just to snack, we all could use a reset with our healthy eating habits.
Mindful eating is a perfect way to accomplish this while practicing self-care. When we focus awareness on what we’re eating, savoring the flavors, really slowing down and tasting food, we actually gain more benefits from it. This process improves digestion and allows our bodies to absorb more nutrients. Rather than doing a full overhaul of your diet, start eating more mindfully first. You may be surprised at how your eating habits change.
Let’s all make a pact to start taking care of ourselves both mentally and physically. Many people are starting to feel burnout from work or time at home. Others are experiencing high levels of stress each time they’re out in public, or at their customer-facing jobs. No matter what the circumstances, make self care a priority whenever you can. Learn how to balance your priorities with regular self care and you’ll find a stronger sense of comfort, ease, health, and overall happiness.