Photo: Create your perfect bath and spend quality time focusing on you. Shutterstock.
Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
It’s easy to want to stay up later, especially after the kids go to bed. You feel that you’re taking your precious “me time” and helping your mental health. If you’re a night owl and staying up later doesn’t affect you because you get to sleep in or you’re on a consistent schedule, stay up. But, if you’re always tired and go to bed at all hours, it’s time to focus on establishing a schedule.
The fact is, to take care of yourself, you need to rest. You need 7 to 8 hours every night to help your mind function. It can also help you stay motivated, focused, and feel better overall.
Think back to your childhood, maybe at the age of 10 or 12, and think of your favorite movie. Do you remember it? What was it about the movie you enjoyed? How long has it been since you’ve seen the movie?
One of the best ways to unwind and let go of stress is to take yourself back to a time when you didn’t feel like you had the world’s weight on your shoulders. Watching your old favorite movie helps you reminisce about the right moments and relax.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” While you might not remember eating anything like anxiety or depression, there is still truth in this statement. It’s proven scientifically and by people who follow a healthy diet that when you put more fruits, vegetables, and protein into your diet instead of unhealthy fats and greasy foods, you feel better.
This notion is because healthy foods give you more energy. A healthy diet can also help clean out your system regularly, so you don’t feel backed up. Furthermore, your immune system feels better, so it can fight off illnesses easier.
It seems like no matter what you’re doing during the day that you’re rushed. You need to hurry to get up, get ready, and get your children all set for the day. You need to hurry and finish your work projects. Don’t be late getting your children to their extracurricular activities. Also, quickly make supper, finish homework, clean the house and the kids, and then you might feel like you can breathe for a few minutes until you start the next day.
While you can’t always slow down part of your life because you’re not in control, it’s time to slow down what you can. This notion means that you can eat slowly and enjoy your food. Get up a few minutes earlier so you’re not rushed in the morning, as this can set your whole mood for the rest of the day.
Okay, parents, let’s talk about the importance of taking a shower. Not only does it help you get rid of the dirt and dead skin that attaches itself to your body, but it gives your mind the belief that you’re starting fresh. Take a moment to think about how good a shower feels. It’s one of the fantastic joys in life.
You can decrease your stress and put yourself in a more positive mood just by taking a shower. Even if you have little ones, find the time and figure out a way. This idea might mean that you hop in the shower for a few minutes after your partner or older child comes home. It might mean that you get up a few minutes earlier. You’re worth it. Figure out a time to take a shower.
Find something you like to read and take a half-hour to read in the morning or before you go to bed. The key at bedtime is to pick something light that will be easy to put down, so you’re not acting like a child and thinking, “one more chapter will be okay.”
Reading can take you out of your stressful environment and into a world filled with whatever fun things you want. Maybe you want to read about the fun sights you can see in Ireland. You might even pick up your favorite book as a child and think about all the fun you had reading that when you were younger.
Are you still stuck at home during the current crisis? Do you work from home, a stay-at-home parent, or find yourself not leaving your house for days for other reasons? Even though you find yourself more comfortable getting up and just lounging in your PJs with your hair unbrushed, unshowered, and like this for a day or two, you must take care of yourself just as you would if you worked in an office.
Get up at a particular time in the morning to shower and get ready for the day. Get out of your PJs and into some clothes that you’re not embarrassed to wear outside (Yes, yoga pants count). Do something different with your hair, put on a little makeup, or do your nails.
That word. You might be thinking it was coming but still look at the word “exercise” and think…. ugh. While it might not be your top pick, it’s known to improve your self-esteem, boost your mood, reduce stress, anxiety, and help you lose a few extra pounds.
Even if it’s hard to go to the gym every day, start a little routine in your home. You might go up and down your steps for 20 minutes, walk around the block a few times, run in place, or go to YouTube for a few dance videos.
You have multiple people talking about self-care and ways to get the needed mental, emotional, and physical break. Along with incorporating some “me time” into your daily routine, you can also join the #selfcareSunday movement.
Every Sunday, you don’t focus on work, primarily if you work from home and have a habit of picking up your laptop every day. Don’t worry about needing to get the house clean, grocery shopping, or running other errands. Take care of your family as you need to but put yourself first. Binge-watch Netflix, take a nap, or just lay on the couch and worry about nothing.
If you have a diffuser, purchase essential oils that can help you feel better. If you’ve never tried aromatherapy, you’ll be amazed at how well it works. The key is to find the right oils. For instance, if you want to feel happier, you’ll want an orange oil. If you want to feel more relaxed, then you’ll use lavender. You can also get oils to help you focus, get rid of headaches, and so much more.
You can buy a diffuser and essential oil starter kits online at Amazon or your local stores, such as Target or Walmart. You want to find natural essential oils in glass bottles because they have a longer shelf life and better aroma.
It’s not the most straightforward job to take consistent breaks during your days, especially when you have children as things can easily and quickly change on a whim. But by trying to build breaks into your daily schedule, you can find yourself feeling a little better throughout your day. When you continue to follow this routine, you’ll notice your mindset improving.
You’ll feel overall better about yourself, whether it’s your physical, mental, or emotional health. You will also become used to taking breaks, even if you fit them into your day when you’re children are quietly playing, and you’re hiding in the pantry.
Have you heard the news? The way you wake up and begin your day sets the tone for the rest of your day. This idea means that if you wake up late for work, you’re going to feel rushed throughout your day, even if you find yourself getting to work on time or only a couple of minutes late. One way to limit the stress you feel is to get up early and set your mindset, so you’re focused on the positive.
One way to do this is by starting a gratitude journal. You might take a few deep breaths before you look at your phone or get up. You might tell yourself a positive affirmation, such as, “Today will be a great day.” You might even search a few affirmations on Google or have a coffee, look out your window, and watch the sunrise.
You know about your inner critic. You’re probably your worst critic as most people fall into this category. You make a mistake, and you think about how ridiculous or dumb it was. You tell yourself that you knew better. You apologize to anyone affected. You might tell yourself many other negative things or find yourself staying up at night thinking about what happened and how you let it happen.
It’s time to stop bringing yourself down. There is enough negativity going on without you bringing any into your mind and environment. Instead of seeing a mistake as a negative step, you need to see it as a way to grow. Tell yourself, “I’ll get it right next time because I understand the process better.”
You know that taking a shower can help your mindset, but so can a bath. Sometimes a bath can do you more good than a shower – it depends on your preference. To make everything better, add a bunch of bubbles, candles, and a few drops of an essential oil that will help you feel better.
Don’t think about what you should be doing, what you hear, or anything else. You might want to turn on your favorite music to help drown out some sound. Take time to focus on clearing your mind and relax. Work on finding your inner peace and reach it before you take a step out of the tub.
Do you feel that you hide your thoughts from other people? Does it feel that your mind is about to explode with everything you’re thinking and don’t know what to do? Take time to open a notebook and write down what you’re thinking.
You can discuss what is bothering you or just jot down all of the thoughts that come to your mind at that moment. You can choose to share your writing or keep it to yourself. You can also decide that most of the thoughts are negative, so you want to tear up the paper and focus on thinking positively in the future.
Do you feel like wherever you go in your home, it’s someone else’s space? Everyone needs to have their own sacred space that they can do what they want with. You can spend quality time in this area, releasing your negative thoughts or reflecting on your day.
Find a location in your home and make it your own. Decorate it with candles, your favorite furniture, or anything else. You might make a little reading corner or a place you can meditate. Let other people in your household know that this is your area and set boundaries.
You live in a period where you have a phone, computer, television, and many other devices wherever you go. While these are great inventions, they can also make you available at any moment. You can start to feel that no matter what you do or where you go, it’s not truly your time.
If you need to take time to be away from the world, take the time. Turn off your phone, laptop, tablet, and anything else. Let people know that you’ll be unavailable for a while or simply get back to them when you feel better.
Get Your Children Involved in Your Self-Care Routine
While you will need to take alone time, no rules are stating you can’t include your children in your self-care routine. This idea can be useful for them as they can learn how to improve their overall health starting at a young age.
You can do this by asking them what they want to do when it’s time for them to take a break from their regular day. You can talk to them about the importance of self-care and have a dance party, be silly, go for a walk, or take time to play at the park. The key is to not be strict about their routine, let them make it different every day.
That’s right. Take time to do absolutely nothing. Don’t worry about what you haven’t accomplished or think about how you’ll pay bills. Don’t worry about any errands that you need to run or think about your grocery bill.
It’s time to take a few minutes where you’re not thinking at all. Let your thoughts come and go as they please but don’t pay much attention to them. Just lay down in silence and take time to breathe. Enjoy the… what do you hear? Silence.
How often do you leave work and think about work as you’re driving home? How many nights do you stay up late thinking about, you guessed it, work? You spend tons of time at work, and then you spend more time with it for free. Even when you love your job, you need to take time to get away from it for some time.
Once you clock out at work, don’t think about it. Don’t focus on what you need to do tomorrow or what you didn’t get done today. Leave your worries and responsibilities at work because you have your factors to think about in your personal life.
Do something that you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you want to bake a birthday cake when you don’t have anyone’s birthday coming up. Bake that cake and decorate it however you want. You might want to start a new hobby or find yourself going for a two-day hike.
You can get together with friends and not talk about any problems you’re having, but just have fun enjoying your favorite foods. You can even make this one of your constant self-care strategies. Write down everything that you enjoy doing and make it a point to check something off that list every week.
If you have a fur baby in your life, spend time with it. Pets are known to help relieve stress and anxiety so you can feel better throughout your day. Go for a walk with your furry friend or snuggle with your cat, if they’re up for it.
Your companion animals know when something is wrong with you, and they want to help. Open your arms up so they can be a form of self-care for you. Take time to play with them or give them a few treats while enjoying your company (and the treats).
Do you feel like you don’t get enough time to listen to your favorite music? Maybe you’re tired of listening to “Baby Shark” or any other song that your children love. Try to take a few minutes out of your day (or an hour) and listen to music.
Don’t focus on anything else but the beat that makes you forget about all of your problems. You don’t need to keep busy while listening to music. Lay down and let your mind drift off with the lyrics.
You probably have several sticky notes lying around your house. If not, there are tons that you can purchase online or at a local store for cheap. Write down notes to yourself that will make you feel better and then place them where you’ll see them every day.
You might write “You’re doing great” at your computer or “You got this” and post it in your car. You can write, “You’re beautiful” and put it on your mirror. You can even write down compliments that other people give you or your favorite affirmations.
“Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself.” Tchiki Davis, Psychology Today. December 2018.
“13 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care at Home.” Hedy Phillips, Pop Sugar. March 2020.
“Your Work-From-Home Survival Guide for Self-Care.” Elizabeth Millard, Everyday Health. March 2020.
“7 Self Care Practices You Can Do At Home.” Camille Dodson, DOYOU.