Like many people attending to family, pets, work deadlines and other obligations, it often means that taking time to care for your own physical, mental and emotional health gets moved off the to-do list. This has been particularly evident as we continue to deal with the uncertainty and challenges prevented by COVID-19. For many of us, it’s second nature to put our own needs and wants on the back burner. But attending to self-care is absolutely essential to build resilience to stress, improving your stamina, relationships and even your job performance! It is time to make YOU your number one priority. Here are tips to help you get started.
Mark “me time” on your calendar—scheduling your designated self-care as appointments on your calendar will help make sure it remains a priority that doesn’t easily fall off your radar.
Sprinkle small self-care activities throughout the week such as taking a short walk on your lunch break, enjoying a bath, journaling or spending a few minutes before bed reading.
Dedicate a full “self-care” day to an activity or activities you love (a hobby), those that help you be healthier (like that preventive screening you’ve been putting off) and/or improve your well-being, when you can—this really is important!
Spend time with yourself. While time with friends and family is healthy and can help boost your mood, it’s also important to spend some quality time with yourself! This enables you to focus on the things you love and avoid compromising to keep everyone happy.
Take time-outs from your phone. If you’re spending most of your leisure time texting, reviewing social media or checking out news headlines rather than participating in real-life experiences, it’s time to stop! Scrolling through feeds, reading the news, texting others, etc. might seem relatively harmless, but it is valuable time you can be spending doing something that contributes to your well-being!
Treat yourself! Figure out small ways you can reasonably spend some of your hard-earned money (within your means) as a reward for all of your hard work. For example, cook your favorite dinner, get takeout from your favorite restaurant, splurge on a tasty treat at the grocery store, buy that shirt you’ve had your eye on, or rent or purchase that movie you have been wanting to see.
Self-care is an essential part of maintaining your health and well-being. If you’re neglecting yourself in some way that is a detriment to your physical or mental health, it is important to speak with your doctor or mental health provider to help you get back on track!