Achieve better overall well-being by prioritizing your mental and physical health with these simple and effective strategies. Take the first step today!
We do not live easy lives, no matter who we are or what we do. Life has never been and never will be easy.
There’s so much on our figurative plates, be it emotional distress, work-related stress, or anything else that impacts our lives. This is why it is imperative that we tend to our mental and physical health in order to be our best selves.
One cannot altogether avoid stress, but we can navigate the degree to which it impacts us by making our minds and bodies a priority.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most selfless things you can do. You cannot care for others or give back to this world if you are not in good shape, so if you think you’ve forgotten yourself in the midst of life and work, this is the day to start making changes. If not for yourself, for the ones you love.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a good thing. We’ve all heard about the benefits of sleep since we were little and our parents insisted on our taking naps every day.
The average adult needs at least 7 hours, but your body will tell you what you need if you allow it to. Are you rested after 6 hours? Are 9 hours when you feel like your true self? Listen to your own body.
Remember that you cannot be the best version of yourself if you don’t give yourself enough time to recharge your batteries and the most important thing that you can do towards that end is get the sleep you need.
2. Eat More Nutritious Food
We’ve all heard it over and over – cut out carbs, no white sugars, remove red meat, and the like. It gets old, repetitive, and you learn to block out the message.
Try to change the narrative for yourself and make it about the little things. How can you change one of your bad habits into a more healthy way of eating? What vegetable can you add to the dinner table for everyone to try?
Different people approach their lives in different ways, so telling people to stop what they are doing and take a hard shift into healthy eating is never going to work.
However, if you approach it with the frame of, “What are a few things that I can add or change that will make an impact at the end of the day,” you can help make the transition easier.
3. Move Your Body
A lot of people love to exercise while others really don’t. The fact of the matter is that exercise is vital to maintaining your physical health, but just like “eating well,” it gets lost in the monotony.
Propose this to yourself – instead of thinking, “I need to exercise every day,” what about just moving your body? So many people work at a desk these days and a great deal of hard work happens without ever leaving your chair.
This is the part that you may want to change. Your body needs a little love and you are the one who has to provide it. Whether it is taking walks in the fresh air, playing Just Dance on your video game console, or playing a game of pickup basketball, do what you like.
And while you’re deciding how you want to shake things up, don’t focus on losing a lot of weight, a little weight, or any weight at all. Focus on what you enjoy and the other will follow.
4. Learn To Say No
The greatest act of self-care that you can give yourself is learning to say no. While considering the needs of others and taking care of others may feel like a necessity all of the time, your own needs matter as well. And other people will happily take everything that you can give until you have absolutely nothing left.
Depending on how you were raised, saying no may not come easily. Leaning into your own life and your own wants may feel a little bit selfish and overly self-involved, but it’s not.
Self care begins with you and you cannot pour out of an empty cup. So the next time someone asks you for something that you don’t want to do, take a breath and consider your needs. They will be okay.
5. Take A Break
One common misconception is that we can work continuously – whether at a job or in life – and be able to accomplish it all flawlessly. That is just not possible.
Taking short breaks throughout the day is a great way to prioritize yourself. Watch a few videos on YouTube, listen to some music, or just change your environment for a few minutes.
It is often in these quiet moments that we not only decompress, but come up with some of our best ideas, so if you are feeling stuck, do yourself a favor and take a break.
6. Remove Toxic People From your Life
One of the most important self-care practices that everyone needs to address is removing the toxicity from your life. When you are intertwined in the lives of others, it can get incredibly difficult to address your own personal needs – physical, emotional, and psychological.
Boundaries are extremely important. Negativity, selfishness, and destructive energy can do extensive damage to your psyche and if you don’t guard against them, you’ll never be able to find the inner peace you’re looking for.
Hold firm to your own beliefs and needs. Learn who leaves you with inner turmoil and questioning your own identity. Whether they are coworkers, family members, or wounded people that you’ve taken on over the years, toxic people will hurt you in the long run. Let them go.
7. Go On Vacation
Invest some time into your personal life and take a vacation. It can be a large vacation or a small one, but get out of your house and go see the world.
Work-life balance is something that we all have to manage, but there can be a tendency to prioritize work and the needs of your coworkers and customers.
At the end of your life, you won’t look back and think about the big project at work or the six-top at your restaurant who all ordered steaks. In the grand scheme of things, the memories that you made with loved ones are what you will cherish, so don’t undervalue a little time away.
8. Limit Your Screen Time
A lot of us spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Whether your daily tasks at work are all on the computer, you’re constantly scanning social media, or you’re helping your child with homework on their Chromebook, screen time is fairly constant.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, being attached to a screen can have a profound effect on your health. As a society, we’ve been trained to have much shorter attention spans, worse sleep patterns, and higher anxiety, much of which has to do with everything being available at our fingertips.
If you can spend some time offline and away from the television, you may find that your daily life feels a little bit lighter and a little less stressful.
9. Enjoy Nature
Whether we remember it or not, human beings are connected to nature. We are mammals who are affected by the elements, the air, the wind, and all of the insects and animals around us.
Take a moment to invest in your body’s innate capacity to invest in nature. Stand outside and breathe in the fresh air (slowly – in through your nose and out through your mouth). Listen to the sounds of nature.
If you have time to take a 15-minute walk, do it, but this doesn’t have to take a long time. Spend 20 seconds breathing, listening, experiencing, and relaxing into the nature around you. Do this on a daily basis or as often as possible.
10. Spend Time With Friends And Family
Maintaining your human relationships can be a huge contributor to feeling needed and wanted.
Having a good friend or family member that you can confide in, laugh with, and share memories with can make all of the difference at various moments of your life.
Whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, personal connections matter. They play an essential role in how we feel about ourselves and the support system around us, so be sure to save some energy for the people who know how special you are.
11. Indulge In Activities That You Love
Is there something that you love to do, but never make the time for? It’s time to make the time.
In order to be your best self, you have to consider your own joy. What hobbies do you have? Do you play an instrument? Is there a sport you loved in high school, but haven’t played in years?
Reminding yourself of and indulging in the activities that you enjoy is an excellent way to fulfill the needs of your soul. You may not be aware that these activities will have such a profound effect on your mental health, but you will be pleasantly surprised.
12. Accept Your Emotions
The biggest lie that we regularly tell ourselves is that we should be happy, positive, and amenable all of the time. You are not a robot and no one would ever want you to be. You have emotions and it is important that you acknowledge them.
It is human to feel sad, angry, and anxious. We all have an inner critic who is happy to report on the wrongs that we believe we’ve done and believes that we should be stronger and more in control. We can’t let that guy win.
You are the only person who truly knows how you feel. So instead of suppressing your emotions and feelings about any given situation, allow them to come through. There are ways to express yourself gently and calmly while also being true to yourself. It is the best way of moving towards personal growth.
13. Maintain A Journal
We all need an outlet for our emotions. Some can be spent while doing exercise and some can be eased while talking to a friend, but at the end of the day, most of us have feelings that are best worked out on the page or in therapy.
Journaling is a hobby that can be hugely beneficial to your mental health, and there is no one way to approach it.
Write about your past, create a to-do list for your future, note the things that you are grateful for, or focus on your own dreams in a way that you can’t usually verbalize.
Turn this into a new habit or only write when something is deeply bothering you. Use this tool in the way that works best for you.
14. Stimulate Your Mind
Engage in activities that challenge your mind, such as puzzles and brain games. If you are up for it, look into learning some new skills as well.
Keeping your mind busy and active will help you both have fun and feel a sense of purpose. They are simple ways to entertain yourself and should be easy to slide into your daily routine.
These don’t have to be complicated or 2-player games – think Candy Crush, Solitaire, crossword puzzles, or Sudoku.
15. Have Some Me-Time
Spending time with loved ones is great, but alone time is crucial when you need to replenish and recharge from within.
You may think that solitude and treating yourself is a selfish act, although it’s anything but. The best way to be able to give your all to others is to make sure that you are in tip-top shape mentally and physically.
Take yourself out to dinner, plan a movie night, treat yourself to a coffee and your favorite music – do whatever allows you to take a deep breath and enjoy the silence.
16. Indulge In Stress Management Techniques
Not everything has to be done at full capacity. Make time for the things that will relax you and lower your stress levels.
Take a bath, light some candles, start a new book, or listen to your favorite band. Consider investing in some paint brushes and art supplies or trying out a yoga class.
Come up with some healthy rituals that are both enjoyable and calming for the soul. In the end, indulging in them will make you a better person to be with.
17. Find Something To Study
While going to school isn’t for everybody, there are always new things to learn. See if you can find something to study or research – it may turn into a new passion!
Be true to yourself. This doesn’t have to be a long term project, just see if you can find some rabbit holes to go down online. Start by researching your favorite historical figure and move on to their spouse and children.
Focus on your own interests, whether they be math, literature, hard rock music, or shellfish. Just have fun with it and learn something in the meantime.
18. Watch Something Funny
We are able to experience the most joy when we are light and available, so put yourself in situations where you can laugh – a lot.
Whether you have a favorite television show, comedy movie, or stand-up comic that cracks you up, make sure that they play a prominent role in your viewing life. Enjoy yourself!
19. Follow Up With Medical Professionals
No one loves going to the doctor, but managing your health in a timely manner will help to keep any major physical challenges at bay.
Be sure to schedule regular yearly appointments with your primary care physician, eye doctor, and any other specialists in your present health care system once per year or as often as they require.
See your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning, and get your mammogram, colonoscopy, vaccinations, and bloodwork as required.
You can be a shining example for those around you. You don’t have to take great care to share all of your appointments with everyone, but it is clear when someone is maintaining their health. Do that by prioritizing yourself and don’t let little symptoms slip through the cracks.
20. Establish A Bedtime Routine
Winding down before bed is not just a way to get yourself to sleep, but a necessity for a calm night of rest. If you are constantly running around with your hair on fire and expecting to catch some Zs that will make you feel rested the next day, you may be sorely mistaken.
Create a bedtime routine for yourself, just as if you were creating one for a child. Maybe you start by watching a 30-minute television comedy, then brush your teeth, change into your pajamas, and read a book in bed before turning off the light.
Do what works best for your life and your schedule, but you will get the best rest if you aren’t on your phone just before closing your eyes. Unplug for a short time and let your brain relax into a restful slumber.
21. Give Yourself Some Love
We are all works in progress, so it is important to remind yourself how special you are. Leave yourself love notes around the house, write and speak some positive affirmations, or send yourself an email with beautiful things that you can open at work in the morning.
You are a special person who deserves to be loved and showered in positivity. Don’t wait for someone else – give yourself what you want. You are enough and there are ways to remind yourself of that in a very short time.
You deserve to be your best self, and by investing in your well-being, you’re not only benefiting yourself but also those around you. Joy starts within, and taking care of yourself is not selfish, but necessary.
Make a commitment to yourself to prioritize self-care and embrace the power that you have to shape your own happiness. This is the time to take the first step towards a brighter future.