It’s 4 am and I keep tossing and turning in bed. Unable to sleep, my mind is racing with everything I need to do the next day. I wake up the following morning feeling both exhausted and wired. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. But what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if you could learn some practical ways to take care of yourself? That way you would regularly feel more balanced, relaxed, and focused.
So how do you start taking better care of yourself?
Looking back, I think we can all agree that our life since 2020 has been anything but normal. Every day we get hit with potentially what can be seen as yet another crisis.
I pride myself on being an expert on self-care and mental health but that does not always mean that I practice what I preach.
Having learned the hard way what happens when I get overwhelmed physically, emotionally, and mentally, I finally decided that it was time for me to reign it all in.
Now I have a solid plan and want to share with you how you too can learn to take care of yourself.
This plan is solid and will teach you to examine 5 areas of your life to make some changes and integrate simple ways to take care of yourself.
Take care of yourself physically
You only get one body in this lifetime and it should be treated with utmost care and adoration.
Unfortunately, people abuse and neglect their physical well-being until they get ill or injured. To prevent that from happening, start to take care of yourself physically on a regular basis.
You’ll notice a significant difference and feel better all around.
1. Exercise daily for 30 minutes
You’ve heard me say this before and I’ll say it again. Exercising regularly is one of the most fundamental practices that will positively influence your emotional and mental health.
Research has shown that people who suffer from depression reap the same benefits from exercise as they can from taking an antidepressant without the negative side effects.
If you’re not interested in joining a gym or a group sport that’s okay, just put on your shoes and go on a walk!
Here are other ideas for daily exercise:
- Your favorite sport
- Strength training
Do you still need some motivation to work out? Check out 10 foolproof ways to boost your motivation and workout right now.
2. Eat nutritious food and feed your gut
When you put gas in your car you typically don’t put the worst gasoline out there right? You want your car to function for a long time without breaking down.
It’s the same with your body. If you fuel your body with junk, then you will feel like it. On the other hand, feeding your body whole nutritious food and treating your gut microbiome with affection will ensure that you feel your best.
The best way to do this is to start meal planning so you have a variety of healthy foods to eat.
3. Sleep at least 8 hours every night
Do you notice that most people think they can sacrifice sleep and can live on 6 hours a night? It’s not true and research suggests that adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to be well-rested.
Sleep deprivation causes a slew of physical and mental health problems so focus on improving your sleep hygiene and set a goal of getting at least 8 hours every night.
Take care of yourself emotionally
Emotional health is about how you think, feel, and your sense of well-being. It’s also the ability to acknowledge your emotions and that of others.
Being emotionally healthy doesn’t necessarily equate to being happy all of the time.
1. Spend some alone time weekly
As a classic extrovert, I get my energy from spending time with others. My husband on the other hand is an introvert and loves spending time alone.
What I’ve learned from him is that spending time alone is actually an important way to take care of yourself.
Here are some activities that you can do alone:
- Listening to music
- Playing an instrument
- Creating something
Having solitude to do activities that nurture your wellness is instrumental in your growth and emotional well-being.
2. Practice saying no regularly
It’s understandable how uncomfortable it can be to say no, especially if you’re a people-pleaser. As a kind and loving person, you want to help others.
However, with the reality that you live in and the obligations that you have, learning to say no is vital for your sanity and well-being.
If you’re ready to start flexing your no muscle, check out how to say “no” without feeling guilty: 6 secrets from an expert.
3. Take a break from social media
A few months ago I noticed that I would feel worse about myself, and more depressed, after logging onto social media. Has that ever happened to you too?
Scrolling through my feed, I felt a mixture of emotions because I was comparing myself to others and I felt awful.
So one easy and practical way to find more time to take care of yourself is to actually stop spending so much time on social media.
If you’re ready, find out how your life changes when you stop social media.
Take care of yourself spiritually
Spiritual health involves a sense of meaning in life, hope, and peace. Cultivating your spiritual health helps you achieve more balance and comfort, especially during difficult times.
1. Practice daily gratitude
What would you say if I told you that practicing gratitude is a simple solution to take care of yourself and relieve your stress, anxiety, and worries?
There are numerous benefits of having a regular gratitude practice like your brain rewiring and being more positive.
Ready to get started? Check out how to start a gratitude practice and change your life.
2. Pray or meditate
Take the time to slow down, pause and reflect by meditating or praying daily. This practice is a proactive way to take care of yourself and get grounded.
If you ascribe to a religion, then identify a daily prayer to say to yourself or out loud every morning.
I turn to my daily meditation practice which has been a savior, especially during times of deep turmoil and angst.
New to meditation or need some suggestions? Here are the 5 best meditation apps that will make you feel calm and stress-free.
3. Spend time in nature
Being in nature is relaxing, comforting, and healing for you. It’s also a helpful reminder that you are part of this larger whole and reminds you that you are not alone.
Spending time in nature always helps me feel better especially when I’m having a lot of anxiety. I always feel calmer after breathing and watching the waves at the beach.
If you’re in a big city, find a local park or trail to walk on. You’ll notice your mood improve almost instantaneously.
Take care of yourself mentally
Your mental health affects how you think, feel, act and cope with life. In addition, it helps you determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make life choices.
If you have a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, it’s critical for you to double down on your self-care and find ways to integrate wellness regularly to prevent your symptoms from worsening.
1. Take a mental health day
A mental health day is a day that you take off of work or school as well as your responsibilities.
Furthermore, you dedicate to caring for your emotional, psychological, and mental health. The goal for this day off is to immerse yourself in stress relief activities.
Want to learn more? Here are 15 signs you need to take a mental health day.
2. Schedule your self-care time, and guard that time with everything you have
One of the best activities you can integrate into your life is self-care.
Take control. Feel better.
Start your Self-care Journey.
New to self-care? Here are 10 easy ways to practice self-care daily.
Now schedule and protect your self-care and, whatever you do, do NOT talk yourself into any guilt about it.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”Audre Lodre, African American feminist poet
You are worth it, and prioritizing your self-are will reinforce that message.
3. Get organized
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it may be because you are feeling a lack of control in your life.
Some aspects of our lives are within our control while others are not.
One area that can help you feel better is how you organize yourself, your environment, and your time.
Taking some time to get organized, even if you do it for a few minutes in the morning will help you take better care of yourself throughout the rest of your day.
Remember, it will take time for you to learn how to take care of yourself since it may not come naturally to you. This is especially true if you’re so used to taking care of and putting others ahead of yourself.
It may even feel like learning a new language because it is foreign to you.
That’s okay, keep practicing every day and soon it will become second nature to you.
When you begin to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually you will feel better.
Most importantly, remember it’s worth it especially since you can’t be of service to anyone when you have nothing else to give.
Love love this article! Great information about the different aspects of self-care. My favorites are the doing things for yourself! I look forward to reading more articles!
Hey Julie so happy that you like the article and all the different aspects of self-care that you can integrate into your routine!
Love this article! Self-care is so important. I put my self-care routine in my daily schedule just like any other task like running errands or doing laundry.
Hi Christine thank you so much for sharing that you also agree how important self-care is and I LOVE that you put self-care into your daily schedule since it’s so important to carve out that time for ourselves.
Number 2 in the Take care of yourself physically section (eat nutritious food and feed your gut) is definitely my favourite tip on your list. Not as easy for everyone to do but it is definitely worth the sacrifice.
Thank you so much for your positive feedback! I agree with you that eating nutritious food and feeding your gut is worth the sacrifice. It’s super hard to do especially if you are very busy and don’t always have access to healthy foods. That’s why I’m big on meal planning and pack my two snacks and lunch every day before I head to work. That way I avoid purchasing junk food on impulse when I’m hungry! What are your favorite ways to feed your gut? Mine is plain yogurt with a tiny bit of honey!
I love all of these suggestions. I am always looking for ways to incorporate self-care into my daily routine
Hi Kim I’m delighted that you love all of these suggestions and are looking for new ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. My hope is to inspire others to integrate little self-care steps into their daily lives since we can only serve others and be at our best when we prioritize our physical, emotional, and mental health! I hope you get a chance to download my free self-care guide as it has tips for things you can do at home, at work and anywhere/everywhere!
Love #2 under mental health. You wrote: “Schedule your self-care time, and guard that time with everything you have. One of the best activities you can integrate into your life is self-care.” Unless we commit to reserving time and energy to self-care and following through nothing changes. Warm regards, Nancy Andres
Hi Nancy I could not agree more! I know it’s hard for us all to commit to setting aside time for our self-care. I think women especially have a hard time setting aside self-care/me time because of how we are programmed and the messages we get from society on what is acceptable. Unfortunately, we end up sacrificing our physical, mental and emotional health. As a licensed therapist, I see meet with women every day who are at their max and are burnt out and overwhelmed. My top recommendation to everyone is to be proactive, not reactive. Learn to slow down, prioritize yourself and take tiny steps daily to care for yourself. It’s much easier to reset when you notice that you are feeling stressed rather than wait until your body shuts down. I’m not saying I’m perfect at it by any means, but I want to practice what I preach and set an example to my readers and my clients. Thank you Nancy for taking the time to share your comment!