5 Ways to Improve Your Self-Care Today
In Only 10 Minutes A Day You Can Become Less Stressed:
These days, self-care is a big buzzword. People acknowledge that it is important, and that we all should be doing it… But does that really happen? Or do the pressing priorities of life take precedence? Work, caring for children and family members, chores, running errands, preparing food, spending time with friends and family, the list goes on.
Most people know the metaphor regarding the plane and the oxygen mask. If you don’t, then let me explain it. When you fly in an airline they will explain the safety measures before or while taking off. If the plane loses cabin pressure, they advise you to place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others around you (children, elders, people having difficulty, etc.) This is because you cannot help others if you do not have oxygen yourself first- you could pass out.
Well you probably guessed it, but this translates to every other scenario in life as well. You cannot help others if you do not help yourself first. If you are not caring for yourself, you will not be happy, well rested, fulfilled, and this will absolutely translate into the way you treat the others around you.
The way you treats others is a reflection of how you treat yourself. Are you happy with the way you treat others? Does the way you treat others worsen when you are hungry or tired? This is proof that your state of mind and lack of wellness has a direct impact on those around you. Continue reading for 5 easy ways to improve your self-care today.
Less Stress With These 5 Tips:
Being more kind to yourself will lead to lower blood pressure, lower anxiety, and lessen the pressure you put on yourself. The physiological and psychological benefits are numerous. Very often, you can be your own worst critic on a regular basis without even realizing it. These critical thoughts can affect the way you approach (or avoid) tasks, how satisfied you feel, and how much stress you experience.
I have had two different piano teachers in my life since I started taking lessons at 9 years old. My first teacher, although knowledgeable, had a strict and critical approach. He even made me cry as a child because I felt like a failure at times due to his criticisms. Then, I transitioned to another piano teacher a few years later. She was very encouraging, helpful, and positively reinforced my playing. They were both effective teachers, yet I was more motivated to play and attend lessons with the teacher who was more compassionate and kind to me because I did not have as big of a fear of failure and embarrassment.
The way you treat yourself is very similar. You are not going to be motivated to move forward with tasks, or in life, if you are not kind to yourself along the way. Compassion can lead to greater productivity, focus, and satisfaction.
Try out self-compassion today by spending a few minutes being kind to yourself regarding your failures, frustrations, and shortcomings. Take a deep breath in, imagining compassion and kindness filling your lungs and body. Take a deep breath out, releasing what you cannot control. Tell yourself that it is okay to feel this way, it is okay to make mistakes, and see if you notice a difference in your mood.
2. Take A Break
You need to take a break before you start to run on empty. Feeling “burnt-out” can lead to irritability, frustration, and resentment. Take some time to clear your mind and your focus. You will be more productive when you return, and paradoxically will be saving time. This is because when you become drained from a task it becomes harder to focus, and as a result you will be more easily distracted and it will take longer to complete the task at hand.
Try taking a 5-10 minute break at work, home, or wherever you may need to. You can even take a small break while at a party or social gathering if those types of events are overwhelming for you. The key is to take this time away from distractions (such as technology) because this is only another element that will require your focus, and it will not be a relaxation for your mind.
Do something such as going for a walk, sitting down on a bench and observing your surroundings, or just going into the bathroom stall and taking some deep breaths if you would prefer to be alone. Notice how you feel when you return to what you were doing before.
The power of organization can be liberating. It may sound simple or nearly impossible (if you have been avoiding it). But, the truth is that simply decluttering your space can help to declutter your mind. Decluttering leads to less stress, healthier habits, and a physically cleaner home.
Start decluttering for only 10 minutes today by choosing an area of a room or a drawer, shelf, or other small space to work on. Maybe it’s the junk drawer that continues to get piled high with old mail, coupons, and recipes. Or maybe it is your nightstand that you just throw stuff into, or the coffee table piled high with magazines, remotes, and dishes. Choose one area today and see if you notice an improvement in how you feel afterwards.
4. Have Fun
How often do we get to do something we enjoy as adults? Maybe on weekends, holidays, special occasions. I want you to think back to what you enjoyed doing as a child. Was it something creative like drawing or crafting? Or maybe it was something scientific like conducting experiments with those kits (guilty), or playing board games, playing outside, playing video games… The list can be endless. Doing something fun forces you to focus on the task at hand and puts your focus more on the present moment. This will inherently prevent you from thinking about stressful things, such as worries about the future or regrets about the past.
Spend 10 minutes today doing something fun! Take out a piece of paper and draw or color, play an old video game you haven’t played in years, do some wooden puzzles or word puzzles, play a harmless prank on a family member or friend, or dust off your old musical instrument. Pay attention to how you feel when you are engaged in doing something enjoy.
Writing things down can be a beneficial way to get them out of your head so that you do not continue to obsess over them. Writing down your thoughts and/or reactions is another way of processing what you are experiencing, and can result in a feeling of relief and release. Whether you have another person to vent to or not, sometimes it is easier to share your thoughts in a journal where there will be no fear of judgment from anybody except yourself. Journaling is a great way of releasing tension, among many other benefits.
I like to journal either first thing in the morning or before I go to sleep at night as a “word dump.” Essentially, I will get all of my thoughts, emotions, even dreams from the night before out onto the page so they are left there and I can proceed forward with my day or night. Journaling can be used for this, for decision making, emotion processing, venting, creativity, etc.
Spend 5-10 minutes journaling today in your phone, computer, or on paper. Choose one of the below areas of focus to start with and see how you feel afterwards.
- Vent your thoughts and emotions about a particular topic, or in general.
- Write about a difficult decision you have been struggling with recently.
- Jot down the dream(s) you had last night.
- Create a short story about somebody overcoming a struggle.
- Write down at least 5 things you are grateful for.
So there you have 5 things you can do starting today to feel less stressed. You can start with just one and see if you notice a difference in how you feel.
Please share your experience or any additional self-care tips in the comments below!