Healthy Habits: Steps to Develop Self Care Habits

This is your year for Self Care

With the New Year in its early stages, we’ve heard much about self-care – but why is it important and how do we incorporate it into our daily lives? Self-care is about identifying your personal needs and engaging in activities that help you reach your best emotional, physical and mental health.[1]  It helps you recharge, refocus and de-stress.[2] The activities can be small, like taking a deep breath, or they can be big, like going for a run.

The best part about self-care is that anyone and everyone can do it. Not sure where to get started? We’ve put together a list of easy ways to put your self-care first and how to sneak each of them into your daily routine:

  1. Morning Moment: Wake up a bit early and set aside a few minutes every day for yourself. Whether it be a writing in a gratitude journal, a quick mindful meditation or reading a motivational quote, set the day off on a positive note. Your morning outlook sets the tone for the day so begin with a mindful intention.
  2. Unplug: Take some time, every day, to unplug from electronics or social media. Excessive social media can lead to more social comparison which has been linked to feelings of insignificance and insecurity.[3] Instead of drinking your coffee while the morning news is on or lying in bed scrolling through Facebook, spend some time in silence reflecting on your day.
  3. Indulge: Once a week, indulge in something you love and don’t often treat yourself to. It can be anything from a scoop of your favorite ice cream to a manicure with your best friend to splurging on fresh flowers. Don’t deprive yourself of things that brings you joy. Instead indulge in them sparingly while recognizing their significance and effects on your mood.
  4. Fresh Air: Go outside. It’s as simple as it sounds. Spending time in the fresh air can lead to a boost in your overall happiness. [4] Walk your kids to school or make an effort to get outside during your lunch hour. Take note of how you feel after you step outside and remember the feeling for when you find yourself overwhelmed.
  5. Let Loose: Let go of your routine and your constrictions. Turn up the music and dance around your apartment or get a good laugh by watching a funny video. Go for a long drive with the windows down. By taking a moment for activities that let your inhibitions go, you actively work to slow your heart rate, decrease levels of stress hormones and increase endorphins. [5]

There is no better time to put yourself first. Practice living with intention and care for your mental, physical and emotional health. Take time to find what works for you, your body and your lifestyle. There is no right answer, only newfound ideas and motivation for your overall wellness. While these may not solve everything, they can certainly help bring a bit more joy and happiness to one’s daily life.

[1] Self-Care. Retrieved from: http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/self-care

[2] Duron, Alexandra. (2015, Feb. 2). 25 Science-Backed Ways to Change Your Life by Taking Better Care of Yourself. Greatist. Retrieved from: http://greatist.com/happiness/ways-to-practice-self-care

[3] Hamblin, James. (2015, Apr. 8). The psychology of healthy Facebook use: No comparing to other lives. The Atlantic Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/04/ways-to-use-facebook-without-feeling-depressed/389916/

[4] Miller, Christa (2013, Aug. 13). The effects of sunlight and fresh air on the body Livestrong Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/470627-10-reasons-kids-need-fresh-air/

[5] Melnick, Meredith (2013, Aug, 9) 10 Scientifically Backed Ways to De-Stress Right Now The Huffington Posts Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/09/06/stress-relief-that-works_n_3842511.html