With all the many roles and responsibilities we take on in our lives, too often we push our own needs aside in order to take care of someone else. It can feel selfish to put our needs first when so many others look to us for help.
But here’s the thing: self-care isn’t selfish.
It’s crucial. When you neglect to take care of yourself first, you’re unable to give your best to others. When you make sure your own needs are met first, you feel better and more at peace, and you have so much more to give to your family and everyone else.
As important as self-care is, we know it’s not always easy. So many of us struggle to make the time to treat ourselves the way we really deserve. Here are 20 things you can start doing today to take better care of yourself that’ll make a difference in your life.
1. Learn how to say “no”
Stop saying “yes to everything that comes your way. Take control by choosing what you want to fill your life and your to-do list with. And as long as you say “no” with grace and kindness, you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
2. Talk kindly to yourself
Talk to yourself with as much compassion as you do with those you love. It’s so easy to beat yourself up in your head when you make a mistake — but if your best friend came to you and told you she did the same thing, there’s no way you’d be as hard on her. Actively practice self-love and be patient with yourself.
3. Stay active
Prioritize your physical health. Schedule a regular time to exercise. Countless studies have shown that regular exercise makes a real difference, so make the time in your agenda to get moving. You’ll feel better and you’ll perform better in all your other duties.
4. Nourish your body
Be mindful and aware of what you’re putting into your body. There’s a strong connection between what you take in and how you feel. Eating healthy, nutritious foods will help you feel your best. Be sure you drink plenty of water too.
5. But treat yourself every once in a while
Be healthy, but don’t be overly strict. If you have a major sweet tooth, indulge yourself every once in a while. If you’re tired of black coffee, upgrade to a fancy latte occasionally. No foods have to be completely off-limits in a healthy lifestyle — especially the ones that bring you joy.
6. Keep a journal
Take a few minutes each day to reflect on what you do and how you feel. Keeping a journal is a great way to keep your emotions in check and to keep track of your individual progress. It’ll help you learn more about yourself and your needs.
7. Ask for help when you need it
As strong and amazing as you are, you’re still human. Don’t be ashamed in asking for help when you need it. Anyone who cares about you will be grateful for the chance you’ve given them to serve you.
8. Choose clean beauty
Taking good care of your skin, hair, and body will help you feel (and look) your best. Upgrade your regular personal care routine by choosing natural, non-toxic products that are gentler on your skin and great for your hair. Plus, you’ll feel safer knowing you’re avoiding harsh chemicals and toxins.
9. Go out to lunch with a friend
Nurture the relationships that make you feel loved and valued. Spend some time to catch up with a girlfriend. It’ll be a nice change of pace from work and family responsibilities.
10. Curl up with a good book
Escape reality for a little while by reading every day. Reading daily has all kinds of mental and emotional benefits, and it’s a common habit of many successful people. It’s a great way to exercise your brain while also stepping away from the craziness of everyday life. (Audiobooks are also a great way to go, especially if you have a long commute.)
11. Have realistic expectations
Don’t set the bar so high for yourself that you’ll never be able to reach it. Accept where you’re at and set realistic, attainable goals for yourself that’ll encourage you to be better. Strive to improve, but be patient and content with where you are now.
Take some time each day to be absolutely still. Take just a few minutes in the morning to sit, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breath. It’ll help you start your day with more focus and peace. If you’re new to this, try downloading a guided meditation app like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer to get started.
13. Get enough rest
You probably don’t sleep enough. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep each day. Prioritize your sleep and get to bed early, even if there are still a couple items left undone on your to-do list. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep will help you get sick less often, lower stress, decrease anxiety, and improve your memory — all of which will help you feel better and perform better.
14. Make time to do the things you love
Hobbies and extracurriculars aren’t just for kids. Prioritize things that bring you joy and give you a creative outlet. Take that cooking class you’ve had your eye on. Paint on a regular basis. Practice the piano daily. Your talents and interests are part of what make you beautifully you. Invest time in them.
15. Pamper yourself
Light some candles and take a long, warm bath. Get a professional massage. Put on a luxurious face mask. Get a mani-pedi with a friend. Even if it’s just something small, like deep conditioning your hair in the shower, take a moment to pamper yourself and relax. You deserve it!
16. Listen to music you love
Make your daily tasks that much more enjoyable by putting on your favorite music while doing them. Music is a powerful way to influence your overall mood.
17. Spend some time in nature
Get outside. Take a brisk walk around the block during your lunch break, or go on a hike in the mountains this weekend. Take in the beauty that’s around you and let yourself feel gratitude for the beautiful world you get to live in.
18. Cut ties with those who bring negativity to your life
Love yourself enough to surround yourself with people who lift you up. It can be hard to cut negative people out of your life, but in the end, it’s what’s best for everyone. You and you alone decide how you allow other people to treat you. You don’t need bad energy in your life.
Take a break from your phone and social media. Try turning off your phone for a whole day, or not using social media apps for a week. You’ll be amazed at how much more time you have to accomplish the other things you have going on.
20. Cut your list down
After compiling your to-do list in the morning, find at least one thing you can take off. If you look at it for long enough, there’ll definitely be something. You’ll start off your day already feeling ahead.
We believe that adequate self-care is crucial to living a balanced, fulfilled life. If your self-care is a little lacking, take some time to intentionally schedule it.
Do at least one thing every day to consciously take care of yourself.
Whether you choose to practice self-care by taking a yoga class, going on a walk in the park, taking a relaxing bath, or simply being more mindful of your eating habits, make sure you make yourself a priority.
Ayurveda is all about taking care of yourself in order to achieve wellness, happiness, and balance. Its practices are designed to help people reach their full human potential by keeping them fulfilled, healthy and vibrant — just like we all deserve to feel.
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