I don’t dislike the concept of “Self-care Sundays” or being able to have “me time” one day a week, but self-care is needed all seven days of the week. Long before 2020, which brought COVID-19, Zoom classes, social unrest and overall upheaval, women and moms everywhere were having difficulty taking time for themselves. So, while I am a huge advocate for devoting any time we can to conscious relaxation and care for ourselves, this process must be an ongoing daily effort. The bottom line is, if you do not take care of yourself, you will eventually be unable to take care of those around you (job, kids, spouse, family) that depend on your support.
In my practice, I hear a consistent message from women that they are tired, stressed, not sleeping well and that they can’t add anything else to their jam-packed day. I must disagree. If your body is reacting to your schedule with red flags – such as a lack of energy, shifting moods or sleep issues -– then you are already past the point of needing more self-care.
Although your physical body has sent up the smoke signals, it is not too late to support your system in a way that will positively impact your long-term health. Adding simple yet intentional self-care rituals to your day is the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone else in your life.
Here are a few recommendations that will improve your day-to-day wellbeing. These tasks may seem big at first, so start out with one positive habit on this list, then add in new habits over time.
- Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (if you are 150 pounds that would be 75 oz)
- Proper hydration has everything to do with your energy, metabolism and blood sugar!
- Water bottles like Hidratespark.com are not only adorable but will also help you be conscious of your daily intake.
- Eat throughout the day. Make certain that you are getting at least three meals per day. Your kid’s leftovers do not count.
- If you can’t seem to get yourself meals that aren’t dinosaur or goldfish shaped, there are a lot of delivery services that can help. We like Daily Harvest for good, clean meals that are easily made and delivered frozen for convenience.
- If the day does not allow for a real meal, then make sure that you are planning for snacks such as peanut (or other nut) butter + apple or hummus + carrots (or celery, red peppers or cucumbers) or seaweed snacks that are quickly accessed.
- Create time to exercise. Whether your exercise is walking, yoga, spin class or stretching by yourself, it is imperative that you have the space to do some activity that does not involve running to an interview or chasing a child.
- Speak with your partner, family or babysitter about creating time in your schedule. Get buy-in from your support system regarding the importance of your active time.
- Find an activity that you LOVE so that you look forward to your exercise. If you are not the typical run/bike/yoga advocate, then consider activities like dance, hula-hooping or swimming.
- Sleep at least 8 hours per night. I wrote a great blog about how to get good sleep here.
- Go to bed early so you can have enough hours in bed to get your sleep even if you get disturbed.
- If your kiddos are disrupting your sleep, then create a system of balance. If you have a partner who can take turns with night-time help, create a schedule so you all get better rest.
- Give yourself a break. You are amazing and doing your best. Remember to be compassionate and kind to yourself – the ultimate exercise in self-care.
- Breathe. Use your breath a few times per day to connect to your own being. Sit tall, breathe into your belly for 4 counts, hold 4 counts and exhale 4 counts. Repeat 3-4 times and often throughout the day.
- Have gratitude for everything around you. Be conscious of all the things you do have. Remember to relax in those things that you are grateful for. It goes a long way toward your overall well-being.
Practicing self-care and giving yourself grace may seem too difficult in everyday life but are essential for your health, especially this year.