it's no secret that 2022 was a busy year for many people. between work, family, and other obligations, it can be easy to let our self-care fall by the wayside. that's why it's important to make sure we're making time for ourselves and practicing these habits every day. here are seven self-care habits that will help you stay healthy and happy in 2023:
define what self-care means to you.
when we hear the word “self-care,” we usually think of taking time to relax and take care of ourselves physically. this is certainly part of it, but there's a lot more to self-care than that. as an example: the gym is great for your physical health, but if you don't have time to do laundry at home or you're stressed about money then it can be hard to feel like going on a run or lifting weights makes any difference.
it's also important to remember that self-care isn't selfish—it's good for everyone! if we want people around us (whether they're friends or family) to be able to rely on us and trust our support system when they need it most, then we need strong mental health ourselves so that we aren't constantly worrying about what everyone else needs from us instead of focusing on our own needs for once in our lives!
create a morning ritual.
One of the best ways to take better care of yourself is by creating a morning ritual. this can be something as simple as waking up 10 minutes earlier than usual, or it could be something more elaborate like taking a few minutes each day to spend quality time with your pet or loved one (if you don’t have a pet, consider watching a video on YouTube).
whatever it is that you decide will help get your day started on the right foot, make sure that it makes you feel good and helps set the tone for what’s ahead. you want this ritual to become part of your daily routine so that eventually it becomes second nature!
always remember to breathe.
when you are feeling stressed or anxiety-ridden, it can be difficult to find the time to practice self-care. After all, when your heart is racing and your breathing is shallow, it may seem impossible to slow down and take care of yourself.
the good news? even if you don't realize it, breathing exercises can help. the act of inhaling and exhaling has a calming effect on the body by lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress levels. it also reduces muscle tension in the face and neck that contributes to feelings of discomfort or pain (this prevents headaches!). try these three simple practices whenever you need a break:
- deep belly breaths: this technique helps us tap into our parasympathetic nervous system—the part of our brain responsible for relaxation—which allows us not only physical rest but also emotional healing as well.* take five deep breaths while counting backward from 10; each time you exhale completely until nothing remains except peace.*
- full awareness breath: similar yet slightly more advanced than deep belly breaths because they require concentration rather than just relaxation alone.* to perform this exercise properly, take nine deep breaths while counting backward from nine then follow up with one more breath before repeating until finished.* this will help quiet any anxious thoughts for them not interfere with other forms meditation techniques such as mindfulness meditation which requires complete focus on one task at hand (such as counting).
who doesn’t want to feel more rested and rejuvenated in the morning? if you regularly find yourself dragging through the day, it may be time to check how much sleep you’re getting. while there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer for how many hours of sleep people need each night, most experts recommend between six and eight hours per night (though some people are fine with even less than that).
however long it takes, just make sure those hours are uninterrupted by technology—even checking your phone once or twice during the night can hurt your quality of rest. and when it's time for bed, don't forget these tips:
- keep technology out of sight at least 30 minutes before bedtime
- use an eye mask if light bothers you at night
go outside every day.
the benefits of being outside are numerous: exposure to sunlight helps you make vitamin D, which is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. sun exposure also boosts your mood and can improve cognitive function.
you’ll need to go outside daily to reap these rewards. the most important thing is to make sure you get some sun exposure between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. when ultraviolet rays are strongest but still bearable (you don't want to spend all day at the beach in the middle of summer). a few minutes every day is sufficient—just don't forget about it!
do something fun.
- go to a museum. museums are great places to immerse yourself in creativity, whether you're into museums or not. if you can't think of anything else to do, this will get you out of your head and help you focus on something else besides every day worries.
- go attend a concert. there's nothing like watching your favorite band live on stage—the energy is palpable in the crowd and everyone has their phones out recording videos while they scream along with the lyrics. it's one of those experiences that'll bring back memories long after it's over!
- catch a movie at an outdoor theater (weather permitting). you'll get to enjoy the ambiance while also relaxing under blankets or jackets as it gets chilly later into the evening (or morning if we're talking late screenings). plus this way there's no need for anyone else but yourself driving home afterward because everything is already set up for comfort!
- check out some theater productions nearby including plays, musicals, improv acts etcetera so long as there aren't any weird screams coming from backstage during rehearsals :)
make time for your passions, even if they don't make money.
for many of us, it's easy to get caught up in the idea that we need to make money from our passions. in reality, however, some of the most important things in life don't always have a monetary value.
for example, many people are passionate about cooking—but there aren't very many cooking shows on TV either. this is just an example of how passion can be expressed without money changing hands!
the good news is that when you do find ways to monetize your passion(s), it's often because someone recognized its value and rewarded you for contributing it to society in some way. for example: if your blog about knitting becomes popular enough that you start getting paid for advertising on it, this is great news! it means there's an audience out there who wants more content from you specifically! but if no one reads your blog about knitting and asks for more content from YOU specifically? well then maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all...
set boundaries with work and stick to them.
to start, it's important to set goals before you start. think about what is most important to you in life—your relationships, financial health, and physical well-being. once you have a clear idea of what your goal is, write it down and make sure it's something that will motivate you.
once you've defined your goal (I want to be able to do 10 pull-ups by 6 months from now), it's time to think about how much time would be needed for this goal (three times per week). You can't expect yourself to run a 5k marathon if running isn't even part of your normal routine!
when setting fitness goals for yourself or others in the new year remember: don't compare yourself with anyone else's fitness habits or routines; there are no right or wrong ways when it comes to fitness; and always remember why those goals were so important enough for them in the first place!
get rid of some (or all) of your social media accounts.
social media can be a source of stress, anxiety, and FOMO. if you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious when checking your social media accounts, whether it's Facebook or Instagram, or Twitter, it might be worth considering getting rid of one (or all) of your accounts.
it's not unusual to feel like you're missing out on something if a friend posts an exciting event they're attending—and then you can't go because you've already committed to seeing friends at another event. Or maybe someone posted an amazing picture from their vacation while they were skiing in Aspen and drinking champagne with the president's son—and then maybe they look at their vacation photos from two years ago and think how lame their trip was compared to that one friend's awesome time abroad. it's easy for comparison anxiety to set in when social media is involved!
learn from rejection and move on.
rejection is a normal part of life. it's also something you can't control, so it's important to learn how to deal with it when it happens. because let's face it: rejection hurts—but it doesn't have to ruin your day or career prospects.
the first step in dealing with rejection is realizing that it's not personal and doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you or your work. it might be tempting to think that other people are out to get you or that their opinions are wrong, but neither of those things matters because what matters is your perception of yourself and whether or not those perceptions make sense based on reality (and the reality is that everyone has different tastes). rejection only shows us what we need to improve upon, which means no matter how many times someone says they don't like something we make or do, this gives us more growth opportunities!
managing stress is an important part of life
it's important to understand that stress is an inevitable part of life. we all experience it, and some more than others. the key is to learn how to manage your stress in a way that works for you—and there are many different ways! for example, one of my favorite self-care activities is taking a walk outside on a sunny day. this helps me release pent-up energy while also giving me time to think about things from a fresh perspective. in this way, exercise can be incredibly therapeutic and help clear my mind so I can better deal with whatever issues are weighing me down at the moment (or preventing me from achieving my goals).
another great tip: writing down your emotions before bed each night in an old-fashioned journal provides an outlet for whatever emotions have been bothering you during the day and gives them structure so they won't consume all your waking hours or keep popping up in dreams throughout the night!
if you have trouble getting started in the morning, try waking up with a gratitude practice. make it a habit to notice the small things that make you happy and grateful so that when you face the challenges of your day they won’t overwhelm you. it’s also important not just to set boundaries but also to keep them so that we don’t overcommit ourselves or feel overwhelmed by stressors beyond our control. finally, take some time off from social media (or all social media) because these platforms can be super addictive—and often we feel like we need those likes or comments!
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