Self-care isn’t frivolous. It includes any activity we do to care for our physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or psychological health.
Here are my top 15 simple yet effective ways to establish a self-care routine to help you live a long, healthy, and happy life. Try choosing a couple of these and create a self-care routine checklist that you can do daily.
1. Focus on relaxation
Relaxation has a slew of benefits, from stress, tension, and chronic pain reduction to lowering blood pressure and even boosting confidence.
Try different kinds of relaxation techniques to find what works for you.
Long walks with your bestie
Long, warm bath
Listening to music
2. Be social
Connecting with loved ones is crucial to emotional well-being. Get together with friends and family on Zoom or FaceTime for a happy hour. It’s important to make sure you’re nurturing your emotional connections.
3. Connect with nature
Research shows that spending time in nature has positive emotional benefits, like better mood and focus and increased energy. And exposure to sunlight is important for our bodies to be able to absorb vitamin D, a nutrient that is critical to our health. (I get an extra dose from the fish oil I take daily.)
Find a nearby trail and go on a hike, spend an hour walking at the beach, or even just take a long walk around your neighborhood with your puppy.
4. Take breaks
Burnout is real, whether it’s due to work-related stress or simply not allowing your mind and body to rest properly. That’s why it’s crucial to take breaks. Stretching or take a 10-minute walk around the block can help you feel more energized.
5. Record your gratitude
Add a gratitude journal to your self-care night routine. Write a few things you’re grateful for every day, no matter how big or small.
Be specific, like:
I’m so happy about the support my best friend showed me today.
I loved sitting on the porch watching g the sunset with my husband.
I’m grateful for looking after my grandkids twice a week.
6. Laugh daily
Laugh out loud
It helps reduce stress, improve your mood, and even ease pain. Laughter is the best medicine, after all, so make this part of your self-care day routine. There are a ton of funny cat videos on FB and Instagram.
Journaling about your feelings can impact your mental health. Spend a few minutes every evening writing down some thoughts about the day, your fears, or your concerns. It may help get the negative energy out.
8. Find movement you love
Exercise boosts overall well-being. Do an activity you love. I love to walk outside daily. I also lift weights a few times a week to keep my arms toned.
9. Prioritize rest
Honor your body’s need for restful sleep. Getting enough sleep and the right kind of deep sleep can improve your mood, focus, and energy. Here are some practical tips to help you sleep like a baby:
Avoid large meals and stimulants (like alcohol, sugar, and caffeine) before bed. I know when I drink red wine I’m guaranteed a lousy sleep
Put down screens about 2 hours before bedtime.
Don’t go to bed angry with your partner
10. Plan healthy meals
Meal prepping Takes the stress out if cooking. Try new recipes and hone those cooking skills! Set aside time to prepare healthy meals and snacks, and make it fun — put your favorite playlist one and pour yourself something fun to drink.
11. Limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol
Sometimes the things we love don’t love us back. I love my morning coffee but excess caffeine makes me feel anxiousness and stress. When I need an afternoon brain boost I add Axio to my water. It is full of vitamins and a small amount if caffeine from green tea. Taste delicious too
12. Treat yourself
A little retail therapy goes a long way
Doing good for others is an instant mood-booster. Find a local cause you feel passionate about. No matter how big or small, every little bit helps when volunteering your time donating to charities, local businesses, and organizations you care about. Find ones that speak to you and give what you can.
14. Perform random acts of kindness
Small acts of kindness go far, for both you and others. Here are some ideas:
Offer to pick up groceries for an older neighbor.
Leave an extra-large tip on a takeout order.
Pay for the guys coffee behind you at the drive through.
15. Practice meditation
Meditation is a great tool for teaching the brain to relax and clear itself of stressful or negative thoughts. If you haven’t done it before check out the free meditation apps on your phone.
I hope you found a few things from this list that you are excited and motivated to add to your self-care routine. If there is something you do for self-care that I didn't put on my list, please connect with me @lisajohnstonlive on Instagram or Facebook and let me know! I'd love to hear from you.