Self Care After Decades of Neglect
So you've just realized how to actually take care of yourself. Welcome to the club, the club of learners that is. We all come to a point in our lives where we realize what is and isn't working for us and what sustains us, mentally, physically and emotionally. All contribute to how you take care of yourself and it goes without saying that taking care of you is essential. I've listed a few tips that have improved my wellbeing, hopefully they can help you out as well.
1. Learn to breathe.
Seems counterproductive to read about a thing your body does involuntarily but to be conscious of your breathing is imperative. How do you breathe when you're stressed? Short, panicked breaths? How do you breathe when you're calm? Long, deep breaths? How about when you're angry? It's important to notice and control your breathing in stressful times. Deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, count to three slowly as you exhale. Repeat this 5 times and see how it improves any situation.
You can't always rant about life to someone and that someone won't always care to hear it because chances are life is beating them down, too. Journaling clears the mind by giving you an expressive outlet. Angry? Write it out. Happy? Write it out? Stressed? Write it out. You get the point, write it out.
3. Get a full nights rest.
As busy millennials, there's always something to do and something to be focused on. Our brains are constantly buzzing with stimuli from our devices and it's easy to spend hours scrolling through feeds, stop. Put that phone down at 10 pm and go to sleep. Get a full 7 to 9 hours and see how it improves your mental and physical health.
4. Drink water.
Our bodies are mostly water, replenish your body with what it's made of- and lots of it. A good rule of thumb, take your weight in pounds in and divide it by 2. That's how many ounces you should be drinking. But it's not bad to strive for a gallon either. It's hard but worth it. Watch your hair, skin and waist thrive.
Not just before you go to bed, unplug on the weekends. Unplug during the day at work if you're looking for a challenge and actually delete some apps if you're feeling bold. Is Facebook stressing you out because you're always debating someone's stupid opinions? Or Instagram because you're comparing your life to someone else's? How about Snapchat because you have fomo? Unplug from the stress, you'll be amazed at how much more time you have in a day to get things done and focus on you.
We say we don't have time for this but we have three hours for Twitter. Go to a local bookstore and check out some books. Buy one and completely immerse yourself in your new find. It's hard to worry about bills when you're in another world.
7. Explore a new place.
We often neglect our own cities looking at other cities. Take some time to research fun things to do in or around your city if you're willing to drive. Don't take too much time planning it either, the point is to make sure it's fun and stress relieving, not stressful. Pick a place and go!
8. Eat well.
Food is fuel for the body, if you put trash in, it doesn't function properly and will eventually break down. Also, junk food has been scientifically proven to influence negative thoughts and make you feel sick afterwards. Another negative is, we all know it packs on the pounds so steer clear. Put good things in your body, you only get one and you want it to last.
New school meditation comes in the form of apps, use them! (I don't know how people did it without them because my mind wanders more than I do). Take yourself away from all of your stressors and thoughts by tapping into a new level of consciousness. Meditation calms your mind, body and soul. Basically, just do it.
Get up and get your body moving. Take a class, find a high school track, Google some quick moves to do before work, walk instead of taking the train or driving. Whatever it is that you need to do to get active during your day, get to it. Exercising releases endorphins in the body, which are feel good chemicals. So exercise and feel good, bonus- look good, too!
11. Cut it.
Anyone, anyplace, anything you no longer have energy for- you need to cut it. If it's not contributing to your growth, it's feeding your downfall. Don't feel bad about removing toxins from your life. Sometimes it's good to be selfish, especially when you're protecting your mental and even physical space.
12. Treat yourself.
This doesn't mean buying the most expensive thing you can find either! Treating yourself can be doing your nails when you get home from a long day. It could be deep conditioning your hair. It could be watching your favorite show once you've gotten your to-do list to-done. However large or small, just remember to treat yourself because life is too hard to not.
You only get one chance at life and one body to live life with. Treat yourself well and always remember that you've survived [enter age here] years and you'll continue to survive as long as you take care of yourself. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Remember, you cannot give when your cup is empty, so fill yourself up. Know your limits and continue to flourish!
Article by Olivia Steadman- Oladipo
Cover photo by @soulightdanceyoga