We try balancing our work, family and social life, only to add more to do items to our list. The busy nature of our daily lives can generate a tolerance for unhealthy habits—bitten fingernails, indulging in too many naughty snacks or sometimes not eating at all. Although we make ourselves little promises, “I’ll start my diet on Monday” or “I’ll go to the gym more often”, they almost always fall by the wayside. Sometimes we forget that even the smallest of things we do for ourselves can make a huge difference. Here, let me share how you can bring wellness into your daily life with these ten simple self-care ideas you can do every day.
When you have a lot to do it’s easy to create a long list that is impossible to complete in a day. Structuring your time around achievable tasks helps to reduce stress levels, allowing you to be pleased with what you have accomplished at the end of each day.
Especially upon waking, greet the morning by drinking a tall glass of water. Not only does it serve as a quick and effective pick-me-up, it also boosts your brain function for the rest of the day. Although there’s the commonly recommended 8 glasses per day, there’s no real magic formula to get your body adequately hydrated. Look within to find the answer—drink up when you feel thirsty, and drink more when you sweat more.
Practicing deep breathing can also increase your body’s dopamine production, the pleasure-inducing neurochemical in the brain which in turn can boost your mood. When stressed, many of us experience shallow breathing, which means that we breathe using only our chests and restrict the oxygen circulation in our bodies. Taking deep breaths led by abdominal movement, ensures the brain is getting the maximum oxygen as well as putting your body at ease.
Get enough sleep
A good night’s rest helps to restore our energy. Sleep deprivation prevents our brains from functioning well and makes it more difficult for us to concentrate. Try adopting a regular sleep schedule and try to ditch the snooze button or alarms entirely. Waking up from an alarm can cut off your natural sleep cycle and may actually be as harmful as no sleep at all.
Soak up the sun
Sunlight naturally tells our bodies that it’s time to start the day as exposure to it triggers our bodies to produce less of the sleep hormone called melatonin. Open your windows or better yet, step outdoors for a fast energy fix. Sunlight provides your body with vitamin D, which can help improve mood and intellectual performance, as well as leave you feeling energised.
Do your daily errands wisely
Sneak in bouts of movement and exercise without even thinking about it. Don’t always look to your car to get to the local shopping center, use your bike or walk. If your destination is further afield, take the car but park a little further away so you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air for a quick health boost. Look to the stairs rather than the elevator and pack healthy snacks to feed your hunger pangs so you’re not tempted by that slice of chocolate cake in the café.
Mind what you eat
Mindful eating not only helps us enjoy what we are consuming, but also recognises our emotional and non-hunger related triggers which inevitably cause us to overeat and feel guilty. Let your body catch up to your brain. Our satiation signals take about 20 minutes to take effect so slow down, attend to your plate and experience food as it is meant to be enjoyed.
Take mini breaks
Closing the laptop and getting away from your workstation, gives our minds and eyes a break from a stressful task. A motivational talk or a little laugh with a friend or partner can put you in a good mood, even if you only have 10 minutes spare during your lunch break, use it effectively and get some fresh air for a guaranteed better mood.
Indulge in quiet time
In the age of constant connectivity, the power of silence is wholly underestimated, underused and often even feared. Dedicating time for solitude, even if it’s just five minutes on the train with your eyes shut and earplugs in, can be immensely beneficial to your mental health. It encourages self-reflection and nourishes and heals the mind. Research has also shown silence to relieve stress and amplify sensitivity to sensations, sounds, emotions and thoughts.
Take a few reflective moments and look forward to special plans, like a spa visit with friends or a cosy night in with your partner. Encouraging positive thoughts helps to overcome emotional stress and effectively soothes the mind.