When life gets busy, that’s when self-care is most important, yet it’s also when it’s hardest to make time to do nice things for yourself. But it doesn’t take an entire spa day to make yourself feel good. Taking as little as one minute at a time out for yourself can do wonders for your stress levels. If you can fit in more, all the better.
Try out these feel-good tips to relieve the pressure today.
1. Take a walk. Even five minutes around the block will improve your mood and creativity, and getting out in nature makes us feel refreshed and replenished.
2. Meditate for five minutes when you wake up. Starting the day with a little time to yourself sets a great tone for the entire day.
3. Go to bed early. Getting adequate sleep not only feels great, it improves your mental functions and increases your willpower — so you’ll be more likely to remain stress-free tomorrow AND be able to say no to that candy bar at lunchtime.
4. Take a break. Many people fight through the urge to move when they’re working or studying at a desk, feeling like getting up means they’ll be seen as unfocused and unproductive. Quite the opposite: Vow to move your body for at least five minutes an hour, and you’ll be more productive and better able to focus.
5. Say no. Don’t be guilted into doing something you don’t want to do or don’t care about. Saying no can be very, very liberating.
6. Listen to music that makes you feel good. Music is an easy pick-me-up that doesn’t take any time out of your day.
7. Eat well. Junk food makes you feel good for a little while, but a salad will make you feel good all day.
8. Take a bath. Soaking in hot water is usually more relaxing than standing in the shower. To make it more special, add some herbal tea bags as the bath is filling, or pour in a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
9. See a friend. Maintaining contact with the people who matter to you can be a big stress reliever. Even if you don’t have time to see your friends in person, pick up the phone and see how they’re doing.
10. Make a gratitude list. Too often, we focus on what’s going wrong in our lives, and forget how much is going right. By writing out what you’re grateful for, you shift your focus to the positives in your life.
11. Take a deep breath. Try to slow your breathing to four to six breaths per minute, and you’ll be more relaxed and able to control unhealthy impulses.
12. Feel your emotions. Bottling up your feelings just makes your feel worse in the long run. If you’re angry, be angry. If you’re sad, be sad. Don’t just put on a happy face and keep going like nothing’s wrong.
13. Get a massage. When your body is relaxed, so is your mind.
14. Unplug. The urge to constantly check email, Facebook, text messages, voicemail and more can be strong, but the more you do it, the more you’ll keep feeling the need to do it. Things we read or hear can upset us or stress us out, so it’s best to limit those types of distractions to when we’re ready to potentially have emotional reactions — not absentmindedly go online when we’re bored.
15. Get some exercise. Go to the gym, ride your bike, go kayaking, take a walk around the lake or go swimming. Get your blood flowing and you’ll feel better almost instantly.
16. Do something nice for someone else. Whether it’s smiling at a stranger, giving someone a compliment, or buying someone an impromptu present, one of the best ways to make ourselves feel better is to improve someone else’s day.
17. Spend time with your pets. Playing in the yard with the dog or dangling a string for your cat is guaranteed to brighten your day.
About the Author:
Gwen Stewart is a marketing guru for clients of Outbounding.com. She works far too many hours, but has made a personal goal of eliminating Sunday from her work week. Her vision for the Fall includes one hour of yoga 4 times each week, homemade soup, saving for retirement, and time off work. She also believes that a mini face lift can transform and empower a soul.
photo By Jing Qu