The self-care phenomena is in full force this summer, especially after a rainy spring jam-packed with twisters and tornadoes alike. Add on everyday personal and financial strain to less than desirable weather conditions, and you’ve got the perfect storm. That’s why self-care is so important when transitioning seasons.
Neglecting to take care of yourself can only lead to three things: burnout, stress and a lack of focus. Pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion when you’re busy and overwhelmed may sound like the most efficient form of productivity but it actually leads to heavy tension on both the mental and physical states.
Common symptoms of stress range from secondary issues like headaches, anxiety, depression or substance abuse to much more serious physical health complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and even diabetes.
Reduce the risk of these negative effects by introducing a few key habits into your daily routine by self-caring your way into summer with these 6 simple steps!
1. Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep can have a huge impact on day to day function and stress can devastate quality zzz’s. Focus on little changes you can make to your nightly ritual. If you’re eating or drinking before bed, be sure to avoid caffeine and sugar which are known to prevent sleep.
There are also other tactics to consider, especially when looking at your bedroom, in order to promote valuable REM sleep. Change out your mattress if it’s old or worn; check out the latest options that match your desired firmness to inhibit tossing and turning throughout the night. Free your bedroom from distractions by removing electronics such as televisions, tablets, and phones and try using blackout curtains that stop morning rays from waking you up too early.
Sometimes all you need is to get those endorphins pumping. Exercising not only helps your body but also keeps your brain in tip-top shape. Daily exercise reduces stress, fatigue and will even help you shed a few extra pounds.
There are so many new activities to try in the form of group workouts. Grab a friend and challenge yourselves with something different like barre, hiit or crossfit classes. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to stay active. Other suitable exercises include walking, running, riding a bike or getting together with people for a good, old-fashioned invigorating round of sports.
3. Eat Right
The secret to taking care of yourself won’t come in the form of a crash diet or detox. Steer clear of programs that require extreme fasting, hefty water intake or liquid only diets. However, there are healthy ways to cleanse and reset your system for eating right.
Eating your way to a healthy lifestyle has many benefits on your physical and emotional states. Improve focus, memory and weight loss efforts by adopting a balanced diet. Superfoods to keep in mind are:
- Vitamin rich staples like cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens or herbs
- High fiber fruits such as apples, pears or grapefruit
- Healthy fats like olive, avocado or coconut oils
4. Know When to Say No
It’s time to learn how to say no. Reject the often staggering sense of obligation to say yes to each and every social event, get together or meet up that you are extended an invite to in the name of self-care.
This is where the burnout comes into play. Packing too much into our weekly schedules leads to anxiety, irritability and down-right exhaustion. Empower yourself to say no to family, coworkers or friends to safeguard your sanity. In turn, those relationships may flourish on their own from your ability to better show up for your loved ones when you’re more able to.
5. Spend Some Time Outside
The great outdoors is not just a popular saying. Self-care takes many forms and when you add some fresh air, the opportunities are endless. After what seemed like an endless spring, spending some time outside is sure to do some good.
Try hiking at your favorite national park or picnicking with some friends over a healthy lunch. Or, pick up a shovel, some fertilizer and hit the garden for a more productive venture. Studies have shown that spending time outside lowers blood pressure, overcomes feelings of depression or stress and helps you be more mindful.
6. Stay Organized
How many times have you been put into a tizzy because you can’t find your car keys under the newspaper or the remote that fell in the couch? While an organization may be a less obvious form of self-care, there’s no doubt that it can lessen the negative effects of stress.
Summer is the perfect time for a fresh start. Organizing your home is a sure-fire way to save you time and frustration in your daily routine. Everything in your space should have a rightful place, so start by evaluating what should be kept, tossed or donated. This includes furniture, accents and personal belongings.
Deciding what items you keep or toss promotes self-awareness and contentment in one’s property while donating increases self-esteem. Do it yourself to find that feeling positive is one of the best self-care treatments you can get!