In our day to day lives, it’s common for us busy-bees to forget about what’s most important– ourselves! From balancing our time between school, work, friends, and other daily activities that often need our attention, we often forget to give ourselves the TLC we need and deserve. As easy as it may sound, doing things for yourself usually takes more effort than you may think. A yoga class once a week, or night alone reading in bed doesn’t quite fit the requirements of how much attention you should be giving yourself.
It’s easy to lose track and lose touch with yourself. However, regaining your focus and centering your attention back to yourself can be very rewarding. Making time for yourself is not only good mentally, but it’s also good physically and spiritually. In the long run, self-sufficiency goes a very long way!
1. Maintain Your Physical Health
Physical health is vital to living a long and happy life. Visiting your doctor regularly, along with taking the vitamins and ingesting the nutrients you need on a daily basis will be great for you in the long run. Along with visiting your doctor, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis not only make you feel good, but both actions are also good for you! It’s easy to get too comfortable and fall in a rut– and more often then not, when you’re feeling down, it’s because your body is craving exercise. Maintaining an exercise routine is crucial, along with eating healthy. Getting the correct amount of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and other nutrients will benefit you in the long run. Combining exercise and a healthy diet will not only make you look good, but also feel good! Giving your body the rest it needs, and getting in a sufficient amount of hours of sleep every night will keep your body working properly and give you the natural energy it needs to get you through the day! Between 7-8 hours of sleep a night, on average, will allow almost anyone to feel well rested enough to get through the day! Intimacy is also important to your physical health, and mental health as well…
2. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Taking care of your mental health is something I notice many people around me tend to neglect, especially people I have met in college. Taking care of your mental health is important– I’d argue it’s equally as important as taking care of your physical health. The first step to taking care of your mental health is learning to make the most out of everything in your life. Ask yourself some of these questions? Are you taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way? Are you doing the most of what you can with what you have? Are you living your life to the fullest? Is what you’re doing every single day making you truly happy? Have you done something for yourself lately? Are you calling and/or getting together with friends, family, or co-workers often, or do you find yourself isolating yourself? Are you making up problems in your head? Are your relationships, Platonic or erotic, healthy? Are you learning to be more mindful every single day?
After answering some of these questions, I guarantee you will begin to rethink a few things. The next step is learning to handle these questions that you struggled to answer, or areas know you could be doing much better in. No matter what your outlet may be for getting problems off your chest and feeling as comfortable and as happy as possible with yourself and your life, we humans need to learn to take more advantage of these outlets. For some, a once-a-week therapy session does the trick! For others, it’s either not that serious or we just prefer to handle our stress and anxiety other ways. For many, talking to friends works wonders. I know for me, a night out with my closest friends is sometimes necessary, especially after a stressful week, or just a week of feeling down. For others, also including myself, writing is the best outlet. I love to write about all things, and when the weight of the world feels like it’s resting on your shoulders, writing could do the trick. Consider starting a journal, maybe even a bullet journal if you’re up for some fun! Make yourself accountable for things– track your daily diet, exercise routine, moods, stress levels, water intake, and so on! There are so many different bullet journal page options! Other small things like talking yourself up, maybe by putting motivational Post-it’s on your mirror or around your room. Maybe writing down a list of things you’re grateful for at the end of every week, or maybe even every day.
3. Do Things For Yourself
For starters, take a day for yourself to unwind and be with yourself. Although most people fear being with themselves, having the ability to be comfortable with your own presence is a gift. To start on a small scale, take a day and dedicate it to yourself. Start the morning off the right way– treat yourself to your favorite breakfast, or maybe an iced coffee (and don’t be shy with the sweetener.) If you have work to get done, finish it early so it’s not putting an extra weight on your shoulders throughout the rest of the day. Spend the afternoon arranging your bedroom and cleaning out your closets. Donate clothes, books, and other things you don’t ned anymore to charity. Rearrange your room! Decluttering your home can be good for your health! Then, maybe go for a walk, visit a farmers market, go to the mall and treat yourself! For dinner, order some of your favorite takeout and spend the night watching movies, or re-runs of your favorite television show (I suggest Gilmore Girls.) Once you are able to be comfortable and content being with yourself, think bigger! Explore the world, travel, or do a day trip, read classical books, paint, draw, sketch, write, create a vision board, etc, etc, and the list goes on!
4. Be Altruistic
Altruistic |ˌaltro͞oˈistik| adjective– showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; unselfish
Now although this may seem contradicting to the previous paragraph, giving back will make you feel great. Although I am advocating for being comfortable, happy, and content completely with yourself, there’s something beautiful about giving back to others- I would consider this post an altruistic action on my part! A poster in my room reads, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened: happiness never describes from being shared.” Sharing the idea of and advocating for self-love amongst all is a great thing to promote/support. The more people who are mindful and happy, the more people who will be persuaded and encouraged to live a similar lifestyle.
Although you need to focus on yourself, and learn to be completely content with yourself before you go around spreading self-love, (because let’s face it, no one wants to be deemed a hypocrite) it always starts with someone. Talk to your friends about doing an activity together, tell a friend you love her outfit or lipstick color, hold the door for a stranger, any selfless action that shows you care about others looks and feels great! There’s a difference between making your friends problems your own, causing you to be sad, and allowing a friend to be sad and helping them in the best way possible. You don’t always have to feel for someone to help them feel better. Being able to promote mindfulness and happiness to others shows that you not only care about the well-being of others, but you also care about the well-being of yourself.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Meditation seems to do the trick in a lot of instances. However, incorporating mindfulness into your everyday life will make life a heck of a lot easier. For some, starting a meditation routine and following through with it can be one of the toughest challenges one may face in their lifetime. Being still, in silence, with your own thoughts– jeez! Sounds scary just typing it up. Trust me, when I began meditation my reaction was the same as yours, if not worse. I am the type of person who feels that they need to be constantly doing things, basically until everything is done. When I’m not doing things, believe it or not, I write down on Post-it’s or in my planner or calendar what I need to do and when I need to do it by, and I’m constantly recreating the list to ensure myself that I know what I have to get done. Sounds a tad bit crazy, right? So, to manage my stress and anxiety (that has been gifted to me by my dear friend COLLEGE) I find meditation to do the trick.
Sitting still in silence and focusing on your breathing, for whether it be 10 minutes or 45, is very very rewarding. Being able to relax and take some time to do NOTHING but BREATHE sounds boring, and a waste of time… but trust me, it’s anything but that. When I began meditating, I found myself losing focus of my breath, and I began focusing on things I should be doing after I meditate, or what I could be doing in the present moment. As I began to practice meditation more frequently, focusing on my breath became a peace of cake– in fact, I looked forward to the few minutes of the day where I sat… in silence… and just BREATHED.
Once you are able to incorporate meditation into your routine, mindfulness becomes much easier to attain. Being mindful means being conscious or aware. Living a mindful life is very, very rewarding. If you are able to be aware of everything going on, everything you are doing, everything you have to do, and so on, your life will be much easier to live.. and happiness will ultimately be much easier to attain. For example, if I receive a bad grade on an exam, my original reaction would probably be somewhere along the lines of “F*** this! I tried so hard and I just suck at everything! I’m switching my major… I’m dropping out! I can’t do school!” and yada, yada, yada. Being mindful, my current reaction would be to weigh out the reasons I believe I got this grade. I would think about the time and effort I put into the exam and studying for it. I would talk to my professor for extra credit opportunities. Most importantly, I would accept what just happened, move on, and aim to do better next time. It’s the way we learn to handle the bad things in our life that make us appreciate the good things even more. For starters, maybe think of purchasing a daily meditation book, with small readings and mantra’s to encourage you start every morning off on the right foot!
These five strategies may be small, but they will allow you to work towards a happier, healthier you!