If you struggle to find balance between your commitments to others and your commitments to yourself, you might feel pressure or stress more often than you’d like. Some of the most common reasons we feel stressed include work, relationships, health and money. Sadly, one of the most powerful tools we have for managing stress—self-care—is often the last item on our to-do list. From taking time to cook healthy meals to racing to our yoga class, some of the very things we do to ease stress actually make us feel more stressed.
Looking for help balancing your fitness routine with overall self-care? Look no further than these four tips that make self-care easy so you can effortlessly boost your mood, mind and overall sense of well-being.
Meal Delivery Service: Having fresh, healthy food delivered to your door takes more than half of the work out of preparing nutritious meals. You can get proportioned ingredients and recipes for low-calorie meals, dairy-free dishes, low-carb or keto cuisine, and more. You can pick out your meals from recipe lists or let yourself be surprised. Either way, you’ll carve precious minutes off your meal-prep routine.
Exercise Daily: As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can be a life changer. Exercise is the number one way most people in the United States manage stress, so it’s key you make this a balanced part of your self-care strategy. However, in our appearance-focused Western culture, sometimes we become a little too fitness fixated. If your exercise habits are hurting self-care instead of helping, try exploring new, diverse activities with friends, like yoga, dance or a team sport.
New Hobbies: Exploring new activities can often strike the right balance between responsibility and relaxation. For those who want to flex their creative muscles, sign up for activities like knitting, painting, pottery or photography (there are even classes just for smartphone photography). Creative hobbies stimulate areas of the brain that can affect how good you feel about yourself—like confidence, self-esteem and pride in accomplishment. You’ll feel not only empowered to manage the stress you currently have, but maybe even feel less stressed by life in general. You can take it to a whole new level when you mix creativity with physical activity, like orienteering or dancing.
Relaxation Break: Take 15 to 30 minutes every day (minimum!) to step away from the phone, emails, calendars and schedules to do something just for you. You can make it a special outing, like a pedicure or an express facial, but you don’t even have to make an extra trip to take a relaxation break. Read for 30 minutes on your front porch. Bake healthy muffins or cakes. Watch a show you enjoy, or listen to a podcast. You can even do the latter while taking a walk in nature—research shows when you spend time in nature, you gain a clearer mind and more relaxed body.
Self-care isn’t just about prioritizing your own mental and physical well-being; it ensures you are in the best shape to care for others, too. Think about the last time your partner, children or friends needed you and you were too busy or too drained to be there for them the way you wanted to be. Making self-care part of your daily routine means you’ll have not only more motivation and energy, but also more love and compassion for yourself. Plus, you’ll be better able to share that positivity and productivity with others, as well.