Whenever the new year rolls around, self-care always makes it to the top of the list. Finally, finally, this is going to be the year where we meditate, exercise, get a lot of sleep, and stop it with all that negative self-talk. The good news is that self-care doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. Putting a few self-care tips into practice each day can make a world of difference.
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If you feel overworked, it’s not your imagination
But just like those new gym memberships that start to gather dust around the 31 of January, most of our self-care intentions go right out the window as the year progresses. It’s not our fault, really. In the words of Rihanna, our culture’s all about “work, work, work.”
In a 2016 study conducted by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, an economic thinktank, researchers confirmed what many of us already know firsthand — we’re working a lot. Those in upper management and higher-paying professions are likely to work even more, with almost 30 percent of management and legal professionals working 45 or more hours per week. And when most of your free time is eaten up by work, suffice it to say, self-care doesn’t even make the daily to-do list.
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13 very realistic ways to cram self-care into your daily schedule
The reason we’re not practicing self-care on the regular is really quite simple. We’ve got a lot going on and a lot of balls in the air, so we automatically put ourselves on the back burner. But here’s the really important thing to remember: Self-care isn’t selfish. Doing a few nice things for yourself each week (or each day) can help to press the reset button — and may make you more productive in most areas of your life.
For the many of us who are brand-new to self-care, here’s where to begin:
1. Love yourself.
It may take a while to get there, but this is self-care 101. And you might notice that it’s easier to love other people when you’re loving yourself first.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast.
Sounds simple enough, but many experts still believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day — and can set you up for success.
3. Tell someone you care.
Want to attract good things in your life? It’s time to open up and express your feelings, even through a short email or text.
4. Change your negative self-talk.
Yes, we’re talking about making an actual list. Cross out all those bad thoughts you have about yourself and replace them with something positive.
5. Take a break.
Stellar self-care also means giving yourself the time and space to rest and recoup.
6. Be a little selfish sometimes.
It’s really OK to say no. You have our permission.
Daily meditation has been linked to a long list of health benefits — and it could help to regulate your emotions for the rest of the day.
8. Get a lot more sleep.
We suggest trying a free app like Sleep Cycle alarm clock that analyzes your sleep, making your wake-up time much more pleasant.
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9. Do your own thing.
For once, do whatever works for you this weekend and let it all out — whether it’s spending time alone, being angry or sad, or taking a lot of naps.
10. Get your hair done.
A new cut, or even a quick blowout, is going to perk you up for the rest of the day.
Try journaling right before bed to dump out all your worries at the end of the day — and get inspired by buying a sleek new journal you’ll look forward to writing in. (Etsy, $15)
12. Look at adorable pictures of animals.
Don’t ask us why, but this really works — especially on a Monday morning.
13. Cut yourself some slack.
You don’t always have to do everything perfectly, every time.
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For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.