When you conjure self care in your mind’s eye, what comes to the surface? For most people it’s carving out time for a bubble bath, popping a bottle of Champagne, or splurging on a new wardrobe. For these reasons, self care is often regarded as a frivolous act—but in fact, the opposite is true.
Making time for self care helps to reduce stress, improve overall immunity, and foster a life free of anxiety and worry—while that could look like expensive treats and bubble baths for some, most people can reap the benefits of self care by practicing very basic daily habits.
Here, we spoke to a handful of life coaches and gratitude experts to get their best tips on how to implement self care habits into your daily life—without having to go out of your way or overhaul your routine.
Practice yoga on a regular basis.
According to wellness expert Melanie Musson, practicing 15 minutes or more of yoga every day is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. “Not only is the practice good for your body, but it’s also good for your mind,” says Musson. “It forces you to step away from your stress and focus on your breathing and your chosen intention.”
Get enough water.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to practice self care. “When your body gets enough water, everything will work and feel better than when you’re dehydrated,” says Musson. “It’s a simple practice, but it’s one that gives big results.”
Work on your sleep hygiene.
Sleep is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle and can help promote immunity to ward off all kinds of illnesses. “Not only should you make an effort to go to sleep earlier, your sleeping habits should evolve as well,” says Jamie Bacharach, licensed life coach and medical acupuncturist. “Don’t use your phone or stare at any screen for at least a half hour before you go to sleep, limit surrounding noises and light, and keep to a consistent sleeping schedule.” All of these steps will help your sleep, and by extension your health, improve accordingly.
Take breaks at work.
Sitting still on the computer for extended periods of time can wreak havoc on both mental and physical health. “To interrupt the mundane and ward of stiffness, take at least 2-3 minutes every hour to stand and stretch your neck, back, wrists and other areas which may be under stress while working,” says Bacharach.
Take advantage of the weather.
“Keeping to a healthy exercise routine is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. However, in the spring and summer, it’s important to try to work out outside if possible,” Bacharach explains. “The gym, while efficiently set up, cannot offer the same endorphin boost one would experience when working out, or simply running, outside.” As the weather warms up, promote both your mental and physical health by exercising outside when possible—getting sunlight and fresh air is a huge benefit to the body’s immune system as it becomes a natural source of vitamin D, which helps ward off anxiety and depression.
Practice daily gratitude.
“One of the best practices you can implement right now is one of gratitude,” explains Jennifer Garman, IWLC and author of Flourish: 7 Ways Gratitude Can Transform Your Life . “It’s been scientifically proven to increase happiness and connection to others, both of which are critically concerning in this pandemic.”
According to Garman, an easy way to do this is bringing to mind a few things you are grateful for right when you wake in the morning, and as you are falling asleep at night. “Keeping a notebook by your bed is a good visual reminder to do so,” she adds.