Ladies, it isn’t easy being us. Trying to balance career, motherhood, friendships, taking care of elderly parents, let alone making time for a partner? It’s overwhelming. Women are natural caretakers, but often, taking care of ourselves falls last on the list.
Self-care is crucial to our well-being, but it’s not all massages and bubble baths. There are lots of small things we can do in our everyday routine to take care of ourselves. As a matter of fact, self-care is so important that we need to eat, sleep, and breathe it.
We all have good intentions when it comes to eating right (or so says the rotting spinach in my crisper). But in order to stay healthy, we need a plan, and it has to be a plan we can stick to.
- Meal plan: Keep a list of the healthy meals you enjoy. It always seems like we’ll remember them until we’re making the grocery list when inspiration suddenly leaves us. I keep my list on the side of my fridge- then I have my family consult it and choose their favorites as well, so I’m not making separate meals.
- Substitute healthier options: If you find yourself buying ice cream every time you’re out, grab a bar of dark chocolate and eat a square after dinner to satisfy that craving. If you’re a savory girl, instead of potato chips, grab a handful of nuts, full of healthy fats and protein.
- Hydrate: Eating right means getting enough water as well. The Mayo Clinic says the average woman needs about 11 and a half cups a day. Dehydration contributes to fatigue, dry skin, and headaches. Drink up! You can also get your H2O from food sources like cucumbers and watermelon.
This one seems like the easiest on the list and in reality, it should be simple to dream our way through self-care. But with all of the pressures and things we’ve got to get done, it’s not always easy to get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours per night. When we don’t get enough sleep we eat more, lack focus, and your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes goes up, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Sleep is important, so put it on your to-do list, and catch some Zzz’s.
Okay, this one encompasses a broad range. Exercise, meditation, and mindfulness are all important for self-care.
Exercise: Don’t groan. Moving our bodies is scientifically proven to make us healthier, and happier. But don’t do exercise that you don’t like. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Remember when you were a kid and there was something you loved to do? Even if you haven’t played volleyball since high school and you’re in your 40’s, try it out. Don’t care for yoga? Try Zumba. Does walking bore you? Maybe listen to an audiobook while you stroll. The point is, make it fun so you’ll want to do it.
Meditation: In this era when we are constantly connected, it is important to disconnect sometimes. Try making the first thirty minutes of your day screen-free. Let your mind go. If you aren’t comfortable with this, maybe start with some guided meditations through apps or the breathing tips here.
Mindfulness: Last but not least- live in the moment. Be present, try not thinking about what comes next, what you have to do at work tomorrow, or how you didn’t get everything done that you were supposed to. Enjoy the sound of your children’s laughter, the feel of the sun on your face, or the taste of that pasta.
Incorporate these self-care tips into your days now, so you can avoid problems later. Have fun with it, and make it part of your routine, a part that you enjoy. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.