In 2011, the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that 6.6% of Americans age 25+ exercised self-care every day. Self-care was disproportionately reported in less healthy populations.
Do you let your self-care fall to the wayside unless you're sick? Self-care may be mandatory if you become ill, but it can also help you be happier every single day. Self-care can even boost your health and help you become ill less often.
Today, we'll explore our top five simple ways to practice self-care every single day. Take these as a way to jumpstart your dedication to a healthier, happier mind and body.
1. Gratitude Journaling
Are you a fan of schedules and planning? Bullet journals and online planners can greatly increase productivity. But did you know that writing down your thoughts can help your health?
Two studies in the Journal of Research in Personality found that individuals practicing gratitude had lower levels of stress. They also had lower levels of depression and felt more supported socially.
So how can you take advantage of practicing gratitude in a conscious, consistent way? Gratitude journaling can be a perfect solution. By writing down what you are grateful for a few times a day, you can shift to a positive mindset.
Try to reflect on different areas of your life. What are you grateful for at your job? Maybe you have too much work to do. But what skills are you learning because of all the work? Write down what skills or connections your job is gifting you that you are grateful for.
If you are still struggling to come up with things to write and reflect on, consider more basic things around you. Maybe you're grateful for your favorite shirt or for nice weather. Maybe you're grateful for the rain that will ensure your plants grow. Go simple and remember that expressing gratitude is the ultimate goal, not finding large abstract things to write about.
You can use any journal for gratitude journaling. However, you may find a journal dedicated to gratitude better for consistency. Our pocket-sized gratitude journal could be your perfect partner-in-crime.
2. Self-Care in Art
Have you ever created something and felt proud afterward? Even if you are not interested in art, creating something physical and new can better your mood.
In 2014 research found that individuals who produced art had increased "psychological resilience" and ability to introspect and remember. Producing art can help you better cope with life changes and challenging thoughts.
Additionally, introspection can help you grow as a person and define areas in your life you want to focus on. Having a stronger memory can help you remember your friend's birthday and even help you stay independent in old age.
You don't have to be a practiced artist to reap the benefits of creating art! Pick up some paper and markers and try doodling your favorite animal. You can even explore digital art with free online art games or tools. Exercise your creative brain, and you'll find yourself happier and healthier for years to come.
3. Think Positively Around Food
Eating foods that bring energy to do the things you love and enjoy is a necessity each and every day. Practice being conscious of when you are feeling hungry and when you need to eat. Appreciate the foods you enjoy and put into your body, and think positively about what food does for you.
Try repeating the following phrases in your head. "This food allows me to have energy." "My body deserves to have food." "I am grateful to be able to eat today." Practicing these self-mantras can be a wonderful first step to building a positive relationship with food. Repeat these positive thoughts enough, and you'll find yourself looking forward to snack and meal times for the enjoyment of food and the promised act of self-kindness to your body as well!
4. Simple Exercise for Self-Care
Exercise can increase serotonin in the brain and have antidepressant effects, according to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience in 2007. We all know that exercise is good for us. But that doesn't mean making ourselves exercise is easy!
For our fourth simple way to practice self-care every day, try redefining what exercise means to you. You don't have to run 10 miles or even do 10 pushups to exercise. What about walking your dog or doing a few yoga poses? Consider walking to your mailbox or taking a flight of stairs.
Don't forget that stretching can be a vital form of exercise as well. Every little movement can not only help your stamina and muscle strength but also better your mood each and every day.
5. Taking Purposeful Breaks
There's nothing worse than burnout. When was the last time you took a break before you burned out? The worst break is one taken when you are at the end of your fuse.
Instead of waiting until work gets super stressful to take a break, plan when your breaks will be and look forward to them throughout the day.
Work in spurts. Depending on what feels most productive and natural to you, try working for an hour and then taking a 15-minute break. Increase or decrease your work and rest time until you feel most motivated throughout the day.
Not only will this help you stay motivated in your work and stay on-task, but this will also help trick your brain into looking forward to breaks instead of dreading a long workday.
Prioritizing Self-Care Every Day
You know that self-care is important. But sometimes, it's easiest to put yourself last. This seems like a good idea when so many other things need to be done. You need to work, clean the house, prepare food... there's always more to do!
But this doesn't mean your body and mind don't need attention. With our five simple ways to practice self-care, we know you can take a step toward a healthier and happier mind and soul daily.
Ready to start? Tackle some gratitude journaling and explore our self-care gift packs today. We deserve gifts from ourselves, too.