Self-care, it’s not a myth!

It’s the middle of January. The holidays are over. We’ve stopped saying “Happy New Year.” We’re all back in the swing of things at work, continuing on with our daily lives. And so in this downtime, I want to remind everyone to take care of yourself.

“Wellness” and “Self-care” are trendy terms nowadays. Maybe they don’t come up quite as often in the “adult world”, but as a millennial, I hear these words all the time. Sometimes, I let them go in one ear and out the other, but then I remember their importance.

Self-care doesn’t just mean seeing a therapist. It isn’t a plug for meditation or spirituality. It’s a word we use to remind each other to be whole people. Sure, work is important and we should all dedicate ourselves to it when we’re in the office and when we’re accountable for our duties. But your personal life is equally important. Think about what it is that you can do for yourself each month, each week, maybe each day to put a smile on your face. Here are a few ways that you can take care of yourself this January (and beyond!).

Do something that makes you happy

For me, it’s my coffee in the morning and my chocolate at night. It’s going for a run and not thinking about all of the other responsibilities that I have, and instead just enjoying my music and the outdoors. It might look different for you. Maybe it’s putting aside an hour each week to watch your favorite TV show. Or you could be someone that gets energy from trying out a new recipe or treating yourself to dinner at that new restaurant that opened up on the corner. Think about it, write it down, and set a date for yourself to make it happen.

Sleep!

Develop routines for yourself. Research shows that going to sleep at the same time every night makes it easier to fall asleep and makes you sleep better. Think about the benefits of maintaining a sleep schedule and consider how you might hold yourself to that. This is a particularly difficult problem for shift workers whose jobs get in the way of this structure, and are 2-5x more likely to fall asleep on the job than those with “normal work hours.” If you notice you’re having trouble sleeping, consider exercising. Doing activities during the day which tire your body will help you to sleep at night. Some other pro-tips: give yourself at least 5 hours between your last caffeinated drink and your bedtime. And finally, try not to eat too big a meal before bed. It makes it hard for your body to wind down.

Be healthy but don’t be crazy

It’s always good to think about what you put in your body and to try to eat fairly healthy (fruits, veggies, you know the deal). You should also do your best to keep active. But always remember balance. Nobody is telling you to give up sugar or to run a marathon. Listen to your body and do what makes you feel energized.

Surround yourself with people you love

It’s a sure way to create happy memories.

We all need balance in our life and a break from the stresses of living. Take a moment to reflect on two things that you can do to reduce your personal stress and make yourself happy. If you need some help brainstorming, my advice is to start with cupcakes!

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