Updated: Aug 31
August is National Wellness Month! This is a perfect time to focus on self-care, which can help alleviate stress and improve overall mental and physical health. Oftentimes, when people think of self-care, fancy spas and weekend getaways come to mind. While those things are great, we must be mindful that self-care looks different for everyone, and we also need different types of self-care based on our individual needs at the time.
Establishing a basic self-care routine is often the best way to start. You can easily incorporate other activities, as you see fit, but having a routine that is easy to incorporate into your daily life will make you more likely to complete it, even when time management is an issue. I recommend starting with small changes, then adding more self-care activities to your routine when you’re able. Here are a few suggestions:
Increase your water intake.
Add more fruits and veggies to your meals.
Monitor your sleep hygiene.
Strive to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day; even on the weekends.
Join a fitness class or make a commitment to work out with an exercise buddy to increase accountability.
Increase mindfulness throughout the day.
Mindfulness is simply taking a moment to be aware of your surroundings while acknowledging your bodily sensations and feelings, and it’s fairly easy to incorporate into your daily routine! Mindfulness is beneficial for your mind and body, as the practice helps to lower blood pressure, improves sleep, reduces feelings of anxiety and relieves stress. Check out the following ideas for starting your mindfulness practice:
Practice mindfulness while eating. Instead of watching TV or scrolling on social media during your next meal, try to remove distractions from the area. Slow down and be mindful of your breathing while focusing on your meal—the colors, the textures, the taste.
Take a mindfulness walk. Nature is full of opportunities to use your senses. Gently strolling through the park or even the city street can present wonderful smells and interesting sites to focus on.
Be mindful anywhere! Whether you are in a cozy spot in your home, in your office or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, you can take a moment to breathe deeply, draw awareness to your surroundings and acknowledge your bodily sensations.
Starting a mindfulness practice can be a little intimidating at first since many of us are always on the go. Be sure to set a short time limit when you start—approximately 5 to 10 minutes—then increase as you get more comfortable with your practice. If you notice your mind wandering, simply draw your attention back to your senses and focus on your breathing.