We live in such a busy world that it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to focus on ourselves. Whether that’s something as basic as making sure we get enough sleep, or something a little more abstract like finding true fulfillment, the truth is we all deserve both of those things and pretty much everything in between.
If you want to take control of your life then you must start by realizing that self-care isn’t optional, it’s essential. Just as you’ve got to eat to survive, you’ve got to look after yourself to thrive. Here are some easy-to-follow tips that will help you make sure you squeeze the very most out of your life.
Eat Yourself Healthily
If you’re serious about achieving a healthy lifestyle then you need to start in the kitchen. The single most important thing that you can do for your body is to ensure it is properly nourished. You don’t have to quit junk food forever, never touch a drop of alcohol again, or begin every single day for the rest of your life with a green kale smoothie, but you do have to commit to making a few positive changes. The key to making changes to your diet is starting small and building things into a routine. Think about any bad eating habits that you currently have and one at a time, change them.
It might be that you always have a candy bar with your afternoon coffee, instead of swapping out the coffee for a glass of water and getting rid of the candy bar altogether, think of something a little more achievable. A lot of us have an energy slump in the afternoons and it’s important to address that. For the first month or two, keep your coffee and swap your candy bar for a banana, or a handful of nuts and dried fruit. You’ll get the caffeine you’re craving, as well as less refined sugar that will keep you fuller for longer and prevent a blood sugar crash.
Once the banana becomes second nature, think about swapping out the coffee for something a little healthier, a cup of green tea will still provide a caffeine boost, but it’ll also give you powerful antioxidants that your body will thank you for. Implement little changes like these on a monthly, or every other month basis until you’re achieving the basic nutrition goals of five portions of vegetables a day, seven cups of water, and a small high-calorie treat only infrequently.
Learn a New Skill
Now that your diet is out of the way, it’s time to start getting your brain ready for your new positive lifestyle. The brain is a muscle and just like all of the other muscles in our bodies it absolutely thrives on exercise. If we allow the brain to be dormant too long, then it becomes less effective, that’s why it’s really important that we give ourselves novel experiences. Think about the sorts of things you enjoy and make a list of some new experiences that you might like to try. A good place to start is with a new game that you might like to learn.
If picking up poker isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of other skills to consider. A lot of people claim that learning a language really boosted their brainpower. There’s also research that suggests learning a totally new language can stave off the early signs of dementia. Our brains use synapses to transfer information, but degenerative brain diseases fur up these synapses and stop them from working effectively. Learning new skills makes our brains form new synapses so that if we do lose some, we’ve got a whole load more to fall back on. Don’t feel selfish for taking half an hour or so out of your day to practice your new pursuit, it really is in your best interest.
Make Time for Sleep
Most of us will admit to having had a bad night’s sleep in the past week and whilst it’s understandable, it’s also totally avoidable. Getting a good night’s sleep is the very best thing we can do for our mental well-being and there are some simple tips that will give you the best chance possible at achieving it. The first is to turn off screens for at least an hour before bed.
The blue light emitted from screens plays havoc with our circadian rhythms, fooling us into thinking it’s daylight outside when in actuality, it isn’t. If you often lay awake at night thinking about issues you have, then keep a notebook by the bed and jot them down. Allow yourself one hour per week to address these problems and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you are at solving them.