You don’t need to spend big bucks at a spa to make an investment in self-care. Indeed, many aspects of an effective self-care routine require little more than time and a commitment to your own well-being.
However, self-care strategies aren’t just another thing to add to your crowded to-do list. Many can be incorporated into your schedule seamlessly, and others will refresh and replenish you in ways that give you more motivation and energy to take on everyday tasks. Here are some suggestions for creating a balanced self-care routine that addresses your mind, body, and spirit.
Getting the right amount of sleep is one way to shore up your self-care routine without spending a dime. It also benefits both body and mind. For instance, people who regularly get fewer than six hours sleep a night are significantly more likely to have an above-average body mass index — which indicates their weight is out of proportion to their height — than those who get more sleep. And it doesn’t take a pattern of poor sleep habits to see the negative effects of too little rest.
According to information from Amherst College, just one or two nights of shoddy shuteye can lead to increased irritability, fatigue, and lower levels motivation and optimism.
On the plus side, sufficient sleep (between seven and nine hours a night for most adults ages 26 to 64) and consistent sleep patterns boost brain power, memory, and athletic performance. Studies also show the right amount of sleep can help stymie health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease, and lead to a longer life. If your so-called “sleep hygiene” could use some maintenance.
Amherst suggests limiting the use of electronics before bed, cutting out caffeine consumption at night, and maintaining consistent routines around when you go to bed and wake up.
Wake Up Refreshed
In the morning, that routine might include morning meditation, a yoga session, or some exercise to get your body and brain revved up for the day. And you don’t need to spend money on a membership at a gym or classes to get moving and meditating. In fact, you can set aside an underused room or a quiet corner as your home meditation space and yoga studio.
Just make sure you have somewhere to store your yoga mat and other gear during meditation sessions so you can focus on your breathing without any visual distractions.
Similarly, you should keep your walking or running shoes and any other workout gear away from your meditation space to minimize mental and physical clutter. Instead, why not stash comfy shoes near your door, in your car, and at your workplace? That way, you can fit in short walks throughout your day, which will help promote more sound sleep.
Relax and Wind Down
In the evening, try turning off television and tablets in favor of relaxing hobbies, especially as bedtime approaches. For example, research shows coloring can reduce anxiety, improve focus, and help hobbyists be more mindful of the present moment, according to CNN. That’s because complex coloring patterns force people to concentrate on precise movements required to complete a colorful image, just as meditation encourages a singular focus on breathing. These types of mindfulness activities can create a state experts refer to as flow, helping people push aside anxiety and negative thinking.
So, to maximize coloring’s stress-busting benefits, be sure to choose elaborate designs, such as mandalas, rather than just doodling.
There are also studies supporting knitting as an alternative therapy for conditions, including chronic pain and panic attacks, among others. In fact, experts say knitting can lift crafters’ moods, reduce stress, and boost confidence, partially because mistakes can literally be unraveled, allowing knitters to try a task again. Knitting can also increase people’s opportunities for social interaction through clubs and classes made up of like-minded crafters, which can add another dimension to your self-care routine.
So try these tips to create a realistic routine for self-care that will keep you going physically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout the day.
About the Author
Nora Hood is a freelance writer and creator of ThreeDaily.org. She considers domestic violence to be a form of domestic terrorism. She became a passionate advocate for ending domestic violence when she began volunteering at a women’s shelter while in college. She has continued her volunteer work over the years and recently started ThreeDaily.org to raise awareness about the issue while also creating a nationwide activist network of individuals who want to bring an end to domestic violence. The site fosters a community for those seeking information about, writing about, and speaking out about domestic violence.
This lady certainly has a great self care routine in our opinion!!