I have become a HUGE advocate of mental and emotional health. The effect stress has on our bodies is mind boggling! I don’t just mean mental stress either, I’m talking about any kind of stress our body endures. It could be a bad day at work, frustrations with our weight, or family/relationship issues. It could also be the food we are eating that puts internal stress on our bodies, or, simply, a lack of sleep. There are TONS of reasons our bodies experience stress.
As I’ve been embarking on my own journey to better my health, I have dedicated myself to taking care of my stress levels by showing myself some much-needed self-love at least twice a day. Here are just a few things I do to manage a life full of demands:
1. Words of Affirmation
Each morning during my routine, I am always sure to take some time to look myself in the mirror and give myself a compliment, or just say something positive to myself.
“You’re going to have an amazing day!”
“Dang girl, you got it going on!”
“Remember how far you’ve come, you’re a total bad ass! You got this!”
When I first started doing this, I felt a little silly, and I didn’t really believe myself. Until one day, after making a conscious, and consistent, effort, I noticed how much I needed to hear those words every morning. I just felt better!
We spend so much time tearing ourselves down. My mom always told me I was my harshest critic and she’s completely right. Negative self-talk never did anyone any good! Be kind to yourself, embrace your imperfections, and realize the endless potential you have. You wouldn’t say those kinds of nasty things to your best friend, so don’t say them to yourself!
2. Treat Yo’ Self
Each month, I find something I want to do just for me! I’ll take myself to a movie on $5 Tuesday, take myself to sushi (keto approved, of course), go on a hike, get a massage, or I’ll even let myself have a planned cheat meal.
I think this is crucial.
It’s so important you take some time to reward yourself and disconnect from all the hustle and bustle around you. I have become very comfortable enjoying some alone time. I don’t get on social media, and I just enjoy myself and my thoughts.
I know it seems silly, but I challenge you to try it. I think you will be surprised by how much you come to like it. Find something you enjoy doing alone, and embrace the time to evaluate where you are in your own space.
3. Social Media Fast
I love social media. I know I’m addicted to it. I love it so much I’ve made a career out of it. BUT! It does not mean I don’t need to take a break every once and awhile. Actually, I think it’s vital I take the occasional time away from my personal accounts.
I feel like I’m always reading a new article about how excessive use can cause depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, etc. Honestly, I believe it. We’ve seen insane spikes in depression and anxiety in teenagers over the past few years, and I think some of it can be attributed to heavy social media usage.
That being said, I make a conscious effort to turn off my notifications and abstain from getting on any of my personal social media profiles for four consecutive days each month! I know it may seem a little extreme, but my goal is to eventually get to a seven day fast!
If you don’t think you can do it, I would start small. Take one day a month where you don’t even touch your Instagram account. I know you can do it! I’ve seen a huge difference in the usage of my time when I am “fasting”. I find myself doing more productive things to fill my time.
4. Get Moving
I doesn’t really matter what your relationship is with the gym, I want you to find some way to move your body in a way that brings you joy. Go for a walk, get out in the garden, play fetch with your dog, ride your bike, ANYTHING. Get out and get moving three days out of your week. I promise your body will thank you and so will your mind.
One of my favorite things to do when I’ve had a bad day is to go outside, walk along the trail behind my house, and listen to some great music. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but physical activity doesn’t have to be painful! Find something you enjoy and use it to detox.
5. Give Back
This last one is interesting. I have found by giving and serving others in my community, I have a greater love and appreciation for myself as well. Doing service for another person makes me feel SO GOOD! Sometimes it is even as simple as purchasing the coffee of the person behind me in the line at Starbucks.
Knowing I did something to brighten someone else’s day brings me joy. If you want to go serve at a local food kitchen or attend a community service event, go for it! My point is…giving to others doesn’t have to be a giant commitment. As great as it is to evaluate where you are in your own head space, it’s also important you don’t forget about the people around you. It is about balance, yin and yang. Only by striving to achieve balance in these two areas, will we find a true love and appreciation for ourselves.
These are things I do for myself. I can tell you I’ve seen a HUGE difference. I sleep better and I wake up happy, ready to start my day. I feel motivated, I feel sociable, I laugh more, my confidence has exploded, and I now believe myself when I say things like “I am amazing!”, “I am beautiful!”, and “I can do this!”
I hope you will be able to try these things and find a way to show yourself some much-needed love. What do you do that makes you feel loved? I’d love to hear from you!