How to Practice Self-Care Without Really Trying

We all get the same 24 hours every day, and seven days a week; there’s nothing anyone can do to change that. What’s within our control is how we spend those precious hours. So why not take some time to take care of yourself? As Susan Weiss Berry puts it, “With every act of self-care, your authentic self gets stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self-care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side, I am on my side, each day I am more and more on my own side.”

Check out these 5 life hacks to help you do just that: be more on your side.

1. Match your calendar to your priorities.

If your calendar only shows meetings or events that have nothing to do with what you claim are your priorities, then are you living according to your priorities?

Family, friends, happiness — these are things that give meaning to your life. So why are they taking a back seat on your calendar? Add date nights with your spouse, family game nights, and coffee dates with friends to your calendar. Heck, if health and fitness are a priority for you, schedule your workout sessions and meal preparations so you’ll have time to make healthy home-cooked meals. Over time, you’ll realize that more of your time and focus are spent doing things that align with your priorities.

2. Write before action.

Quick: take a moment and write down everything going through your mind right now. Notice how simply thinking about these things is enough to make you feel overwhelmed. You may even unconsciously end up giving more attention to the wrong things, which at the end of the day makes you feel more unfulfilled. This vicious cycle can continue day after day unless you find a way to unburden your mind from the weight of your mental to-do lists. Writing things down will do that for you. Sure, writing before action may seem trivial now or something meant for old people who tend to forget. But it’s a surefire way to turn chaos into order so when the time comes for you to access the information (think grocery lists, course outlines, and house chores), you’ll know where to look. This frees your mind to focus on thinking instead of constantly trying to remember things.

3. Give yourself a break.

It’s common for overachievers to push themselves beyond their limits. But there’s only so much your body, mind, and spirit can take. All that pushing will soon leave you exhausted, overextended, and ready to snap at any second. If you’re on a mission to improve your productivity and reduce stress, then giving yourself regular breaks may be a more practical approach.

Allow yourself a little extra sleep goes a long way in self care. Go to bed an hour earlier or sleep an extra twenty minutes. Try to go outside and surround yourself with nature. Feel the solid ground beneath your feet and be mindful of the present moment. Whenever you start thinking of things you should have done in the past, shift your focus to what’s within your control, what you can do right now. Practicing these simple tricks may just be what keeps you from ending up in a straitjacket or having to take blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

4. Take up a new hobby

After a long day at work, most of us just want to go home, maybe have a glass of something sparkly, and binge-watch a Netflix show as we scroll through our social media feeds. We want to “switch off our brain,” but research shows that this tactic doesn’t work for the long term. You’ll have better luck making yourself feel good and practicing self care if you focus your mind on active pastimes rather than trying to push down nagging thoughts with TV or similar passive activities. Hobbies can do that for you. They help create eustress, the healthy kind of stress that gets you excited about life. Those who often get overwhelmed at work may find a sense of control in their hobbies. It doesn’t even have to take much of your time; just 45 minutes stringing those guitar strings or playing chess with a friend may help you to not only disconnect from work but gain a different perspective.

5. Take better care of your teeth.

Though taking better care of your teeth and gums may not be the first thing that comes to mind, your oral health affects your productivity more than you think. Picture this: it’s Tuesday afternoon, you’re at your desk preparing for the four o’clock presentation, and you experience an unrelenting, unforgiving pain in your mouth. Could you really focus on creating charts or even analyze a sales report? No, you’re probably holding onto your jaw like your life depends on it. So why not go beyond the usual brushing and flossing when it comes to your teeth and give your oral health (and your smile) some much-needed extra protection?

Make your oral health a priority in your self care routine and add your dental checkups to your calendar. Write down any changes you’d like to make to your smile and share them with Dr. Harris at your next dental appointment. We are committed to helping you maintain your oral health and achieve the smile of your dreams.