With September being Self-Care Awareness Month, it is an important reminder to make your mental and emotional health a priority. Often, we don’t set aside enough time to take care of ourselves and some people may even feel guilty for doing so, especially if they regularly place the needs of others before their own. Just remember that putting yourself first sometimes is not only okay, it’s healthy and it actually helps us be better friends, family members, and colleagues for the people around us in the long run.
This year alone has brought about so much uncertainty and with everything happening around the world right now, it’s easy to feel anxious or burnt out by the relentless stream of news updates on top of adjusting to our new normal. In honor of Self-Care Awareness Month, let’s be intentional about the ways we take care of ourselves whether it’s a big act of self-love or small acts that collectively make you feel good about yourself. Here are a few easy tips to get started.
1) Take a break to reflect
Get into the habit of slowing down and checking in with yourself daily. A simple way to do so is to start with how you feel physically. Our bodies constantly give off signals when it needs rest or attention, so listen to what it’s trying to tell you whether that’s a yoga session, a relaxing bath, or a visit to the doctor.
When it comes to personal needs and desires, we can better identify them by asking questions like:
- How am I feeling at the present moment?
- What small task can I accomplish today that would make me happy?
- What things am I ready to welcome into my life?
- What things am I ready to let go?
- Are there any habits or relationships that no longer serve me?
- What am I grateful for today?
Meditating on what we want from life and being honest about our needs can provide a clear vision of who we are and what actions we need to take to fulfill those needs.
2) Allow yourself to feel joy
The simple act of being joyful has the power to boost your immune system and reduce stress, but sometimes happiness seems easier said than done. The key is to create pockets of joy for yourself.
It’s true what they say: the little things in life add up, so if you want to feel happy more often, try doing little things throughout the day that boost your mood, such as jamming along to your favorite song, shopping online for a new work-from-home outfit, or letting yourself have a sweet treat without any guilt.
3) Reward your accomplishments
Rewarding yourself regularly not only makes day-to-day activities more bearable, but it’s an effective motivator that pushes you into finishing what needs to be done through positive reinforcement. If you nailed an important exam, wrapped up a big project at work, or made strides towards a personal goal, you should celebrate accordingly.
Why not take the night off from cooking and treat yourself to a special meal instead? Although Oahu’s current stay-at-home order has restricted our ability to dine-in at restaurants for the next couple of weeks, many eateries—including Waikiki Beach Walk’s Taormina Sicilian Cuisine
, which offers 15% off for kama'aina—have switched to takeout and delivery so that you can enjoy gourmet-level dishes even from the comfort of your home.
Another idea is to plan a spa day once businesses are allowed to reopen. After spending so much time at home, a fresh manicure and pedicure or waxing service will have you looking and feeling brand new.
4) Get physical
Exercising regularly is just as good for your mental wellbeing as it is for your physical health and you don’t have to launch into a long, high-intensity workout to reap the benefits. From a casual stroll around the block to hitting the water for your favorite ocean activity, being active is a proven way to keep your spirits (and your heart rate) up.
Figure out a routine that works best for your lifestyle or fitness goals and set aside at least 30 minutes to get your body moving. If you don’t have a whole 30-minute chunk to dedicate, break it up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions instead.
5) Get enough sleep
We’ve done it every day for our entire lives, yet a good night’s rest is one of those things that many people struggle with. When our schedules get extra busy, sleep is the first thing a lot of us forgo in order to keep up with the demands of life. The problem with not getting enough sleep is that it has a huge impact on our cognitive functions and physical health—whether you feel them or not.
As we spend more time at home, now may be a good opportunity to work on developing healthy sleep habits like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, coming up with relaxing rituals to help you wind down, limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption before bed, and unplugging from your digital devices.
Rebooting your sleep schedule will help you think more clearly, perform your duties better, and feel more refreshed overall.