How to Take Care of Yourself: 12 Easy Steps To Keep You Healthy
How do you take care of yourself? After a long day at work, you might want to relax and let all your responsibilities go. But this makes it hard to tackle other aspects of your life that need attention. This guide will help you take care of yourself in a way that feels good and doesn't leave you feeling guilty or overwhelmed. You'll learn how to set boundaries and implement healthy habits without feeling too stressed out about it. And don't worry - these twelve steps are easy!
When you feel like you’re overextending yourself, set boundaries and take time to decompress.
1. Set the Right Priorities
The first step is figuring out what it is you need to do to feel good and confident about yourself. Then get realistic about how much time you have to do it. For example, if you’re eating fast food because you’re too exhausted to cook, you shouldn’t cut out fast food. You can't put off your health, so you should eat healthy, even if that means having fast food once a week.
2. Prepare Your Nightly Schedule
Write out a clear list of all the tasks you need to complete every day for the next week. Set deadlines to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. Set a reminder for each task so you know what time you have to complete it.
Define your goals
Your health and well-being are about so much more than just your diet and exercise routine. They are a reflection of your lifestyle and the way you live your life. Your goals should reflect what you want to achieve and help you work towards achieving them.
If your goal is to get into better shape, your nutrition and exercise routine may seem unimportant. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Healthy habits are good habits and they don’t come overnight. If you want to create a healthy lifestyle you need to commit to it. There will be times that you might want to deviate from your plan, but you need to come back to it and build from there. Achieving your goals will help you with your self-esteem.
Give yourself permission to rest
"Rest is good, rest is healing, rest will make you strong and let your body renew itself." - Jane Fonda
Your body knows that it needs a break. So give it one - go to bed early, skip social media, do whatever you can to make sure that you feel rested. It will help to give your body a chance to re-set, so it can start doing what it needs to. Take care of your needs. Rest.
"Water is the best liquid for good health. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to maintain and improve your health. It hydrates and flushes toxins from the body. It helps to control weight and blood pressure and flushes toxins from the body." – The Harnish Guidelines
There's not a lot of magic here, just a straightforward reminder to drink water.
Honor your emotions, and don't attach shame to them
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you have nothing left to give? For some people, this is a normal and healthy response. But others struggle to come to terms with their emotions, feeling like there is something wrong with them if they have no energy left over. It can be hard for people to admit to feeling tired, overwhelmed, angry, sad, frustrated, or any of the other emotions that can affect your daily life. And that's not the only thing.
For example, women who can't get pregnant often don't allow themselves to feel relieved when it finally happens. They feel guilty for having so much fun and not feeling ready to start a family.
Practice self-compassion and self-acceptance
If you're like many people, you suffer from a mental illness or a painful situation that makes you feel extremely distressed. You can either try to push yourself to be more resilient or simply give up. But to not only be happy, but also have the energy to take care of other responsibilities, you need to practice self-compassion. Self-compassion is a form of self-love that encourages you to be patient and accepting of yourself. Just like loving yourself helps you become a healthier person, a healthy attitude towards your illness or pain gives you the necessary space to be kind and empathetic towards yourself.
Know that being healthy is not a short-term project
I once heard someone say that "healthy" is a four-letter word. It might be a bit harsh, but it's hard not to relate.
Find the joy in life, even in hard times
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of life, so we start to forget the bigger picture. It can be easy to miss that our lives are a wonderful gift and should be enjoyed at every opportunity. When you’re having a tough time, it can be tempting to treat yourself to all the junk food and busy yourself up with work and other activities. But you need to put a stop to this. Treat yourself to a healthy meal, book a massage or take a long, soothing bath. We often tend to neglect ourselves, but this will make you a happier and healthier person. Taking care of yourself is a way to say you value your life and aren’t afraid to spend time doing things that make you feel good.
Create a sense of safety and belonging for yourself
When you don’t have a sense of belonging and are unhappy, it is hard to think about other people and their needs, too. This is why it's important to have a strong support system and do something every day to help yourself feel safe and part of a group.
This could be as simple as spending time with people who make you feel good. It could be as simple as calling your parents just to chat. It could be as big as finding a new hobby that you can share with a group of people. Find out what makes you happy, and take time out of every day to do it.
Make small steps
When you’re faced with a big challenge, it’s easy to make a big step in the wrong direction. But one thing you’re probably bad at is making small steps.
Seek help from supportive people
You'll learn how to be more assertive with others, and to receive help from those you care about. Having good relationships is important, and getting help from others can help you both. If you feel like your friends and family don't support you enough, take a step back and reassess who your people are.
Be aware of triggers
Everyone's situation is different. Some people experience triggers for anxiety from a variety of different things, but others only experience them from certain situations. If you find yourself struggling to deal with certain topics, you should take the time to figure out what they are. Don't bottle everything up and go through life without being aware of what it is that makes you uncomfortable. Doing so will only make your stress and anxiety worse.
Build a support network of friends and family
Many people reach their goals without help. And you don’t have to be alone when you get there. There are plenty of other people that are experiencing what you’re experiencing, and who are eager to help. For the ultimate all-stars, create an accountability circle that includes those closest to you - family members, friends, coworkers, mentors, or workout buddies. Since they can see what you’re up to and how it’s making you feel, you’ll be more likely to stay on track. But not everyone wants the support of others. In that case, you might want to find something you can do on your own, such as get a good night’s sleep, meditate, or exercise.
Practice mindfulness (meditation) to de-stress and be present in your life
- Take the time to recharge (really get away from work)
- Re-evaluate your lifestyle
- Think of a self-care routine that works for you
- Make an action plan that will get you started on taking care of yourself
Define boundaries with toxic people
A lot of people don’t know how to set boundaries with toxic people. They’re mean, unfriendly, and don’t give a damn about your feelings. Unfortunately, toxic people can show up anywhere, like in your family, your workplace, and your neighborhood. This isn't the kind of situation where you can drop out and escape it - not without risking your job or other commitments.
If you've never been around a toxic person, you’re probably wondering what these people are all about. Here’s an analogy: imagine going on vacation with your dysfunctional family for the first time. It’s not going to be the greatest experience, right? You’ll probably feel tense and anxious. But at least you won’t have to deal with them in the midst of your trip, like you would at home.
Take less responsabilities
For many people, taking care of themselves means being available 24/7. You're on call for calls from your family, for an overdue e-mail response, and for a potential business deal. Sure, this is how it should be, but many people find it exhausting and become frazzled when they find that their time is taken up by meaningless tasks, like responding to the latest round of parental complaints. They end up being drained and useless at home, as well as at work. One of the most effective ways to take care of yourself is to keep a rigid schedule of non-negotiable activities. In fact, you should designate some of the most important areas of your life (such as work, spending time with your family, exercising, cooking) as non-negotiable.