Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, let’s not forget to keep loving and caring for others, especially ourselves. We tend to get caught up in the infamous grind and the “no sleep” mantra, we neglect ourselves and become worn physically, mentally and spiritually. How can we be our best selves and serve others if we have nothing left in our cups? If you are like most of us, who live for the grind, here are some ways you can restore your mind, body and spirit:
Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes a day. This can be broken up in 10-minute increments, 3 times a day, or twice a day for 15 minutes each. Exercise reduces stress hormones, and releases endorphins, which are the brain’s “happy chemicals.” The release of stress hormones can lead to weight gain as well as chronic disease. According to one study, exercise acts as a “natural painkiller”, improves sleep, as well as eases anxiety and depression. So, take a yoga class, go for a walk, clean the house, take the stairs, and/or get a massage. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Meditate: Upon rising, take a minimum of 5 minutes to meditate. Having that few minutes of calm will have a positive effect on your day. Don’t know how to meditate? Apps such as Calm and Headspace are great for beginners. Also, if you are in the Washington, DC area, The Meditation Museum offers free meditation classes and workshops.
Get Organized: Being unorganized triggers anxiety and negatively impacts your health. Some studies have concluded being unorganized can lead to cognitive damage such as memory loss. Take one day out of the week to plan your tasks and stick to it. Set realistic goals by tackling one thing at a time. Get help! There are tons of resources to help organize your life, including apps that you can download to keep you on track.
Practice Gratitude: Be thankful!! The fact you are alive is a blessing. Start and end your day recognizing something you are thankful for. Practice this for one week, and you will definitely have a mental shift. Remember, when things get tough, just think it could be worse. This personally has helped me to put things in perspective and has calmed me down whenever I have felt anxious and overwhelmed. Some of the most successful people I know swear by this practice.
Eat a Balanced Diet: Unhealthy foods, such as refined sugar, excess sodium, and unhealthy fats, can alter our moods and act as “downers”. Experts suggest, eating a healthy balanced diet reduces stress hormones, improves mood through the release of endorphins (happy brain chemicals), and keeps you focused (bye, bye brain fog). Learn more about stress-reducing foods here. I highly recommend talking to your doctor and/or nutritionist to work with you on a meal and lifestyle plan.
Unplug: Choose a day or a portion of the day where you do absolutely nothing! If you cant afford to miss a day at least take one hour to yourself and unplug; no phone, computer, social media.....Some of your best ideas come when you are still.