When you invest in yourself, your life changes for the better. It's one of the best returns on investment you'll ever make. It's an act of self-love, and it's never too late to start. While the current global situation may seem out of control, we always have a choice in how we react. With more time spent at home, there's no better time than NOW to kick start some healthy habits, and regain some sense of normalcy.
So, before Netflix takes over your schedule (we've all been there - hello week 1 and 2 of lockdown!), let's remember that a few minor tweaks to your daily routine are all you need to start investing in yourself.
Here are 5 easy self-care tips to help you adjust to the "new normal" while social distancing.
Improve your zzzing habits
We all know how crucial it is to get the recommended 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night. Yet statistics show that only 27% of Canadians manage the recommended weekday amount. Sleeping well is a foundation for good health and a happier life. It increases productivity, reduces stress levels, and helps you stay a healthy weight.
We found allotting 30-45 minutes to winding down before bedtime by limiting the use of electronics will help set the tone for a good night sleep. Switching those devices to airplane mode and setting screen displays to warmer tones after dark is another habit that will pay off in the long run. Setting your sleep schedule to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends strengthens your circadian rhythm. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble falling asleep, avoid consuming caffeine after 3 - 4 p.m. Allocating a few minutes to meditation right before bed should help you fall into a deep sleep quicker.
Rekindle the bookworm in you
While some of you may be avid book readers, there are many who struggle to find the time to read. Substituting mindless social-media browsing with reading, helps spark creativity and fosters imagination. It improves concentration, boosts critical thinking, lowers stress levels, and helps relax - especially before bedtime.
In the era of social distancing, it might not be the right time to do a digital detox, but it is important to distinguish screen time that is helpful and screen time that is harmful. At the moment, we don't have control over much but we can get offline, kick back on the couch, and allow ourselves to be transported to a fictional, non-coronavirus-related world.
Sweat it out
Working out is good for you, according to many scientific experts. But like most people, that's not enough motivation to get you to break a sweat. What if we told you that regular exercise led to a reduced risk of heart disease, better sleep patterns, a healthier sex life, controlled body weight, stronger bones and muscles, etc...The list of benefits goes on and on.
Today it is much easier to keep track of your progress, share results with your friends, and feel rewarded with the help of the internet, smartphones, and fitness apps that make it relatively affordable. Pick some new forms of exercise to make it fun or stick to something you can commit to daily, like walking or jogging in the park. We all have days when we just don’t feel like working out. One thing that worked for us, is to get dressed for a sports activity. This will trick your mind into following through with it. You will feel happier, energized, and relaxed!
Plan your meals
How many times have you gotten out of work after a long and strenuous day, skipped lunch, had to pick the kids up from daycare, or [insert some errand], and you've not had a chance to think about what to cook for dinner? Meal planning is your answer.
Planning your meals will save time and money, reduce unnecessary waste and stress. It helps you stay away from making food choices based on emotion or convenience. You'll make healthier choices.
Start by looking for seasonal food recipes, list all the family favorites, and create your menu. Get organized by filling in the meals on your digital or print calendar for each week. Screen your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before you make a grocery list. Pick a day to shop, prep, and batch your food. We promise your body and mind will thank you for it.
Reclaim your space
Unless you've been hiding in "a galaxy far, far away..." you've heard of the Marie Kondo method or how to achieve "calm" through the art of organization. It's human nature to collect and save possessions that bring back pleasant memories. According to the World Economic Forum, hoarding is also a normal and adaptive behavior that kicks in any time there is an uneven supply of resources - as we all witnessed recently.
Tackling the clutter may seem pretty daunting at first but the secret is to start small. Begin with workspaces, like your desk or kitchen top, gradually moving to the shelves and smaller storage units. Make it a habit to keep the kitchen sink clear, papers filed, worktops clear. Once you have gathered a steady momentum, move to the bigger spaces like closets and cabinets. Discard or purge your files, physical and digital, regularly. Decluttering your living space has so many therapeutic benefits; it lowers stress levels, improves your sleep, boosts productivity, and creativity. And a bonus, you'll probably find lost treasures!
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