By practicing self-care, you’ll be healthier and more productive. Here are some self-care ideas that won’t cost a penny.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of life, but it’s important to make time for yourself through self-care. Physically and mentally, you need to relax your mind. By taking a little time each day to de-stress, you can relieve your body of that tension and feel better overall. By practicing self-care, you’ll be healthier and more productive.
Here are some ways to practice self-care that don’t cost a penny.
Get an Extra Hour of Sleep
Most people underestimate the effect too little sleep has on the mind and body. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and also harms mental health. Getting an extra hour of sleep every night can be beneficial for your health and wellbeing, since it will help curb your stress level. A lower stress level can give you more energy and improve how happy and productive you are.
Here’s another tip. Before you drift off to sleep, practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude is easy. Start by writing down three things you are grateful for on a piece of paper every night before you go to bed, then read it over and over again as you drift off to sleep. This is not only beneficial for your mental health but also for your physical health.
Take 5-Minute Meditation Breaks
If you’re like most people, your to-do list has grown to epic proportions. After a long day of work and home life, the last thing you have time for is another task — especially one that takes time. But meditation is about more than just stress reduction. It’s about creating a quiet space for yourself in a day full of noise and demands.
Meditation is not about emptying your mind or trying not to think about anything. It’s about being aware of what’s going on inside you and around you at this moment. It helps you focus on the present moment and relax by accepting the way things are at this moment in time.
When you’re feeling stressed, try taking a five-minute break to meditate. Focusing on your breathing can reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure, both of which are helpful for stress relief. Just close your eyes and set a timer. When the timer goes off, you’ll be more relaxed and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Stretch as Soon as You Wake Up in the Morning
Take the time to stretch your muscles in the morning. This will help relax them, reduce stiffness, relieve tension, and help you wake up mentally. Studies have shown that stretching in the morning can reduce joint stiffness and improve your posture. Stretching helps awaken the body and prepare it for a day of activity. Plus, it feels good!
Get More Natural Light
Adding more natural light in your life can have a significant impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. Open the blinds and curtains during the day so you can see sunlight. Be aware that if you are in direct sunlight (during midday or early afternoon), you should wear sunglasses so your eyes don’t get damaged by the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Your skin can also get damaged through most types of windows, so make sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin to avoid premature wrinkles and increased cancer risk.
What if your area doesn’t get much sunlight in the winter? Use full-spectrum light bulbs at work or home. Full-spectrum light bulbs mimic natural daylight and provide an excellent alternative to standard incandescent lights. At night, turn off electronics that emit blue light such as cell phones, TVs, laptops, and tablets, at least an hour before bedtime. This allows melatonin levels in our bodies to rise naturally, which helps you fall asleep easier and have deeper sleep.
Focus on Your Breathing
Focusing on your breathing can help cope with stress and anxiety. Research shows that the body’s response to stress directly correlates with how we breathe. When we take in large gulps of air when stressed, it causes the body to release adrenaline, which makes us go into fight or flight mode. When you focus on calming your breathing and controlling it, your body responds by lowering its heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level–and you feel calmer, too. When you feel a bout of anxiety, sit down and take slow, controlled breaths through your nose, counting each inhale and exhale until you reach 10. Repeat the breathing exercise until your anxiety subsides, then return to whatever you were doing before the stress attack hit.
Take a Walk Outdoors Daily
Many people don’t realize how much stress they are under each day. It’s also important to make time for activities that reduce stress. One of the best ways to reduce stress is by taking a walk outdoors. Getting outside and getting some fresh air will help clear your mind and provide you with the much-needed time to relax. Walking is also a good way to support healthy weight management, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Plus, you get vitamin D exposure from sunlight.
Write in a Journal
Journaling can be a wonderful way to learn more about yourself, vent your feelings, and work through some of your problems. It can also help you make sense of things happening in your life. Writing in a journal can be a great way to express yourself and get things off your chest, and it can also be a great way to keep track of your progress toward your goals. Even if you’re just writing about random thoughts on your mind, journaling can help you feel more relaxed and focused.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to taking care of yourself, remember that your health should always be your top priority. Take time out of your busy schedule for self-care, and don’t let anything get in the way of it – not even if you have a huge deadline at work, have just received bad news from someone important, or find yourself faced with an emergency situation. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary… and it doesn’t’ have to be expensive.
“The Effects of Sleep Deprivation | Johns Hopkins Medicine.” hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-effects-of-sleep-deprivation.
“Why is Self-Care Important? – SNHU.” 14 Apr. 2020, snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care.
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