Between navigating work from home spaces and adjusting to the new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic has given most people several reasons to be stressed, anxious, and even depressed.
With all that everyone has been dealing with since the pandemic started, there is no doubt self-care has never been more important.
The benefits of tuning into your body, taking care of it, and nourishing it accordingly are profound.
Research suggests that the more you practice and incorporate self-care in your daily life, the more creative, confident, and productive we can become.
Even better, the more you take care of your physical and mental health, the more you make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and experience joy.
There is no single self-care routine that will work for everyone.
If anything, mental health and wellness is all about whatever can make you more relaxed and happier.
For some people, it can mean watching a funny movie while taking a bubble bath.
For others, it can mean going for a walk or checking with an online therapist.
Top Self-Care Tips to Boost Mental and Physical Health
Start making yourself a priority by keeping in mind the following self-care tips:
1. Get a Gratitude Journal
Many studies have shown that practicing gratitude has many peerless benefits including optimizing cardiac health, reducing depression and anxiety, sharpening brain function and peace of mind.
Each day, make sure to set aside time to jot down a few things you are grateful for in your gratitude journal.
While a seemingly simple task, taking note of the things you are grateful for can dramatically change your life for the better.
2. Stop Hitting the Snooze Button
Many people hit the snooze button thinking it’s a gentler way to wake up.
On the contrary, it actually causes sleep disruption which leaves you more sleepy.
Rather than hitting the snooze button countless times before waking up each morning, set the alarm for when you actually want to get up.
Your body will then adjust and wake up at the time.
This will make you feel more energized and less lethargic during the day.
3. Open your Blinds and Let the Sun In
This is one important thing you need to incorporate in your morning routine.
This might not be common knowledge but even just 5 minutes of sunlight first thing in the morning can already boost your Vitamin D level.
More importantly, it can also significantly balance your cortisol or stress levels.
4. Get a Houseplant
Apart from keeping the air cleaner, exposure to plants has also been proven to help improve the mood.
How, you ask?
A 2015 study indicated that active interaction with house plants has been shown to suppress nervous system activity.
Not only that, it has also been known to reduce blood pressure which results in an overall sense of calm.
If you don’t have a green thumb, try an air plant or a succulent.
If you are feeling more advanced, consider getting Areca Palms or Peace Lilies.
5. Trade Your Coffee for Tea
Herbal tea will not only help you stay hydrated, the process of making and drinking one already creates a mini respite.
Whether you are trying chamomile or any of your favorite tea blends, the mere act of tasting a soothing cup of tea is enough to make the mind feel relaxed and calmer.
6. Get a Massage
Many studies show that a massage comes with so many amazing benefits.
Whether it’s provided by your significant other or from a masseuse, getting a massage has been known to relieve stiffness and pain, reduce anxiety, and depression.
Not only that, getting a massage has also been known to lower blood pressure and stress and increase circulation.
7. Read an Inspiration Story Each Morning
A recent study showed that 50 percent of Americans claim reading the news causes them stress.
Some even claim that reading or watching the news even leads to sleep loss.
Experts recommend trading watching the news to reading a positive book or listening to an inspirational, uplifting, and happy podcast.
8. Say “No”
Often, stress is caused by having too much to do but not having enough time to do it.
That said, it is advisable that you prioritize your to-do list, reduce your workload, and manage your time accordingly.
Avoiding stress also requires saying “no” to things that are not part of your priority list.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways you can politely say “no.”
9. Meditate for Five Minutes
Some research indicates that regular meditation can undo the damaging effects of stress.
It also helps calm the part of the brain that is responsible for the fight or flight response.
Set aside at least five minutes for meditation.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Release any tension that your body is holding on to.
If your mind begins to wander, be gentle with yourself.
Simply bring yourself back to the awareness of your breath.
10. Exercise Regularly
Getting your heart rate up can help increase the happy hormones (dopamine, serotonin, etc.) thereby improving your pleasure and mood and reducing pain.
Contrary to popular belief, exercising does not require spending countless hours in the gym, six times a week.
Thankfully, even something as simple as exercising three to four days each week can already do wonders.
And you don’t have to go to the gym either.
There is no shortage of exercise options available at your disposal.
You can walk briskly, go for a jog, take an online yoga class or do a quick circuit routine, whichever feels right for you.
All of it counts.
11. Spend 10 Minutes a Day to Declutter
Research shows that clutter can increase the cortisol levels, the stress hormone that causes a lot of illnesses.
Not only that, clutter and stress will not only dramatically reduce your focus and creativity, it can also make you more sensitive to pain.
It is not your imagination that you feel more relaxed in an environment that is clutter-free.
That said, set aside at least 10 minutes of your day to declutter.
Investing those 10 minutes can go a long way towards ensuring you stay focused and stress-free.
Over to You
There are countless ways to boost your mental and physical health. Start with the tips laid out above and take it from there. As you go along, you will find other ways that will work best for you.