Self-care is one of the most important things that can help a person’s daily life, but it’s often hard to decipher how to maintain it.. It’s so simple but so hard to do during our busy lives. The three easiest self-care habits that I practice are extremely simple but can make a big difference. Firstly, drink water and stay hydrated. Always keep a water bottle near you, but not a big one, and take sips every so often. I am a very busy gal. I can spend upwards of 14 hours in front of my laptop cramming for finals or playing games or just watching shows. I forget to eat, sleep, and drink. Staying hydrated is the one simple way I can remind myself to take care of my body. And more importantly, when I run out of it or I have to use the bathroom, it’ll make me actually get off my seat, walk around, stretch, and see my horrid reflection in the bathroom mirror, causing me to realize it’s 4 AM and I should sleep.
Speaking of walking around, the next self-care habit is stretching. Like I mentioned above, I stay in one place for a long time. During the pandemic, people are limited in movements due to online work or other restrictions impeding them to go outside. Stretching is a quick and easy way to help your body out. Most people think they don’t need to stretch very often. After hearing their bones crack after one stretch and realize they are not in good shape. During this pandemic, doctors recommend doing exercise at the gym. You don’t need a gym, especially during the pandemic. Just take 5 minutes to do some simple stretches from the comfort of your home every few hours, and you can thank yourself later. You can also add it to your exercise quota, and feel less guilty about not taking a walk outside.
So don’t do it! Make your mental health a priority by knowing what’s your maximum capacity.
Set a limit of how many chores you can do a day, and don’t go over it. We all have a limited amount of energy to spend, and to do things without any energy is not only extremely stressful, but it’s also not productive. You cannot give your 100% at everything, and the work that you do when you’re exhausted is not going to be as good as the work you do when you have enough energy. Save it for tomorrow. Spread out that list of 10 assignments over a week. Don’t try to do them all in one day and think, “Okay I’ll have more days free now!” because your body will be so drained from overworking that you won’t even get to enjoy the days you’ve freed.
It’s beneficial to balance the number of activities you participate in, as a way of prioritizing your mental and physical health. Stress over long periods can impact your overall health. For example, we can deal with stress levels on a daily basis and manage to get work done. When there is a spike of high-stress levels is when it can lead to many health concerns. It’s similar to watching a horror film that’s very suspenseful compared to one that’s less amusing but has frightening jump scares. The first may cause you to be a little anxious but keeps you invested, while the second one may potentially give you a heart attack and kill you (figuratively speaking of course). That’s the toll that overworking has on our bodies. People who overwork have higher risks of heart disease and high blood pressure. Research suggests that they were also 33% more likely to experience a stroke. So do yourself this favor and learn when it’s necessary to take a break.
It’s easy to get lost in stress and duties. It may seem like the better option to be productive than introspective. But self-care isn’t always about buying things or going places. It’s also doing the most you can to prevent burnout, and using that energy to invest more inwards (your inner peace) instead of outwards (what people see and expect of you). It’s learning to love yourself!