By Julia Merrill
The biggest problem when it comes to self-care is that all you want to do after a long day at work is collapse on the couch with Netflix and takeout. When you’re stressed and tired, you don’t necessarily have the energy or motivation to eat well or exercise.
So how do you overcome the daily grind and engage in healthy habits that make you feel better? Here are three simple ways to get started.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
How much sleep we get affects both our eating and exercise habits. According to Shape, women tend to experience more negative symptoms from lack of sleep than men, and yet many of us continue to sleep poorly or not enough.
There are many reasons for this, from stress to staying up late binge watching our favorite show, but your first step toward better sleep quality should be to check your bed. If you experience pain or discomfort when you’re trying to fall asleep, your pillows could be to blame. Consider an upgrade! There is a huge range of options (firmness/material, filling, ventilated options to keep you cool, etc.), so take your time shopping online – Wayfair has a great selection – before making your choice.
Plan, Plan, Plan
“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is a huge cliché, but it’s annoyingly true when it comes to building healthy habits. For instance, planning your meals for the week can help you avoid unhealthy fast foods (like takeout), which is also great for your wallet. Basic meal prepping on the weekends can be a big help, and it doesn’t have to mean eating the same boring chicken every day. Check out this list of 30 delicious meal prep ideas by Greatist for inspiration.
Another powerful planning tool is scheduling. Research has shown that people who schedule their goals and habits are significantly more likely to follow through with them simply because they wrote them down. If you don’t use a planner for your personal life yet, it’s time to start! Or if you’re feeling creative, you can always start a bullet journal.
Keep Your Goals SMART
You may have heard of SMART goals in the context of business, but you can easily apply the theory to your personal goal-setting. For those who don’t know, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They are more likely to succeed because they give you something concrete to aim for while keeping things grounded in reality. What this means for your self-care is that you should always make sure you’re following these principles when setting out diet, exercise, and general wellness goals. For a detailed example, check out this guide to setting SMART exercise goals.
In terms of diet, if your problem is indulging in sweets and desserts sugar is what is (Relevant) to you. Your goal could be to reduce added sugars (Specific) to no more than the recommended daily intake of 25g (Measurable), allowing yourself a higher number on weekends (Attainable) for a month (Time-bound). At the end of this time, you can decide whether this works for you or not, and whether to keep going or set a new goal accordingly.
Focusing on wellness is not as easy as it should be, especially when work is stressing you out or using up most of your mental energy. However, prioritizing your physical and mental health is essential to your long-term well-being. Ignoring exercise, diet, and sleep is not an option. These tips can help you make healthy habits a normal part of your routine, which in turn can help you thrive in all areas of your life.