It already feels like we are speeding through the new year, and you may have found yourself feeling adrift, pulled by the obligations surrounding you, and maybe sacrificing some much-needed personal time. It’s a feeling similar to waking up disoriented after a long nap and not knowing where you are or what’s going on. I don’t know about you, but as a busy mom of four, this is how I often feel. But in this new year, I’m trying something different. We all deserve a little extra self-care and pampering.
And 2017 is our year to slowly emerge from our cocoons and enter the world again, hopefully a little kinder to ourselves and to others. This year is our time to focus on the things that matter, and nurture the inner health goddess inside each and every one of us.
To connect with my inner health goddess this year, I’ll be trying all of these tips.
1. Sign up for self-care
There are so many products on the market right now that can inspire you to take self-care more seriously. For example, the Self Care Box sends a monthly box of goodies right to your house to get you in the habit of practicing self-care. If you’re anything like me, just knowing that every month you get a special delivery feels like a treat all on its own. There’s just something about the anticipation of knowing you are getting a “surprise” that makes it all the more fun.
Every month has a theme to it, with corresponding self-care products, such as the September “Spa Day” box, which boasted organic lemon scrub, a fruit infusion water bottle, bath tea, shower bombs, cocoa butter, lip balm, and a “me time” door hanger, so you get no little people (or husbands!) interrupting your alone time. Genius.
Even if you don’t want to sign up for a service, you can still get the benefits of a self-care box. Create your own box and fill it with the little things that make you happy. That way when life’s stressful rough patches emerge, you have the goodies to help yourself reset.
2. Turn workouts into ‘me’ time
If you dread working out, consider changing your mentality. Instead of thinking of exercise as something you “have” to do, treat it as something you “get” to do. There is no reason you have to do an exercise that you don’t enjoy, so give yourself time to explore different types of exercise. I love treating my workouts as “me” time. It’s a luxurious hour to myself where I can get in touch with my body, not care what it looks like, and just be completely free.
3. Balance healthy eating
This one can be a little bit harder, but it’s the same idea, essentially. Instead of looking at healthy food as something you “should” eat (and those French fries as something you “shouldn’t”), shift your thinking to view nutritious food as an opportunity. Eating healthfully helps you feel energized and improves your mood. That doesn’t mean you have to quit the junk food cold turkey. You can still indulge in your favorite treats with moderation. When you maintain a sensible balance, you don’t feel like eating healthfully is a chore or judge yourself for satisfying a craving once in a while. Redefine what “healthy” means to you, and you may be surprised at how much enjoyment you find in eating well.
4. Get some sleep
Get it, treasure it, guard it, but don’t worship it. I tend to turn into a grumpy toddler stamping my foot when I don’t get enough sleep, but frankly, it’s part of life, especially if you’re a parent. As a mom in the trenches breast-feeding at night and getting awakened 27 times from dusk until dawn, one of the best tips I ever received was to just stop looking at the time. Seriously. Instead of counting the hours of sleep I would or wouldn’t get, I just did my thing with the baby and slept when I could. Not watching the clock took a lot of stress off of my mind.
That being said, sleep is paramount to pretty much every single part of your life, so if you are severely sleep-deprived to the point where your health is affected, fix that ASAP. Nap for 20 minutes, see a doctor if it’s stemming from a medical condition, or even invest in some blackout shades. Set a realistic sleep routine for yourself and stick to it as you would other appointments or meetings. Do whatever you need to do to make quality sleep the norm, not the exception.
5. Get into nature
Ever heard of forest bathing? No? Well, it’s worth a try, because what better way to nurture your inner goddess than in a serene atmosphere of forest greenery? But seriously, getting outside and into nature in some way each and every day is essential to our health as humans and boasts serious benefits, such as increasing our immune function and reducing depression and anxiety. Even a simple 10-minute walk can make a difference.
6. Try journaling
With all the technology available to us, sometimes going back to basics and the days of putting pen to paper is actually a relief. I’m a sucker for a beautiful journal and the act of journaling can be incredibly inspirational, freeing, and healing. Journaling is an intimate way to let out your emotions and enhance self-compassion.
7. Attend a self-care retreat
I had no idea that such a thing even existed, but self-care retreats are springing up all over the country. They are a way for women to take time out for themselves and devote time to their own well-being. Retreats encourage women to dive deep down into their inner core, realize what they want out of life, and take steps toward filling their own cup before pouring themselves into others. If you’re that person who has trouble setting aside time for herself, try to schedule a retreat and give yourself the personal time you deserve.
In the end, how you nurture your own inner health goddess will depend on what is important to you and what you enjoy. Spend time asking yourself what you want out of life this year. Listen to yourself and take the steps to fulfill your goals.
Why is managing my personal health important for my quality of life?
Taking care of personal health honors the body. When our bodies are well cared for, we free up energy and time to address other common components of a balanced life, including (but not limited to) relationships, career, finances, personal and spiritual growth, and fun. When we are healthy, we are able to look to the future with a sense of hope. Health buys us time and energy to create the lives we desire.Jana Young, MPHAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.