Making yourself a priority when you’re feeling overloaded may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes it’s the very best thing you can do. It can actually lower stress and increase productivity and focus (plus, help you be a better, happier human in general) during the rest of your day and week.
For a little inspiration, here are a dozen of the coaches’ favorite ways to schedule quality “me time,” so you can start taking your own sweet self less for granted.
- Wake up 10 minutes early to do a few rounds of sun salutations. It gets the blood flowing and will help you feel grounded and centered before kicking off your busy day.
- Schedule a meditation reminder in your phone. Coach Elaine uses guided meditations on YouTube to help keep her focused. Check out two of her favorites, here and here.
- Get moving! Exercise (even just 20 minutes) is a healthy way to process thoughts and emotions or clear your mind and come back to them with a fresh perspective. Plus, mini workouts can add up throughout the day to promote overall wellness. Coach Miriam says, “Letting physical activity come from a place of self-care, versus it being just another task, can also reinforce it as a long-term, sustainable habit.
- Practice gratitude. This is a great way to reflect and take time to appreciate what’s going right in life right now. Maybe keep a gratitude journal and jot down three things every morning or evening that you feel especially thankful for.
- Make mindfulness part of your daily routine. All it takes is paying close attention to what you are doing in the moment (brushing your teeth, eating a meal, washing dishes, driving, waiting in line, etc.) rather than going on auto-pilot. “The basic idea is to take in all the details–sight, sound, smell, taste and feel–of whatever activity you choose, rather than letting your mind wander,” says Coach Eden. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Making this a regular part of your day can help you stay calm in challenging or emotionally-charged situations, too.
- Stay connected with those you care about. “I have always been super tight with my family and we meet up for dinner almost weekly,” says Coach Chloe, “but sometimes it’s harder to maintain relationships with friends who know me better than just about anyone.” Make time on the regular to check in with them in a call or plan a fun getaway weekend together.
- Give yourself a good soak. An epsom salt bath is a wonderful way to absorb magnesium and improve sleep–and it’s hotel and travel friendly. Luxuriate for 20-30 minutes in a hot bath with 3-4 cups of epsom salts.
- If a professional massage isn’t an option, do some simple self-massage or ask your partner to give the gift of massage this year. While most definitely relaxing, massage has been shown to reduce inflammation and boost immune function.
- Take some deep breaths. Deep, belly breaths have been shown to reduce stress and tension in the body, and can help us feel more centered, grounded and calm in stress situations all day long.
- Say no sometimes. Consider limiting the number of events you’re committed to without reducing the quality time you spend with loved ones or sacrificing your new, healthy habits. Try combining events. How about starting a new tradition like a hike after brunch or inviting friends over for a healthy meal exchange instead of a cookie swap?
- Rescue a pet. Animals are full of unconditional love. And they often “save” us rather than the other way around. You’ll never regret opening up your life (and heart) to a new furry friend.
- Once a month, pick something you’ve always wanted to try and go for it! Maybe it’s a new dance class, going to a movie solo, a spa day-or a new hair color and cut. Turn off your phone and relish in this moment that’s all yours.
Yes Health is a low-cost, weight loss and diabetes-prevention program committed to helping everyone live healthier, happier lives.