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We all know we’re supposed to take care of ourselves. But do we really? Self-care is defined as an activity that takes care of our mental, emotional and physical health. However, with lots of things competing for our attention, it’s easy to ignore what our body and mind need. Research suggests that we should not do this. Regular self-care can help reduce stress, increase happiness and improve overall well-being. Here are five simple ways you can give yourself a little more love each day.
1. Catch a few more z’s
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health. It affects mood, energy levels, cognitive function and our ability to handle stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, try setting a goal to go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
2. 10 minutes of nothing
When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? Taking a few minutes a day to stop everything and relax can be life changing. To see how it feels, try this ten-minute exercise: Find a quiet place to sit. Turn off your phone. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Doing this regularly will help reduce stress and increase happiness.
3. Random acts of kindness
Doing something for someone else is actually good for you. That’s because when we make a positive impact on someone’s life, it brings us feelings of joy and empowerment. Even something as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in line can dramatically improve a person’s day – and yours. Here are other ways you can spontaneously impact someone’s life.
4. 15 minutes of sun
Ever notice you feel happier on a sunny day? There’s a reason. Sunlight triggers your brain to release serotonin, a chemical that boosts your mood and makes you feel more calm and focused. In addition, sunshine also triggers your body to make Vitamin D, which is important for strong, healthy bones. So, when the sun is out, make sure you go out, too.
5. Listen to your favorite jam
Music is emotionally and physically stimulating. This is why many athletes listen to ‘pump-up’ songs before they perform. Find your own ‘pump-up’ song to give yourself a boost during the day. Or shake off stress by dancing around to your favorite tunes.