Do you feel exhausted after taking care of your family and other responsibilities? Do you worry about not having enough time in the day to accomplish everything? If you answered yes, then you might need to reconsider the way you plan your day.
As an adult, it’s crucial to take care of yourself in order to work, take care of your family, and have a productive day. You can be more productive and stress-free if you’re prepared to handle it.
Create a self-care checklist like the one below to help make your day more productive.
1. Take Care of Your Health
Health is a priority that many overlook. The human body responds to stress negatively, which can affect how you function every day. If you follow a proper diet and exercise plan, your quality of life can improve.
- Eat a balanced diet. Prepare meals that are balanced with protein, carbohydrates, and fruits/vegetables. Some examples include:
- ¼ plate of protein (meats, beans)
- ¼ plate of carbohydrates, such as pasta or potatoes
- The remaining ½ of the plate should contain fruits and veggies.
- Try to limit between-meal snacks to fruits or protein, such as cheese, yogurt, or peanut butter.
When you eat healthily, your body produces energy to get you through the day and antioxidants to help fight off illness.
- Develop an exercise routine. You need to engage in some form of exercise regularly. Whether it’s aerobic exercise or stretches, exercising is crucial for healthy body function. If your body’s working well, so will you. Schedule a time each day to exercise.
- Do stretches first thing in the morning. Stretching will loosen your muscles to reduce soreness while exercising.
- Do aerobic exercise, such as swimming, jogging, or cycling, any time of the day. These exercises are healthy for your heart and lungs.
When you exercise, your health improves. It makes you feel energized and refreshed, and it’s something healthy to do with a friend.
2. Sleep a Full Night
Your body relies on proper sleep to get it through the next day. Sleep helps the body rest and recover. During sleep, body systems slow down so they can rejuvenate. Adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night, which gives the body ample time to renew itself.
To ensure you get good restful sleep, create a self-care checklist for bedtime:
- Set a consistent bedtime routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Avoid caffeine for at least 8 hours before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant, which raises heart rate and increases alertness. You may have difficulty falling asleep.
- Avoid electronics up to an hour before turning in for the night. Social networking and watching TV before bed can overstimulate the brain, preventing you from falling asleep.
- Calm yourself down. Use calming measures such as meditation, yoga, soft, soothing music, or prayer to help clear your mind.
- Avoid eating about 2 hours before bed. If you eat right before bed, you could experience indigestion or acid reflux.
It’s also beneficial to have a mattress that’s comfortable and supports your body. The right mattress and an environment that promotes relaxation are key to a restful night of sleep.
3. Schedule Time for Yourself
When you have a busy schedule, it’s difficult to find or create some alone time, but it’s the only time you can focus on your needs. You won’t have anyone else demanding you to do something for them. Take the time to get to know yourself better. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do for me?” Explore the possibilities.
- Have a spa day. Treat yourself to a day of pampering by getting a mani-pedi, massage, or aromatherapy.
- Read a book or start a journal. Writing down your goals and priorities could help you put things into perspective.
- Watching a movie or TV show can help distract you from real life.
- Go shopping. Buy yourself something new.
- Take a walk or hike. Get outside and enjoy nature.
- Just do nothing. Relax, meditate or sit down and listen to the quiet.
You have to take time for yourself; otherwise, you’ll wear yourself out and create an injustice for yourself and your family. Schedule your alone time once a week. The most important person at that time is YOU.
4. Reduce Your Stress
When you allow yourself to be stressed, you risk endangering your health. Stress increases blood pressure and heart rate and lowers your immune system, making you more prone to illness. You may not realize you’re stressed until you start showing symptoms.
Here are some symptoms of stress to watch for:
- Rapid breathing or heart rate
- Shortness of breath
If you start to experience any of the above symptoms, it’s time to take a break and allow your body time to rest. If the symptoms persist, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are some more activities you can try to reduce your stress level.
- Listen to soothing music to clear your mind
- Organize your home or office
- Engage in various arts and projects, such as painting or coloring
- Try cozying up with a weighted blanket (shameless plug, but it does help releve stress!)
Stress reduction and self-care looks different for everyone, so choose an activity that makes you feel good and promotes relaxation.
5. Enjoy the Company of Others
It may seem redundant, but having a social life is like a form of therapy. Interacting with friends and other people can help boost self-esteem and confidence.
Being social is another great way to lower your stress levels. Whether you have a Zoom call with friends, talk on the phone, or have a group text message, laughing with others and having meaningful conversations releases tension and can help you forget about your stressful day.
Do It for You
Having a self-care checklist provides affirmation that you are a priority. It reminds you to focus on your own needs without sacrificing other responsibilities. Create your list in a journal or a notebook, or hang the list somewhere, so it’s always visible.
Keep in mind that self-care is an ongoing process and it’s always a good idea to check in and make sure you’re prioritizing your well-being.