The other day, I decided to finally take a break and flip through a few magazines that had found their way to my nightstand. I opened the windows, turned on Say Yes to the Dress, and sat down with Women’s Health plopped in front of my face. I like to use health magazines as a sort of realistic reminder that yes – being healthy can be fun, exciting, and is definitely a necessary action. I especially loved a little segment they had in their issue that was entitled “Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish”. I took no time in pulling the page out of the magazine and posting it on my bedroom wall à la 6th grade (Backstreet Boy pull-out posters, anyone?). It was exactly what I needed to read, what I needed someone to tell me, and what I needed to really take into account when it comes to my body. I don’t take nearly enough time to pay attention to it’s quirks, complaints, and concerns, and in order for me to truly be healthy, I think I need to be finely tuned into my own body. After reading that article, I began to think of a list of things that I need to make time for in my life, even if they are just little things that I should be (or am already) doing every day.
[one] Brush your teeth twice a day, and don’t forget to floss! It’s a simple habit we all grew up doing, but I seem to notice a number of people who don’t take care of their mouths. It’s important, even if you’re a twenty-something!
[two] Wash your face in the morning and at night. I am a horrible person when it comes to keeping up with good habits, and this is one I need to do. I have combination skin, and have dealt with acne for the better part of my life, and I will always have to deal with it (thank you, parental genetics!). So, why not get it into the routine now?
[three] Moisturize in the morning and at night. This goes along with the previous point. Moisturizing is essential; your skin is the largest organ, take great care of it!
[four] Drink one glass of water upon waking up. This is a tip I’ve been hearing more and more lately; more specifically, that you should drink one glass of lemon-water each morning. With the benefits it seems to bring along with it (as well as the importance of hydration), I think this is a habit I will be adding to my routine.
[five] ALWAYS eat breakfast. I was really bad at this when I first started college, but over the past year, since I’ve had to be awake at a breakfast-worthy hour each day, I’ve been able to keep it up. While I can’t always see or feel the benefits, I think it’s important to fuel your body for the long day ahead!
[six] Eat at least two servings of fruits and veggies each day. Plain and simple, fruits and veggies are VERY important. Throw some bananas on your bowl of cereal and take some carrots as an afternoon snack. There you go, halfway done for the day!
[seven] Stretch upon waking up and before going to sleep. This right here is something I completely understand the benefits of, yet completely fail to do every day. Stretching will help to alleviate pain in your body, it will actually help to lengthen your muscles (it’s a good thing, check out the benefits), and it prevents injury. For me, particularly at night, it helps me wind down and get ready for a good night of sleep.
[eight] Take 15 minutes a day to relax without distraction. This is something I have wanted to take on, and I think it is finally time. How many times has someone told you how awesome meditation is for stress-relief or relaxation? There’s a pretty neat app called Headspace that will remind you that it’s time to meditate and gives you daily meditations to help you relax and unwind.
[nine] Give yourself one treat a day (if any). I have found that it is practically impossible to completely cut out snacks. It’s just ridiculous to say “no, you can’t have that!”. Why no say yes, you can have a piece of chocolate after dinner? It’s a way to take care of that sweet tooth without gorging on all of the Easter bunnies.
[ten] Treat yo’self. This is a non-edible treat. At least in my mind it is. This is a monthly massage, seasonal facial, fancy dress, cute wedges, new book-type of treat, and it is totally essential for you to enjoy life and keep it together. Feeling the pressure from finals? Go to that new chick flick that comes out on Friday (The Other Woman is definitely on my radar).
[eleven] Pass up the junk food while at the grocery store. If you don’t buy it for yourself, you won’t have any to eat. If you don’t have any to eat, you’re setting yourself up for success. If you’re going to have a treat, buy in individual packs rather than a whole bag. No gorging.
[twelve] Make time for fitness (one hour max, totally doable!). This is the final step because, really, you need to get yourself through the other steps before worrying about your muscles. If there is anything I am learning right now about myself, it is that the mental state must be ready before the physical being can get started. Fitness can come in a million shapes and sizes, and you will only enjoy it if your mind is ready to!
I know that a lot of these steps sound like the things your parents taught you when you were growing up, but in theory that would make sense. Your parents try to teach you how to have care for yourself and your body, and sometimes as you grow up, you start to get too busy. I think that at a transition in your life, you have the best opportunity to take these old habits into consideration and make them a part of your routine. Even grown-ups need some rules, but this time you get to make your own rules, and you get to feel and even look your best!
What are some parts of your self-care routine that make you feel like a million bucks? How much time do you spend on yourself?