Sanity is a precious thing in this world. Confronted by mountains of to-do lists that just never seem to end, it can be easy to forget about the most important thing: you. Taking time for yourself is essential for you to be able to do your best work. We’ve got twelve easy rituals that just might help you remember to slow down, take a deep breath, and put yourself first. Those to-do lists aren’t going anywhere, so they can be patient for five minutes.
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1. Start drinking tea.
This is a favorite of mine. Tea helps me relax, slow down, and focus. With so many different varieties out there, the options are endless. During a busy work day, I am never far from my tea thermos. Even though I’d be running around on a busy Monday, stopping to take a drink was an instant fix for me. Having my favorite tea ready and hot throughout the day gave me the five to ten seconds that I needed to get back on track.
2. Take up yoga.
Yoga is another one of my favorites. Doing just fifteen to twenty minutes of yoga guided by an app can help you wind down at the end of the day. For me, yoga helped me get all the stress, tension, and frustration of the day out of my head. You can do Yoga right at home with Yoga Download. Give it a try here.
3. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is just as precious and important as sanity. Yet, it’s easily one of the first things to get sacrificed for the sake of what we think will be a more productive day. Papers in college have deadlines thanks to professors. There were several nights when I stayed up late to finish a paper and planned on getting a larger coffee the next day. While I was functional the next day, I was also on autopilot for nearly every hour that I wasn’t in class. Professors can be demanding, so make sure you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep in every night. Using something like a Fitbit can let you know how many hours of sleep you’re getting each night, plus a break down of how long you spend in each sleep cycle.
4. Do an electronics ban for one hour.
We’re so connected to everything these days. Even if I’m watching YouTube or Netflix, my phone is almost always right next to me. Guess what, I’m also multi-tasking. I’m checking my email during commercial breaks or checking Twitter during a slower part of whatever it is that I’m watching. Having things like Facebook and Twitter at our fingertips is great for staying connected to family and friends, but it’s also pretty exhausting. Take an hour or schedule a weekend where you can “unplug” yourself from everything. No Internet, no TV or Netflix, and no phone use. Start with an hour, see how that goes, and then increase it if you want. Call it a digital “detox”, if you will. You might want to let those close to you know if you’re going to be doing this over a weekend so that they know not to expect a reply from you.
5. Meditate for ten minutes.
Find somewhere peaceful to sit and be still. A park can be great if you can find a quiet spot. If not, practice just sitting on your bed and letting your mind go blank. Let go of any thoughts that come into your head. If you need something to focus on, concentrate on your breathing. Be sure to keep it slow, steady, and even.
6. Get some exercise.
This can be whatever and wherever you want it to be. Go for a walk or run around a park, or join a gym that’s close to where you live. Make a playlist of your favorite music and use it to help you get through your workout. If you’re running, run for one song and walk for the next. Repeat that until you’ve finished your workout. I like to bring an iPad with me when I go on the treadmill and watch an episode of a Netflix show. It makes the time go by a little bit faster. Exercising is a great way to release stress and re-energize yourself.
7. Schedule some me time.
Set aside some time to take a break from everything. If you’re a student, make sure you take a ten to fifteen-minute break every hour while you’re studying. Stretch your legs, take a lap around the library, get some food or water, and then get back to the books. If you’re working from home, set a time when you stop working and set things aside for the next day.
8. Declutter part of your home.
This is something I try to do regularly. Even if I don’t get rid of anything, simply moving things around and rearranging them helps me feel more organized and gives me peace of mind. A cluttered home can be a reflection of your state of mind. I certainly noticed that during midterms and finals, when I was stressed, my room was an absolute mess. Over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of having a place for everything and putting things in their places right away. My keys go in a cup and my purse goes by my shoes. I also take everything out of my purse at the end of the day, which in itself is a mini-declutter. It helps me take care of any receipts that I have before they multiply too much. Decluttr makes it so easy to get rid of anything you decide you no longer want while making a little extra cash.
9. Practice mindfulness.
Get for a walk outside and pay attention to something. Look at the sky and really focus on how blue it is. Go to a lake and notice how the water feels and what it sounds like. Take a mental step back and look at things differently. There are things around us that we take for granted every day. Stop for a moment and notice what’s around you.
10. Buy yourself something nice.
Have you been keeping your eye on something for a while? Do you feel like it’s time for a new lipstick to welcome in the brighter days of summer? Splurge a little and get yourself whatever it is that you’ve been looking at it. Treating yourself to something special can bring new energy into your life and shake things up a bit. Check out the latest sale at Macy’s.
11. Have an in-home spa night.
Find something fun to watch on Netflix and give yourself an in-home spa. Take a bath, read your favorite book with a cup of tea, or give yourself a facial while wearing your favorite pajamas and bathrobe. Sweeten things up by having your favorite chocolate bar or candy to really indulge yourself.
12. Find an outfit that makes you feel your best.
It’s easy to get in a rut when it comes to workwear. That being said, find a new way to mix up your wardrobe and find a new outfit that makes you feel fabulous. If you got a new shirt, dress, or pair of pants as a treat to yourself, throw those into the mix. Mixing things up in your outfits can be an easy way to brighten your mood and give yourself new energy for all the Mondays ahead.
Self-care is an important part of life that we often push to the back burner. In this world where the work never seems to end and the to-do lists just keep growing, these easy rituals can be tools in a metaphorical tool box. Pick a few favorites, then go forth and conquer.