It’s that time of year when, despite much to be grateful for, we tend to be hardest on ourselves. Holiday celebrations are often followed by food guilt and New Year’s resolutions often revolve around our bodies. My advice to anyone struggling with this is to just be gentle with your self-care; you can do things to support your health and well-being without turning it into a punishment or chore.
Some things I do for gentle self-care are:
Meeting my step goals – I feel my best when I’m moving a lot. Walking is one of the things that always makes me feel better. Here’s why I recommend walking without distractions – have you tried it?
Doing yoga and Pilates – Whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I like to slow down and tune into my body. Whether it’s stretching, doing yoga or Pilates, gentle exercise helps me relax and feel more grounded. You don’t need to do a high intensity workout to get your blood flowing and stay in shape.
Prep – I make sure I have all my favorite, easy-to-make foods on hand for those times I’m not celebrating the holidays (veggies, oats, lean proteins, fruits, nuts and grains). That way, I’m more likely to reach for something healthy and it takes all the guesswork out of it.
Good sleep hygiene – I always end my day with a bubble bath, turning my phone off two hours before bed and reading with an amber light to help my body get naturally tired. Having good sleep hygiene is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being.
Meditating – It’s so easy to get out of your daily routine this time of year, and I know that if I don’t keep up with my meditation practice, then I notice a difference in my mood and stress levels. Luckily, meditation has become such a crucial part of my routine that I don’t miss practicing often, but if I do, then I forgive myself and make it a priority the next day.
Staying hydrated – Staying hydrated is an easy and gentle self-care thing I like to do. Even slight dehydration changes the way we think and physically feel, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day makes a huge difference. Plus, staying hydrated curbs cravings and there’s a lot of temptation this time of year.
Practice forgiveness – If you skip a workout or indulge in something sweet, don’t beat yourself up over it! It’s important to not only be kind to others, but kind to ourselves as well. Nobody’s perfect and it’s not the end of the world if you slip up. We all deserve a little TLC, so instead of dwelling on your mistakes, focus on all your strengths and amazing qualities. We don’t give ourselves enough credit, so give credit where credit is due!
What are some of your gentle self-care habits?