Daily self-care rituals provide a sense of stability and regularity in our hectic daily lives; they give us an opportunity to establish healthy habits for living a more fulfilling life. You probably perform small rituals each day without even realizing it. Your morning routine of making coffee, having breakfast, and getting the kids ready for school serves as a ritual. The activities you do in the evening after work count as a self-care ritual, also. Maybe you come home, light some candles, and take a warm bath. Or, maybe you hit the gym or go for a run.
All of these things help us establish a routine, and allows our life to flow from one activity to another, smoothly and effortlessly. If you don’t already give yourselves some of these things daily, they will seriously help improve the quality of your life.
Here are 9 Things You Owe Yourself (Even If You Think You Don’t)
1. You owe it to yourself to write in a gratitude journal.
Feeling grateful doesn’t just sound good on paper; it actually has science backing up the benefits of expressing gratitude. A slew of studies have linked gratitude to lower levels of stress, higher immunity, better sleeping habits, lower overall body fat, and a happier mood overall, to name a few benefits. You’ll want your gratitude journal to be separate from your regular journal, just so you can focus your energy in the moment of what you feel grateful for.
This way, you can also look back on your journal and see how your gratitude has grown over the course of your practice. You can either write in your journal at the end of the day, when you wake up, or both, and don’t hold back. If you only feel grateful today that you had hot coffee, write that down. If you feel grateful for a million things that day, write them all down. Most importantly, remain honest with yourself and don’t hesitate to write down little things that might seem “silly” to others.
2. You owe yourself an easy start to your morning.
How do your morning rituals look right now? Do you hop out of bed, rush to your phone to check emails and notifications, and hurriedly run to the bathroom for a quick shower before grabbing a piece of toast on the way out? If this sounds like you, you might want to consider moving at a slower pace, and practicing mindfulness in your morning routine. Get out of bed slowly, stretch your limbs, and just sit for a while. Don’t run straight to your phone or computer, forget about getting ready for the moment, and just breathe. Allow your body to wake up, and simply train your brain to relax into the present moment.
These simple rituals can really transform an otherwise hectic, chaotic day, and give you a new perspective.
3. You owe it to yourself to meditate.
Obviously, we fully support the practice of meditation, and have mentioned it many times before, because it provides so many benefits in our daily lives. Meditating regularly can actually alter your brain chemistry, lower stress, boost your immune system, give you a more positive outlook, increase mental clarity, and so much more. If you have wanted to start a meditation practice but don’t know how, please refer to our previous article about meditation for beginners here.
4. You owe yourself a healthy breakfast
Many people skip breakfast, but it costs them later in the day when their energy levels start to drop. In order to get your day started on the right foot, opt for a healthy breakfast consisting of a smoothie, oatmeal, or a bowl of fruit with a piece of toast or some sort of grain on the side. Fuel your body with the nutrients it needs so you can feel your best throughout the day. Skipping breakfast might seem more convenient, but our bodies need food regularly to stay energized. If you have to, wake up 30 minutes to an hour earlier each day so you can prepare a nourishing breakfast.
5. You owe yourself exercise.
By now, you probably have heard all the benefits of exercise, but we’ll reiterate them here anyway. To list just a few, regular exercise improves your mood, releases chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin to leave you feeling happier and relaxed, helps you maintain a healthy weight, boosts self-esteem, lowers the risk of health problems, boosts energy levels, increases immunity, and much more. The key is to find something you really enjoy, and do it regularly, at least three to five times per week. This way, it won’t seem like a chore, but rather, something to look forward to in your routine.
6. You owe yourself a few deep breaths.
Deep breathing can stabilize your stress levels, give you peace of mind, and even lower your blood pressure. Breathing correctly can improve your mental, emotional, and physical health, and can also help you sleep better at night by calming your mind.
7. You owe it to yourself to be a decent human being
In our society, we tend to focus so much on paying our bills, doing our errands, and just trying to survive that we often forget about the mutual benefits of helping others. Getting in the habit of offering a helping hand to at least one person per day will give you a greater sense of self-worth, while also making someone else’s life a little easier.
8. You owe yourself the power of positivity.
Complaining does nothing but drain our valuable energy, and sucks the life out of us eventually. Complaining keeps us focused on the negatives, so try going at least a week without complaining at all, and see how much better you feel. A positive mindset gives way to a positive life, so keep this in mind next time things don’t seem to go your way.
9. You owe yourself time away from your phone.
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It’s no secret that the bright lights from our electronics can keep us awake at night. The light plus the action of playing games, watching YouTube videos, or checking emails stimulates our brain, which is exactly the opposite of what we need to be doing before bed. Try reading, meditating, taking a warm bath, or drinking tea before bed instead of staying glued to technology, and see how much better you sleep at night.