That bad posture isn’t just giving you a backache—a 2012 article published in Biofeedback found that sitting and looking downward makes it easier to recall negative memories, while sitting upright and looking upward makes it easier to recall positive, empowering memories.
Sound waves carry through air and, to a lesser extent, through certain types of construction materials, such as metal and wood. While good construction practices will reduce sound transfer, they won’t completely eliminate it. The solution to a noisy room is to incorporate sound-dampening objects and materials, which will help absorb sound waves and keep them from becoming irritating or overwhelming.
Hollow-core doors are found in many of today’s homes because they’re affordable, but sounds easily pass through these doors. If you have a hollow-core office door, consider swapping it for a solid wood door that will provide a better sound-absorbing barrier to block noise that originates on the other side.
In addition to swapping out a hollow-core door with a solid one, you’ll get better noise reduction if you seal the space under the door with a sweep such as the Suptikes Soundproof Under Door Seal (available from Amazon). This will dampen the sound that sneaks under the door. You can further reduce sound transfer by installing weatherstripping around the sides and the top of the door.
A well-built wall offers moderate sound reduction, but if it has holes, such as gaps that are commonly found around outlets or ducts, you’ll be more likely to hear sounds that originate on the other side of the wall. By sealing the holes with all-purpose caulk, you can reduce the amount of sound that enters your office.
One of the best ways to damper excess noise is to install acoustic panels on one or more of walls in your home office. Bare walls create an echo chamber, but by installing sound-absorbing panels, such as these ADW Acoustic Panels (available from Amazon), you can update the look of your office while reducing the noise level in the room.
Sound waves bounce around in rooms with hard flooring, such as tile or laminate, but you don’t have to install wall-to-wall carpeting to get some soothing sound relief…just add some rugs. One or more area or throw rugs—the thicker and softer, the better—will absorb harsh noises and prevent a resounding effect so you can concentrate on getting some work done.
Just as insulation offers noise-reduction, so will hanging a quilt or an ornamental rug on a wall in your home office reduce sound transfer into the office from the other side of the wall. The thicker the item, the more sound-absorbing ability it will offer. Think creatively with this one, a snuggly baby blanket or even a crib comforter can make a big difference in reducing unwanted noise.
Get rid of hard wooden chairs and bring in a padded desk chair and an overstuffed chair or loveseat (if you have the room) to further reduce annoying noises. While you’re at it, dress up your office furniture with a couple of soft pillows for added sound absorption.
Noise-Proof the Ceiling
If your home office is tucked away in a basement, sounds from overhead are likely the biggest noise culprit. For permanent noise reduction, consider installing a drop ceiling and fill the space between the old ceiling and the new dropped panels with high-density insulation, which will create an instantly quieter office.
Soften Window Noise
Having an office with a window that looks out on a busy street, can be a major source of unwanted noise, especially if the window is an older single-pane model. If it’s in the budget, consider replacing the old window with a newer double- or triple-pane unit, and hang thick draperies or install interior window shutters to block even more sound.
If you’ve taken the previous steps to reduce noise but you still find yourself being distracted by sounds, consider investing in a white noise machine, such as the Homedics White Noise Machine (available from Amazon). Unlike erratic noises caused by cars driving by or planes overhead, a white noise machine emits a continuous soft stream of soothing sound, such as falling rain or the surf breaking on the beach, which helps you tune out unwanted sounds in your environment.
Back when you and your spouse started dating, he used to get up extra early to surprise you with your favorite egg and cheese bagel for breakfast and you couldn’t stop gushing about how awesome he was. But when he whipped up a bowl of oatmeal yesterday, you barely even acknowledged the gesture. Oops.
Being in a long-term relationship comes with a lot of positives. One of the downsides, however, is that you kind of start taking each other for granted. Not only is this Michelle Tanner-style rude, but it could also spell bad news for your relationship.
That’s per a paper published in the journal Personal Relationships that found that gratitude is key to a healthy and successful marriage. For the study, researchers asked 468 married people questions about their financial well-being, demand/withdraw communication (“when one partner tends to demand, nag or criticize, while the other responds by withdrawing or avoiding the confrontation”) and expressions of spousal gratitude. What they found was that expressions of gratitude were the most consistent significant predictor of marital quality.
“Feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last,” said study co-author Ted Futris, an associate professor at the University of Georgia.
In fact, researchers argue that the simple act of saying “thank you” to your partner regularly can be powerful enough to protect a couple’s divorce proneness. Wowza.
Just a little something to keep in mind the next time your partner brings you coffee in bed.
Thanks to email@example.com (Alexia Dellner) for this article.
Covid got you down? Check out these ways to improve your brain’s fitness.
Article By Mark Stibich, PhD Medically reviewed by Shaheen Lakhan, MD, PhD, FAAN
Brain fitness has basic principles: variety and curiosity. When anything you do becomes second nature, you need to make a change. If you can do the crossword puzzle in your sleep, it’s time for you to move on to a new challenge in order to get the best workout for your brain. Curiosity about the world around you, how it works and how you can understand it will keep your brain working fast and efficiently. Use the ideas below to help attain your quest for mental fitness.1
Brain fitness programs and games are a wonderful way to tease and challenge your brain. Suduko, crosswords and electronic games can all improve your brain’s speed and memory. These games rely on logic, word skills, math and more. These games are also fun.
You’ll get benefit more by doing these games a little bit every day. Spend 15 minutes or so, not hours.
Daily meditation is perhaps the single greatest thing you can do for your mind/body health. Meditation not only relaxes you, it gives your brain a workout. By creating a different mental state, you engage your brain in new and interesting ways while increasing your brain fitness.2How to Meditate for Brain Health
Eat for Your Brain
Your brain needs you to eat healthy fats. Focus on fish oils from wild salmon, nuts such as walnuts, seeds such as flax seed and olive oil. Eat more of these foods and less saturated fats. Eliminate transfats completely from your diet.
Tell Good Stories
Stories are a way that we solidify memories, interpret events and share moments. Practice telling your stories, both new and old, so that they are interesting, compelling and fun. Some basic storytelling techniques will go a long way in keeping people’s interest both in you and in what you have to say.
Turn Off Your Television
The average person watches more than four hours of television every day. Television can stand in the way of relationships, life and more. Turn off your TV and spend more time living and exercising your mind and body.
Exercise Your Body to Exercise Your Brain
Physical exercise is great brain exercise too. By moving your body, your brain has to learn new muscle skills, estimate distance and practice balance. Choose a variety of exercises to challenge your brain.
Read Something Different
Books are portable, free from libraries and filled with infinite interesting characters, information, and facts. Branch out from familiar reading topics. If you usually read history books, try a contemporary novel. Read foreign authors, the classics, and random books. Not only will your brain get a workout by imagining different time periods, cultures and peoples, you will also have interesting stories to tell about your reading, what it makes you think of and the connections you draw between modern life and the words.
Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill works multiple areas of the brain. Your memory comes into play, you learn new movements and you associate things differently. Reading Shakespeare, learning to cook and building an airplane out of toothpicks all will challenge your brain and give you something to think about.
Make Simple Changes
We love our routines. We have hobbies and pastimes that we could do for hours on end. But the more something is ‘second nature,’ the less our brains have to work to do it. To really help your brain stay young, challenge it. Change routes to the grocery store, use your opposite hand to open doors and eat dessert first. All this will force your brain to wake up from habits and pay attention again.
Train Your Brain
Brain training is becoming a trend. There are formal courses, websites, and books with programs on how to train your brain to work better and faster. There is some research behind these programs, but the basic principles are memory, visualization, and reasoning. Work on these three concepts every day and your brain will be ready for anything.
Your risk of developing breast cancer — which is about 13 percent for women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS) — depends on both factors that you can control and some you cannot.
Factors you can’t control include things such as your age, race and your family history, according to Jane Kakkis, MD, a surgical oncologist and the medical director of breast surgery at MemorialCare Breast Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
But lifestyle choices, diet, stress levels and exercise all play a role in your overall chances of developing breast cancer — and they are in your hands.
While you should always speak to your doctor about your personal risk for breast cancer, there are general strategies, like exercising regularly, that can help decrease the odds.
Eat a Healthy Diet.
The benefits of following a healthy diet are clear: For one, it can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer. Following a diet that’s low in fat and high in healthy foods such as lean proteins, fiber-filled whole grains and vegetables will help support your overall health and wellness.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
The ACS recommends the following healthy strategies to lowering your cancer risk:
Quit smoking. “Smoking increases breast cancer and a variety of other cancers and causes other substantial health problems,” Dr. Kakkis says.
Avoid alcohol. Any amount of alcohol consumption increases cancer risk, according to Dr. Kakkis.
Avoid carcinogens. While this is very broad, Dr. Kakkis explains that in general, everyone can do their best to avoid carcinogens in their daily lives as much as possible. That could be everything from limiting radiation exposure from cell phone use to decreasing chemical exposure by swapping plastic bottles for stainless-steel versions.
Get enough sleep.
Get Regular Exercise
Maintain an Optimal Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer “substantially,” Dr. Kakkis says. She recommends maintaining a healthy weight that is appropriate for your age and body type. This doesn’t have to involve extreme measures, she notes. “We’re not talking about marathon running,” Dr. Kakkis says. “We’re talking about being in a reasonable range.”
Limit Hormone Replacement Therapy
While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (also called hormone therapy) with estrogen for women going through and after menopause used to be considered somewhat standard treatment, it is now much more of a personal decision.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Because your immune system plays an important role in recognizing and clearing any potential cancer cells from your body, keeping your immune system functioning at its optimal level might help decrease your overall cancer risk according to a December 2015 report in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
But how exactly do you accomplish that? “Everyone responds to stress differently, so stress reduction is different for everyone,” Dr. Kakkis says.
Exercise and sleep are crucial to not only decreasing the stress you encounter on a daily basis, but also managing how you cope with stress long term as well, she notes. “Exercise begets sleep and being well-rested actually helps you work through and cope with stressful situations,” Kakkis notes.
Other Stress-Management Strategies to Try
If stress is a concern for you, along with speaking to a health professional, you can also try a variety of stress-management techniques, such as:
Focusing on gratitude
Spending time outdoors
Working with a therapist
And as you look to decrease your risk of breast cancer, take small steps along the way, rather than try to overhaul your entire lifestyle all at once, Dr. Kakkis recommends. The goal is to take small steps to optimize your life, she says. “Make one change, stick to it, then make another change. You can’t always go from zero to 100 percent.”
By Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RNJuly 11, 2020 Medically Reviewed by Angela Wright Marshall, MD, FACP
With so many vacations to beaches, mountains and big cities and everywhere else — being canceled this summer, many would-be travelers are diverting time, attention, and a few of their dollars to staycations.
Turning your home into a “resort” — or at least a better staycation destination — isn’t as crazy or as complex as it might sound. Some fairly simple changes can add a getaway feel to your all-to-familiar surroundings.
Those looking to make their home a better staycation destination should think about what they love about their favorite vacation spots, said Matt Zimmer, a designer with the Cleary Company, a remodeling company based in Columbus.
Of course, you can’t add an ocean or a mountain view to your home, at least not in central Ohio, Zimmer said. But there are other ways incorporate reminders of favorite destinations, he said.
“I had some clients who said, “We want that Vegas feel in our bathroom.” What does that even mean? “It turned out that meant a large, open shower.
Zimmer recalled another project he did recently, designing a covered patio. During the design, Zimmer asked his client to recall a favorite vacation memory.
“She mentioned a trip to Charleston (S.C.) and a ceiling fan in the best place they went in Charleston to get oysters. It became important to me in the design of the project to find that specific fan.” With some internet research, Zimmer found the fan, which the customer adored, he said.
“Little things like that are going to make your home feel more like you’re in your favorite special vacation places, wherever those favorite places are.”
Enhancing outdoor spaces is often a good way to enhance that staycation feel, Zimmer said. “Tying the indoors to the outside adds to that Zen-like feel at home,” he said.
“You don’t have to do an entire porch addition. There are a lot of little things you can do, like building a little bar area, or adding a TV outside with a little covering over it, all things that might make you more inclined to hang out outside.”
Here are some visual idea’s for a comfy home staycation:
We spend nearly one-third of our lives sleeping. Which is great because without it, we get cranky, irritable, cloudy and tired. In fact, research shows chronic lack of sleep even ages our skin. But what happens when the reason you’re not getting your zzz’s is because of your partner? Maybe they snore, roll around too much or blast the AC. This might just call for a “sleep divorce.” With the help of matrimonial attorney and author of The New Rules of Divorce: 12 Secrets to Protecting Your Wealth, Health, and Happiness, Jacqueline Newman, let us explain.
What’s a “sleep divorce”? Simple: A sleep divorce is when a couple makes the mutual decision that they’re not going to sleep in the same bed for the sake of wellness. That could unfold in myriad ways depending on what the problem is. For instance, if the bed is too soft for one person, maybe they sleep on the couch, pull-out, guest room or perhaps even purchase a new bed. If snoring is the issue, the couple may decide to sleep on different floors of the house. Seems strange? Well, according to a survey commissioned by SleepStandards, sleep divorces are more popular than you think—35 percent of couples interviewed are considering separate beds.
But isn’t sleeping separately bad for marriage? Au contraire! The word “divorce” probably makes you think it’s a bad thing, but according to Newman, a sleep divorce actually restores a lot of marriages and relationships. In fact, the whole point of a sleep divorce is to salvage or at least improve the relationship. If sleeping together means one or both partners is losing sleep, then sharing a bed might actually be bad for the marriage. “Culture says we have to sleep next to each other because of intimacy, but what if all we’re doing is keeping each other awake?” Newman asks.
How is sleeping in separate beds good for a relationship? We’ll let Newman explain: “Everyone’s cranky if you don’t get enough sleep—and you take it out on the people who you hold near and dear, most often your spouse.” If your partner is the reason you’re not getting a solid eight hours, your anger and contempt could escalate to a whole new level. A sleep divorce could prevent these negative emotions from simmering to a boil. When we’re better rested, we’re healthier and happier, making us better partners because we’re able to show up. “If you’re getting along and not fighting, does it really matter if you don’t sleep next to each other at night?” Newman wonders. In fact, she recalls a friend who announced her sleep divorce and then said, “You know what? My husband’s much funnier now.”
But what about sex? If you like your sex with a side of sleep, get it done and then retreat to your preferred sleeping arrangements. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean your relationship has failed; you’re just at a new stage. “It’s just the practicality of life, it doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed,” explains Newman. For couples just starting out, maybe their partner’s snoring is cute, but the reality is intimacy comes in lots of forms, and if spooning all night isn’t working for you, why not get a good night’s sleep so you can actually enjoy your partner when you’re both awake?
Sold. So, how do I ask for sleep divorce? A healthy sleep divorce means the decision is mutual. Newman advises that the couple has to be on same page. “If one person derives huge amount of comfort from snuggling and connection, weigh your needs. Make the decision together.” And if you’re the partner who isn’t so into a sleep divorce, don’t just dismiss the idea, especially if your partner will experience this as rejection. Instead, like every other aspect of your marriage, make sure to communicate, be vocal, address needs and make compromises. Divorce granted.
Question: Have you and your partner ever tried a sleep divorce? What were the results?
Personal development is a pivotal theme for most people in their 20s, and focusing on this goal can maximize your potential now and later in life. These are the years of forming your adult identity, finding your style of relating to others, and ultimately discovering what gives you meaning in your life, among other important goals. That’s a pretty tall order and one that can take you beyond your 20s, though this is an important time to start. The following research-backed goals can help you to develop as a person (whatever your age), find what can lead you to happiness, and become your best self from this point on.
Find Your Core Values
Finding what your core values are and following them in your career and relationships is something that is most easily done in your 20s. This is the foundation upon which you build your life, and following your core values now can help you to be off and running toward other goals that will make you truly happy.
Following your core values can also help you to avoid investing a lot of time and energy into a path that you’ll ultimately regret because it’s not aligned with who you truly are.
Core values aren’t a simple thing to examine, but with personal reflection, the answers are there for you to find. Keeping a journal and asking yourself what you value most in life can help. Is family the most important thing to you? Or love? What about artistic expression or contributing your time and energy to a cause you care about? These are all values you can put your time and energy into, and values that can inform the work you do in life, as well as how you spend your free time.
Other values can influence who you are as a person and how you interact with others. For example, is honesty one of your more valued traits? Or integrity? How far are you willing to go in a relationship and how much are you willing to sacrifice to maintain these traits in yourself? These are also not only questions to ask yourself, but themes to be aware of.
Putting It Into Action
There are several ways that you can take this concept and work it into your personal goals. Here are a few ideas that can help:
Create a personal mission statement. Form a statement that notes what your values are and what you hold most dear, as well as how you would like to put those values into action.
Create a simple list of important personal values.
Maintain a journal where you examine your past experiences and cultivate the lessons you’ve learned in your life, and the values you hold from those lessons.
Find What Brings You Joy
There are several goals that can bring you happiness in life, but one of the most fun—and still important—goals you can have is to discover what brings you true joy. The experience of joy can help you to stay energized and motivated, but can also help you to build resilience. Consider positive psychology research that shows how lifts in mood that come from joy and positive feelings can actually build resilience to stress and have other positive benefits. It shows how important joy is—more than just a fleeting, fun experience, but something you can build off of.
Because of this, learning what brings you joy is an important goal for your 20s. Or, if you haven’t developed an understanding of what brings you joy by the time you’ve left your 20s, this is an important goal for any time in your life. If you find that what brings you joy changes, it’s important to stay up-to-date on what currently brings you these positive feelings. If your circumstances change, be sure you’re aware of what in your current life brings you joy as well.
Putting It Into Action
The following strategies are recommended for helping you find what brings you joy:
Remember your childhood and the things that made you happy then. What stood out as exciting? What were some of your best memories? Many of those things can still bring you joy, so if you haven’t incorporated them into your life now, perhaps you should.
Expressing creativity often sparks joy. Your creative pursuits can be unique to you, whether it involves creating visual or musical art, writing, or even comedic improv. Play around, try new things, and see what you enjoy.
Talk to your friends and see what brings them joy. Try some of their favorites with them and on your own.
Try something new every day, or at least every week. Sometimes the most joy can come from the newness of an experience, and if you’re trying new things on a regular basis, you’re bound to stumble upon several things that truly make you happy.
Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses
It’s important to know what you do well and where you struggle. Your 20s can be a great time of personal discovery, and this can mean discovering your personal challenges as well as your gifts. You can use your strengths in everything you do—pursue a career that utilizes them, for example, or remind yourself of your strengths when you need to ask for what you deserve in a relationship or at a job.
You can also navigate life more realistically if you have an idea of what your personal limitations are, whether or not these are common challenges for others. For example, you may find the constancy of paperwork to be comforting and right up your alley, while some others may find it to be boring and stifling; likewise, you may find change to be exhilarating and have a desire to change jobs every few years, while some may find that to be nerve-wracking. Knowing what your strengths are can help you put them to use more easily.
Putting It Into Action
There are several ways you can examine and explore your strengths and weaknesses:
Try new things on a regular basis. See what comes easily to you and find out how far you can go with your skills.
Focus on areas that are a challenge for you. Without giving up, accept that these areas may always be a little more difficult for you. Then work to be proficient in these areas to the extent that is necessary, while still focusing on your strengths.
Look for new opportunities to put your strengths into action. This may involve trying paths you hadn’t thought of before, like taking on a job or internship in a field you didn’t necessarily go to school. Or it could take the form of dating someone who isn’t your “type,” but who may be good for you and challenge you in a positive way. Be open to new experiences and observe yourself in them.
Learn to Prioritize Self-Care
Focusing on self-care in your 20s can be as challenging as it is important. Getting enough sleep, adequate nutrition, regular exercise, and the other sometimes-mundane aspects of physical self-care can be challenging when you have a busy social, academic, or work schedule, but these things matter greatly.
Take sleep as an example: when you don’t get adequate sleep at night, you can be more susceptible to health issues and stress the next day and even face negative consequences long-term. There are many obstacles to sleep in your 20s, including social events that come up, work obligations as you start out at a job, or a rigorous academic schedule. It may seem that your 20s are not the time for sleep, and that can come in your 30s, but your 30s (and 40s and beyond) present their own challenges in terms of sleep. It’s best to learn healthy sleep habits now. The same can be said for maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and more.
Emotional self-care is similarly important. Learning healthy ways to cope, effective habits for relating to others, and perhaps even getting therapy if you feel it’s needed—these are all important goals that can help you to become your best self in your 20s. Likewise, putting these important things off can lead to greater challenges that can seem to multiply as you go.
For example, if you need to learn healthy communication for relationship care and your own emotional self-care in your 20s, putting off learning those skills can lead to greater conflict in relationships and more emotional baggage to deal with as you move into your 30s. While it’s never too late, it’s best to take care of these things early
Putting It Into Action
There are several ways you can work toward the goal of maintaining physical and emotional self-care:
Start tracking your schedule now using a tool such as Google Calendar, for example. Be sure to schedule sleep, exercise, and meals the way you would schedule any other important appointment, and adjust your other commitments if you can’t make time for basic physical self-care.
Make time for important relationships. Be sure you spend time with those who elevate you and bring you joy. Also, know when it’s time to let go of a toxic relationship. Learning to protect yourself from those who continually put you down is part of emotional self-care.
Find a form of exercise you truly enjoy and want to continue with. Because of the physical and emotional benefits of exercise, this is important to prioritize, and starting early will only bring greater benefits as you go. Try classes and workouts with friends, as well as solitary physical activities so you really know what you respond to, and then make time for this on a regular basis.
When have conflict in your relationships, focus on your own part of the conflict and change what you can. Learn communication skills that can help, and try to see things from the other person’s perspective. You don’t have to make everyone your best friend, but try to use your relationships for personal growth as much as possible.
Find What Brings You Meaning
Discovering what brings meaning to your life is a vitally important goal for anyone at any age. That is because this one goal is connected with happiness and personal well-being in so many ways. For example, positive psychology research has shown that a meaningful life can bring the highest levels of lasting happiness and contentment. Furthermore, those who bring meaning to the jobs they have—who connect what they do to concepts that are important to them and feel that what they do makes a difference—tend to be the happiest and enjoy their jobs the most. This can be true for any profession.
Discovering what brings you meaning and how you can use your personal strengths to follow this path can lead to a meaningful life. This can be an important buffer for stress and is considered an optimal goal by positive psychology researchers and many therapists. There are several ways to bring meaning to anything you do, and the first step is to really examine your life and the meaning you can bring to it.
Putting It Into Action
You can bring meaning to things you are already doing, as well as pursuing activities that inherently bring meaning to your life. Consider the following:
Volunteer for a cause you truly believe in.
Think about what you believe can make the world a better place. Consider what you might be able to do to contribute to this solution.
Examine how your job may help others, even if it just makes their lives a little easier or puts a smile on their faces. Keep this in mind when you go to work—always remember that your job makes a difference. This can be true of the way you interact with others throughout your day as well. Even a smile shared with a stranger might be the needed thing that brightens their day, and you never know who’s had an especially difficult day.
By Elizabeth Scott, MS Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD
By Elizabeth Scott, MS for verywellmind.com Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD
All the stress relief activities in the world won’t help if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Meditation won’t do you any good if you aren’t getting adequate sleep. In fact, when you try to meditate, you might doze off because you aren’t taking care of your body’s need for sleep.
Similarly, hitting the gym once in a while won’t relieve much stress if you’re only fueling your body with high-processed junk food. You need to take care of your basic needs first if you want your stress relief activities to be effective.
Self-care is vital for building resilience toward those stressors in life that you can’t eliminate. When you’ve taken steps to care for your mind and body, you’ll be better equipped to live your best life.
Unfortunately, however, many people view self-care as a luxury, rather than a priority. Consequently, they’re left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and ill-equipped to handle life’s inevitable challenges.
It’s important to assess how you’re caring for yourself in several different domains so you can ensure you’re caring for your mind, body, and spirit.
You need to take care of your body if you want it to run efficiently. Keep in mind that there’s a strong connection between your body and yourmind. When your caring for your body, you’ll think and feel better too.
Physical self-care includes how you’re fueling your body, how much sleep you’re getting, how much physical activity you are doing, and how well you’re caring for your physical needs. Attending appointments, taking medication as prescribed, and managing your health are all part of good physical self-care.1
When it comes to physical self-care, ask yourself the following questions to assess whether there might be some areas you need to improve:
Are you getting adequate sleep?
Is your diet fueling your body well?
Are you taking charge of your health?
Are you getting enough exercise?
Socialization is key to self-care. But, often, it’s hard to make time for friends and it’s easy to neglect your relationships when life gets busy.
Close connections are important to your well-being. The best way to cultivate and maintain close relationships is to put time and energy into building your relationships with others.2
There isn’t a certain number of hours you should devote to your friends or work on your relationships. Everyone has slightly different social needs. The key is to figure out what your social needs are and to build enough time in your schedule to create an optimal social life.
To assess your social self-care, consider:
Are you getting enough face-to-face time with your friends?
What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family?
The way you think and the things that you’re filling your mind with greatly influence your psychological well-being.
Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind sharp, like puzzles, or learning about a subject that fascinates you. You might find reading books or watching movies that inspire you fuels your mind.3
Mental self-care also involves doing things that help you stay mentally healthy. Practicing self-compassion and acceptance, for example, helps you maintain a healthier inner dialogue.
Here are a few questions to consider when you think about your mental self-care:
Are you making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate you?
Are you doing proactive things to help you stay mentally healthy?
Research shows that a lifestyle including religion or spirituality is generally a healthier lifestyle.
Nurturing your spirit, however, doesn’t have to involve religion. It can involve anything that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection with the universe.4
Whether you enjoy meditation, attending a religious service, or praying, spiritual self-care is important.
As you consider your spiritual life, ask yourself:
What questions do you ask yourself about your life and experience?
Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?
It’s important to have healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness. Emotional self-care may include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis.
Whether you talk to a partner or close friend about how you feel, or you set aside time for leisure activities that help you process your emotions, it’s important to incorporate emotional self-care into your life.5
When assessing your emotional self-care strategies, consider these questions:
Do you have healthy ways to process your emotions?
Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged?
Develop Your Self-Care Plan
Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your self-care plan will need to be customized to your needs.
A self-care plan for a busy college student who feels mentally stimulated all the time and has a bustling social life might need to emphasize physical self-care.
On the other hand, a retired person may need to incorporate more social self-care into their schedule to make sure that their social needs are being met.
Assess which areas of your life need some more attention and self-care. And reassess your life often. As your situation changes, your self-care needs are likely to shift too.
When you discover that you’re neglecting a certain aspect of your life, create a plan for change.
You don’t have to tackle everything all at once. Identify one small step you can take to begin caring for yourself better.
Then, schedule time to focus on your needs. Even when you feel like you don’t have time to squeeze in one more thing, make self-care a priority. When you’re caring for all aspects of yourself, you’ll find that you are able to operate more effectively and efficiently.