I was raised to believe that you had to work hard to have the life of your dreams. For me, that used to mean 15-hour days ghostwriting, not eating right, and sometimes skipping the gym. At first, I thought it was okay because I was working toward becoming a best-selling author. I thought that having a dozen writing clients who were pulling me in every direction would be the thing that brought me closer to being a successful writer. It didn’t.
I wasn’t taking care of myself. I started thinking that going to the gym was an unnecessary nuisance, when in reality it was the thing that would give my body the energy it needed to sustain long days of research and edits.
It came as quite a shock when I woke up one day with a massive headache and couldn’t get out of bed. The productive day I had planned wasn’t going to happen. My body was saying enough is enough, and I needed to rest.
All I see when I’m scrolling through my social media is how important it is to work hard so that I can reach my goals. I saw some of my young friends opening up businesses and getting up at 5 a.m. to create their own version of success and working harder than ever.
There is nothing wrong with working hard as long as you remember to take care of yourself too. If you don’t, you inevitably will burn out and that can put your health at risk. Self-care should be part of your daily experiences because you deserve it, and your body needs it. Here are a few easy ways to love yourself that take no time at all.
Start a morning ritual
One thing that I do when I first get up in the morning is to take the first 15-30 minutes of my day just to wake up slowly and focus on the day ahead of me. I make myself a cup of coffee, sit down, and take a moment to enjoy life before my day gets busy. I like to practice meditation and journal in the morning so that I start the day off on a positive note.
Make working out a priority
I used to spend every day in the boxing ring because it was important to me to be fit and strong. But the busier I got with my writing career, the less I found myself in the gym. Boy, does your body notice it after awhile. So, prioritize heading to the gym, even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day. There are mountains of research that back up the fact that exercise reduces stress, helps you sleep better, and is overall just great for your health. Whether it’s lifting weights or practicing yoga, working out is important because it will give you more energy to master your goals.
Stop scrolling and read more
I love grabbing scary stories like Stephen King’s “IT” and settling under the covers. It’s one of the most relaxing things that I can do for myself. Reading distracts my mind from all the things I have on my to-do list and gives me a bit of a break. Studies have shown that reading can reduce stress by 68% and can actually help to battle depression. Plus, sometimes we need to unplug from technology for a bit.
Spend some time in nature
To be honest, I found this one a little hard because I’m not a nature person. But there is something to be said for going to the waterfront or sitting under a tree in a park. I love taking a book and sitting in the park to people watch. I can enjoy the fresh air, listen to the birds chirping, and take in the natural wonders around me. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, try a weekend of camping or going for a hike in your local state park. Nothing will have you loving yourself more than connecting with nature. It’s a peaceful way to take a moment for yourself and to appreciate the world around you.