Amid a global coronavirus pandemic that is disrupting people's health and work and family lives, self-care seems to be needed today more than ever.
Here are five small and budget-friendly actions you can take to incorporate self-care into your daily routine, as written by Tyler Calder, director of content at Girls' Night In, a weekly newsletter focused on self-care and a membership community and platform, The Lounge, designed to help power connection.
1. Drink water (and plenty of it!)
Chances are you need a lot more water than you think.
Though the amount of water each person should drink in a day depends on your age, height and where you live, most guidelines suggest the average person drink between 2.7 and 3.7 liters of H2O a day.
So how’s a person supposed to drink that much water?
One way to get it done is to carry a water bottle with you. Make sure you know how many ounces of water it holds, and fill it as many times as needed throughout the day to reach your recommended quota.
2. Check in with yourself, and write it down
Have you skipped breakfast recently? Have you made it through a whole day only to realize you forgot to shower or check in with someone you love?
It’s really easy to get caught up during a busy stretch, which is why we recommend jotting down important to-do list items, scheduling things as simple as eating and showering if you need to, and taking the time to reflect at the end of each day or week.
Checking in with yourself and building in moments of care (even in five-minute increments) can help you feel better about the course of your day or week.
If you don’t consider yourself the journaling "type," it can be as simple as answering a few simple questions every Sunday, like:
How did I feel this week on a scale of 1-5? What made me feel this way?
What could I use more of in the coming week?
What could I use less of in the coming week?
What can I do to eliminate stress next week?
3. Don't be afraid to say no
Boundary-setting is an important part of taking care because it allows you to evaluate your needs, prioritize accordingly and say no to the activities that don’t help you reach your goals.
If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed any given week, take a moment to re-calibrate. What are the things that absolutely need to get done versus the things that should get done but can wait?
If your body is saying you’re too tired to workout four times this week, stop at three and congratulate yourself for getting three done in the first place. If taking your kids to a play date means jeopardizing nap time, reschedule.
Real friends will understand that sometimes it’s okay to make the decisions that are right for you and your family, even when you may feel pressure to say yes to an invite or event.
4. Talk to your people
Speaking to your community -- whether it’s a friend, family member, or someone who just gets you -- is a great opportunity to take care and feed your soul a little bit.
While it may be tempting to assume that people who talk about "self-care" are just referring to moments of pampering, it’s about so much more than that.
Though spa days can be fun, self-care at its core means giving your mind and body what it needs, and if you’re really in need of a good chat, a long walk with a friend, or catching up with someone you dearly miss, that also counts as self-care.
Don’t be scared to call a faraway friend, send a "thinking of you" text, or even write a letter that could make you feel closer to someone you enjoy or admire.
5. Practice gratitude and give back
In the heat of feeling overwhelmed or just plain tired, we find that showing gratitude can sometimes spark positivity when things are just plain blah.
Take a moment to jot down three things you’re thankful for every day. When things get tough, you’ll have these items – no matter how small – to remind you it’s not all bad.
If you’re not in the mood to reflect or "try to find the good in things," be the good. Finding an opportunity to give back is always a nice way to step outside yourself, connect with others, have genuine conversations about something you care about, learn, and grow.
Yep -- it counts as self-care.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on July 24, 2019.