I don’t feel like I’m alone when I say that while certain aspects of my self-care routine flourished during Covid, some others completely fell to the wayside. I may have suddenly had time for a 15 step skincare routine, but my sleep schedule got all screwed up and I was eating horribly because well…I was bored. I also definitely overdid it on the wine and wasn’t moving my body as much as I’m used to.
So I’ve recommitted myself to doing the things that make me feel my best and doing them consistently, like getting outside. Here are 7 tips that work for me. I encourage you to find what works for you and what makes you feel your best. Hopefully this list can inspire you!
Drink The H2O
I know I’m supposed to drink water throughout the day and I know I feel better when I do, but somehow I still forget. It’s hotly debated how much water we should actually be drinking, but I personally aim for 72oz. That means filling up my 24oz water bottle 3 times minimum per day (and of course, drinking it all). I start right after breakfast and sip as I sit at my work desk. Here’s my big tip — every time I refill my water bottle, I put a scrunchie or hair tie around the bottle. I keep some in my kitchen drawer for just this purpose — the stretched-out ones I don’t use anymore. And then toward the end of the day, if I don’t have two hair ties on my bottle, I know I’ve fallen short.
Get Some ZZZZs
We all need sleep, it’s when and where our bodies heal and recover from the stresses and yuck of life. Plus sleep is delicious and I have no idea why I fought it as a toddler. I personally feel my best when I stick to a sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Not getting enough sleep makes me feel similar to being hungover (I’m so old) and it makes me really unproductive. So I use a sleep tracker to monitor how long and how well I sleep. I used to use a handy app called Pillow, but I recently upgraded to a new Tempur-Pedic mattress that has a sleep tracker built right in! Technology, say what? Tip — tracking your sleep regularly will help you figure out certain things that may be affecting your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Certain foods, alcohol, late-night phone scrolling, whatever. Keep track in your app and you’ll soon find the culprit!
Covid quarantine for me was a bake fest and a nightly cooking show in my kitchen. I made four-course meals every night, baked every day, and snacked all day. OOF. Lately, I’ve gotten back on track to the way of eating that I know from experience makes me feel my best. I don’t like restrictive diets or calorie counting, I prefer balance. Years ago I read Kelly LeVeque’s Body Love book and while I don’t follow her diet specifically, she did teach me that my plate at every single meal should be balanced. Once I’ve covered my nutrient needs, I let myself have anything else I really want. Often, once my body has what it really needs, the cravings are gone. But if not, I’m gonna have that cookie. So my tip — this works for me because it’s easy to remember. I make sure every meal has FFPP. This stands for Fat, Fiber, Plants, and Protein. I stick with this even for something as simple as a smoothie, I always make sure I have all 4. By fat, I’m meaning healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, ghee, nuts, etc. Fiber could be whole grains, oats, chia seeds, flax oil (fat and fiber), beans, etc. Plants are, well, plants — fruits or veggies. And protein could be meat, cheese (that’s fat too), nut butter (also fat too), quinoa, etc.
Eat Good Food
Again, I don’t restrict. No food is a bad food to me and nothing is off limits. I’ve spent time trying lots of different foods, meal plans, and recipes to find meals that have the nutrients my body needs but that I also love. If I don’t like something, I don’t eat it. Period. It’s not that hard to find super delicious food that is also nutritious. Tip — Figure out what you like that meets your body’s needs. Don’t force yourself to eat cardboard-textured food or meal services you hate or even just chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for every meal (unless you’re into that).
Move It or Lose It!
I’m a relatively active person, but I can definitely spend the whole day binge-watching TV and being a potato. Thankfully, my two dogs would NEVER let me miss a morning walk. I don’t like spending hours in a gym or doing workouts that bore me. I lose interest fast. So here’s my tip — find a way to get your body moving that is actually fun for you. Dance party in the living room? Bike ride through your neighborhood? Hiking? Whatever you enjoy is something you’ll stick with. I personally get the most benefit from being outside in nature — that’s good for me physically AND mentally so I prefer walking, biking, and hiking. Find what you love and it won’t be a chore.
This ties into my last tip. We are not meant to sit inside under fluorescent lights all day. Or to lay on our sofas all day. I’m all for a pajama day, but not days on end. Tip — get outside every day, even if you just sit on the grass in your yard. Have your coffee out on the deck, listening to the birds. Go for a short walk on your lunch break or take your lunch outside — anything that will make you get outside goes!
I remember when my son was a toddler he sucked his thumb. His dad was super worried about it and wanted to try different methods to get him to stop. But I knew he would stop when he was ready. He was self-soothing, a way for him to comfort himself and decompress from his day. And that’s healthy. Even as adults we need ways to decompress at the end of the day that are healthy — not with alcohol or other substances (even food). Tip — find what calms you and try and do it as often as you need to. For me, that’s a hot bubble bath with a good book. Or quiet time and a murder show. My husband plays a card game on his phone, it helps his anxious mind shut down for a few moments of respite from his stress. Pay attention to what you gravitate towards when you are looking for comfort and explore how you can make that activity a calming ritual.
What are your keys to feeling like your best self? Let us know below!
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