It was a crazy cold weekend here in Toronto and the deep freeze is continuing today! It’s -22 in Toronto but feeling more like -34! Ouch! And on top of that it’s supposed to be “Blue Monday” today – the day that is known to be “the most depressing day of the year”. How do we deal with these two gloomy things?
So I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and let’s talk a bit about self-care. I’ve been meaning to address this new buzz word “self-care” for a while and feel today seems like the perfect time. You see, taking time to take care of ourselves is so essential to our happiness and to us living our best life. But I get it, it’s hard and who really has the time. A lot of us have busy jobs, busy lives and are busy taking care of everyone else – our kids, our spouse, elderly parents, friends, the list can go on! But guess what, if we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves first, we won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
Self-care shouldn’t be a one-time event, a chore, a day of the week, or even a “buzz word” for that matter. Self-care is about taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s about putting yourself first and taking care of your needs every day. And these needs are as basic or complex as you make them and they are different for each and every one of us. For many of us, including us busy moms, it could be as simple as just making sure you have something healthy to eat for breakfast and getting your day started with a bit more energy.
So let’s make it a habit to take care of yourself every day! I’ve got a few simple self-care tips and ideas to get you out of the Blue Monday rut and also help you show yourself the love you need, not just today but every day.
Tip #1 – Get active
Get out of bed and just get out there (even if it’s freezing)! Getting a little bit of fresh air and taking a quick walk will not only give you a bit of a jolt, it will clear your head and also boost your mood. Try to get in 20-30 minutes of some form of exercise. Take a walk, take a new class at the gym or even try some online yoga at home. Don’t think of exercise as something you can just do at the gym. For example, instead of sitting at your desk during your break, take a 10 minute walk and see how good you feel after! Do this three times and you just logged in your 30 minutes!
Tip #2 – Drink more water
First of all I’m going to admit that I’m the worst when it comes to drinking water. There were days that would pass where I would be lucky if I even had 1 glass of water all day. Don’t do this! I’ve changed my ways and what a difference! It’s a known fact that when we’re even a little dehydrated we feel crummy. Aim to drink 6-8 8oz. glasses of water every day. Also try eating your water by adding in water-rich foods like cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, strawberries and blueberries to your diet.
Tip #3 – East something healthy
Instead of reaching for our typical comfort junk food like take-out, chips, chocolate and candy which will actually make us feel a lot worse, try having something healthy to eat. Try and plan ahead on what your healthy meals will be for the week – yes, think about having a plan for what you can make for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week and stock up on healthy fruits, vegetables and lean meats and fish. Also have some go-to recipes for when you are in a bind. And eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard or take a long time. Check out my post on Easy & Healthy 30 Minute Meals for some ideas. And like I said before, don’t forget to have breakfast! You need fuel to get the day started right!
Tip #4 – Get enough sleep
A lot of us don’t get enough sleep and that leaves us feeling groggy, irritable and just plain crappy the next day. As a mom of two, getting a good night’s sleep has been hard but it’s so important to our well-being. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night – and yes that means no more midnight Netflix or scrolling through your Instagram feed before bed! For better sleep try and limit your screen time before bed and at a minimum shut down an hour before bed.
Tip #5 – Talk to a friend
With the holidays over and it being so cold out there, we tend to stay in and isolate ourselves a bit. Pick up the phone and re-connect with a friend. Or better yet, instead of having your lunch at your desk go out for lunch with a friend. Getting social and talking with someone you trust, can confide in and have a good relationship with will make a huge difference in your happiness.
TIP #6 – Do something fun
Do you remember when you were a kid and you did something that you loved like playing at the park? How happy and great did you feel? Well, it’s the same as an adult. Do something that’s fun for you and that you enjoy! Have a mini dance party in your living room, listen to your favourite music, heck even sing! Do something creative like taking pictures or painting. Or if fun to you is a bit more low key watch a movie, binge watch some Netflix, read a book or light some candles and take a bath. The important thing is that you are doing something that makes you happy.
Tip #7 – Do an act of kindness
Try and do one nice thing today. It could be as simple as a hello to a stranger who looks like they need it, helping someone out with something they’re working on or even volunteering to do something in your community. They say “do good, feel good” – why not give it a shot today!
Tip #8 – Put a pause on things
Practice saying “no” or “later” and putting yourself at the top of your list. I know we feel we need to get it all done and we have our t-do lists, but instead of trying to cram it all in, sometimes it’s ok to prioritize and put a pause on some things. You may even decide not do something at all. Instead of running around, what about taking a break to curl up on the couch tonight, wrap yourself in a warm throw, put on those cozy socks and do something that you find relaxing like watching a movie or reading a book. Prioritize you first!
Tip #9 – Clear your mind
Sometimes all the ideas, good or bad, floating in your head can cause stress, anxiety and worry or just too much excitement – there is such a thing! Clear your mind by writing things down. If you are upset about something get it off your chest and out of your head by writing it down. The simple act of writing things down helps you better understand how you are feeling and get control over your emotions. The same goes for those positive thoughts – sometimes you just need to write them down to feel like you have a bit of a plan on even the most exciting things. Another great way to clear your mind is to try deep breathing or meditation. And you don’t need it to be expensive or add more stress by having to go to another class. There are some great Meditation apps that can guide you through it right at home. Try downloading Calm or my personal favourite Headspace.
Tip #10 – Think Positive & Be grateful
Get yourself a journal that you can add to every night before bed. Write down 5 things that were good today and 5 things that you are grateful for in your life. It will help you minimize the negativity you may be feeling, eliminate some of the stress and put you into more of a positive mood.
So instead of climbing back in under the covers and hiding, I find the best way to deal with this weather, “Blue Monday” and life in general is to just deal with it head on. Self-care does take time and practice but eventually if you do keep prioritizing yourself it will become a routine and a habit. Practice some self- care by starting off with a couple of these tips and then try and incorporate some more. Focus on you and let’s make it a “Happy Monday” today and a bit more of a happy day every day!