Daily self-care doesn’t need to be complicated.
Self-care isn’t always about elaborate at-home spa nights. In fact, integrating small self-care habits into your daily routine has a much more significant impact on how you look and feel compared to one night of luxury a month.
By practicing daily self-care habits you’ll be able to combat stress more easily, improve your overall health, and simply enjoy life more since you’ll feel better inside and out.
Here are 10 easy things you can do on a daily basis to help you be the best you can be.
1. Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
One of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being is ensuring you get enough sleep every night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Averaging eight hours of restful sleep every night will improve your memory, help your immune system function, manage your appetite during the day, and decrease your risks of a number of health conditions. You’ll feel more energized and alert, and your skin, especially around your eyes, will look more youthful.
2. Follow your instincts and stretch after waking up.
Have you noticed that you instinctively want to stretch when you wake up? This is your body’s way of waking up your muscles after rest. Post-sleep stretching helps protect against injury and energizes you for the day ahead. Purposefully stretching after waking up is really easy and only takes a couple of minutes. In fact, you can even do morning stretches (like these) while you’re still in bed.
3. Restrict your soda habit and keep water by your side.
Soda might just be one of the worst things you can drink—yes, even diet soda. Aside from the health-related issues associated with soda, habitually drinking soda is also far more likely to cause tooth decay issues. Ditch the soda habit and start keeping a water bottle by your side at all times. Not only will you feel less bloated and more energized, but you might even find that some side-effects like headaches or dry skin disappear.
4. Keep your skin moisturized and wear sunscreen daily.
Clear, beautiful skin starts with two important things—keeping moisturized and using sunscreen. Dry skin can not only feel itchy, but it also makes you look older than you are. Sun exposure can also wreak havoc on your skin by causing wrinkles, sun spots, discoloration, and even skin cancer. Remember to always use sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF daily, even if it’s a cloudy winter day, as one of your self-care habits.
Don’t forget to keep your lips moisturized and protected with an SPF lip balm.
5. Brighten your smile with professional teeth whitening.
Time and time again studies show that a bright, white smile plays a positive role in success—whether it’s at work, in a relationship, or first impressions with strangers. If you feel self-conscious about your smile, investing in a teeth whitening treatment is a quick way to boost your confidence.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are safe and highly effective. Millennium Dental offers Zoom!, an in-office whitening system that takes you from stained and yellow to a brilliant white in a single appointment lasting less than two hours.
6. Take a five-minute laugh break during stressful days.
The old adage “laughter is the best medicine” isn’t far off from the truth at all. In fact, regular laughing sessions help manage a huge number of physical and psychological ailments.
When you’re experiencing a stressful day, one of the best things you can do to turn your mindset around and relieve tension is to take a five-minute laugh break by watching or reading something amusing. Studies show that simply watching cute cat videos relieves anxiety, sadness, and even irritability.
7. Refresh your breath and banish bacteria after meals.
Freshening up your breath after a meal is a quick way to feel better, especially when you might have indulged in something garlicky or equally strong smelling. But rather than grabbing your toothbrush, consider chewing gum instead.
Brushing too soon after a meal, especially if you have eaten something sweet or acidic, can actually cause damage to your enamel. A better option is to chew sugar-free xylitol gum. This type of gum reduces bacteria and, therefore, helps prevent tooth decay. Some great options include Orbit Sugarfree, Eclipse Sugarfree, and Trident Sugarfree.
8. Practice posture improving exercises at home and work.
Weak posture can cause a number of issues, particularly back and neck pain. Practicing proper posture can be easily done through a series of exercises (like these), and the results are well worth the effort.
With proper posture comes a healthier body, a stronger core and back, and the confidence that occurs when standing tall and proud. An added bonus is many people find they look slimmer when walking, standing, and sitting with proper posture.
9. Set aside 20 minutes every day for physical activity.
If there is one thing you can add to your daily routine that will truly help you feel and look better it’s physical activity.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity a week. Break this down into just 20 to 30 minutes per day and you’re good to go. Staying active and exercising daily isn’t just about maintaining a healthy weight and feeling good about yourself physically. You’re also going to be reducing stress, relieving anxiety, improving your quality of sleep, and more.
10. Eat at least one home-cooked, healthy meal every day.
Home-cooked meals are usually the first thing to go when life gets busy and hectic, which is unfortunate due to the health benefits of home cooking. Relying on fast food, eating out, and consuming quick, processed meals will eventually take their toll on your health. You might feel sluggish and tired, bloated, or even find yourself experiencing heartburn and digestive issues more frequently. Not to mention indulging in rich sweet food can also harm your teeth.
If you’re too busy or tired to cook at home, one of the self-care habits you should start is having at least one home-cooked, healthy meal every day. This will relieve the stress of getting back to full-time cooking at home, but also ensures you have at least one nutritionally balanced meal every day.
Take a proactive approach to protect your health.
You have to take care of yourself before you’re able to take care of others.
Take a proactive approach to protect your health by practicing self-care on a daily basis, developing new healthy, self-care habits, and maintaining regular check-ups with your healthcare professionals. Getting an annual physical with your doctor is typical, but be sure to schedule a check-up with your dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam.