3 simple self-care habits to adopt in 2021

As we head further into a new year, why not make a positive change by incorporating a few self-care habits into your daily routine? According to Verywell Mind, self-care “describes a conscious act one takes in order to promote their own physical, mental and emotional health.” Here are three ideas to get you started.

1. Give your body the sleep it needs

Your body needs around seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but if you go to bed late each night or struggle to fall asleep, you could end up with a hefty sleep debt. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your memory, mood and immune system as well as increase your risk for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes (healthline.com). Plus, it can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety.

> Self-care solution. Create a relaxing night-time ritual that will help you get the good quality sleep you need – e.g. have a relaxing shower, do some gentle stretching or meditation, or read a good book before bed. Additional sleep tips include avoiding sleep disruptors like caffeine and alcohol in the evening, using soft lighting in your bedroom, and going to bed at the same time each night.

2. Spend some time in nature

Looking for practical ways to manage your stress levels? Head into the great outdoors. According to ScienceDaily, research by a team at Cornell University (and published in Frontiers in Psychology) found that “as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress.” So, how long should you spend in nature to reap maximum benefits? The team found that “10–50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.”

> Self-care solution. Make spending time in nature a regular part of your routine. Some ideas you may want to include in your routine: go for a daily walk and soak up the fresh air and sunshine, spend some time in your garden, visit a local park or botanical garden, or explore safe hiking trails in your area with a group of friends.

3. Create calm spaces in your home

As you’re probably spending a lot of time at home at the moment – and the outside world feels a little scary – why not use this opportunity to create peaceful and inviting living and working spaces?

> Self-care solution. Clutter can be the enemy of calm, so start by clearing surfaces in your home – from your desk and bedside table to your dining room table and kitchen counter. Simply sorting through and clearing visible clutter can help to create calmer spaces, and will help you gain the confidence and momentum you need to tackle larger declutter projects.

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