When you board an airplane, the first thing that flight attendants tell you is that, in case of emergency, you’re supposed to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. This same principle applies to life in general. You have to take care of yourself first or you won’t have anything to give.
Let’s unpack a few key ways to recharge your batteries so you’re able to share your best self with this world. Incorporate these practices now, while you have some time to focus your energy on yourself, and you’ll be ready to handle whatever the new school year throws your way.
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. Every day. No excuses. This means that if you’re 150 lbs, you’re going to drink 75 ounces of water a day. Yes, you’ll be running to the bathroom a LOT. That’s the whole point. You’ll be flushing out your system while hydrating for optimal cell function, increased energy levels, skin health, and more.
- Move your body for 30 minutes a day. You have 24 hours in a day. You can find 30 minutes. You don’t have to do high-intensity interval training or go for a run. I’m just saying to move. This could mean taking a walk. Dancing with your three-year-old. Whatever. Just MOVE. You’ll feel happier and more satisfied because of the dopamine it will produce in your brain.
- Find alone time. Introvert, extrovert…we all need some alone time. Solitude is so important to actually hear our own thoughts, and tune into our needs. Try to carve out 15 minutes a day to just be with yourself. Silence will make the time all that sweeter.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This is another non-negotiable. This doesn’t mean get 7-9 hours of sleep on your best nights. It means get 7-9 hours all of the nights. The point is to create a routine, to help get your whole body in sync. Your circadian rhythm — your natural sleep and wake cycle — affects your cells and your organs and everything else in your body — and when it’s off, not only will you not feel your best, but your likelihood for mental illness and disease increases. Sleep more and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Your body and mind will thank you.
- Eat healthy, whole foods. Summer is the perfect time to get into the habit of eating wholesome, fresh, organic foods. Head over to the farmers market and fill your basket with a rainbow of goodies. The more bright colors the merrier. Eating clean is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. It lowers risk for cancer, manages diabetes, prevents heart attack and stroke, and helps you lose weight, enhances mood and memory, improves gut health…the list goes on and on. There’s really nothing that a healthful diet can’t do. So swap out your chips for some snappy raw veggies and let the good times roll.
- Unplug. Take ample time away from all the screens in your life. Yes, binging on Netflix feels relaxing. But it’s crucial to have some time unwinding while you’re actually engaged in a ritual of self-care. Think bubble bath or sipping a steaming cup of tea with some calming music in the background.
They’re simple. They don’t take a lot of time. And they aren’t novel concepts. But you need to know they are things you absolutely MUST DO to properly care for yourself. Don’t settle for anything less than a life that incorporates every single one of these practices into every single day. You deserve them. And the world deserves the best version of you!
Remember, you are not really going to be much good for anyone else in your life if you are depleted, lacking energy, or are in a state of constant irritability. Put your own mask on first, so you have enough fuel to actually support everything and everyone else in your world.