#SelfCareSunday hacks the weekend so you can recharge for the week ahead. But why save self-care only for Sunday? Dr. Meredith Watson, an OBGYN with Orlando Health Physician Associates, thinks nurturing body and soul should be a daily deal.
“My number one rule is ‘Make time for yourself,’ ” she says. “Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Everyone can find at least 15 minutes in their day, every day, to devote to self-care.”
A Dozen Ways to Practice Self-Care Daily
Self-care is necessary - not self-indulgent! These biohacks work wellness into every day.
Although guys are more in the groove than ever before, helping around the house and with the kids, it’s women who continue to shoulder the bulk of everyday duties. “I tell my patients, if you don’t make yourself a priority and take care of yourself each and every day, then who will take care of everyone else when you go down?’ ” says Dr. Watson. “It’s hard sometimes for women to believe they are worth it.”
But we are. And hitting the pause button on your day doesn’t have to be complicated. To commit to self-care, schedule time each day to focus on yourself. Put it on the calendar, if you have to. When the time comes, walk around the block, listen to a podcast, take a bath or grab some crayons and color. Meditate. Call a friend for a quick chat. Take a power nap.
“Everyone is so stressed and tired, but it is important to your mental health to take time for you,” says Dr. Watson. “Giving yourself permission to shake off stress is healthy, not indulgent.”
For some, working out is as meditative for the mind as it is good for the body. “Exercise is not a luxury,” says Dr. Watson, who suggests hitting the gym, doing yoga or pounding the pavement at least 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week. “Set a goal of exercising for six days a week. You will begin to feel better — mentally and physically — almost immediately.”
Good nutrition also can affect self-wellness. “Weight concerns are more than aesthetic, they can create or signal health issues,” says Dr. Watson. “When patients want to modify their behavior with food, I suggest they make one better choice each day — add a piece of fruit or another veggie. Bypass the extra cookies.”
If one food choice change a day seems too stressful, no problem. Aim instead for one big change a week. “If you are a soda drinker, cut out soda for a week and see how it goes,” says Dr. Watson. “Or swap soda for water, which is a healthier beverage.”
In addition to eliminating sugary empty calories, drinking more water helps cleanse toxins from the body and improves skin tone, circulation and digestion. “Most women are dehydrated and don’t realize it,” says Dr. Watson. “I keep a water bottle with me during the day. If I see it, I will drink and refill it.”
While lighting candles, soaking in a tub and doing a face mask currently get the bigger #SelfCareSunday play, scheduling your wellness exams, bloodwork and annual physical are essential — yet often overlooked — self-care biohacks.
“Routine maintenance, while it may seem ‘boring,’ is important because it allows us to catch health issues early, before they become too serious,” says Dr. Watson, who suggests partnering with your docs and being your own patient advocate. “Know your family health history, fill out the paperwork we give you and be detailed in your discussions.
“The danger for women is we put off important, health-related things longer than we should,” she adds. “But preventive screenings such as well-woman exams, colonoscopies, bloodwork and mammograms are a huge part of self-care.”
The doctor also advises you listen to your body. Note the monthly patterns of your menstrual cycle to understand PMS, ovulation or menopausal symptoms. Commit to getting more sleep, increasing by 10 minutes a night until you reach the adult recommendation of 7-9 hours nightly. Take your vitamins.
Most importantly, enjoy life. Use the good china, the expensive perfume, the beautiful lingerie, even if you sleep alone.
“Life is short,” says Dr. Watson. “It’s OK to have that yummy piece of cake once a week. It’s OK to have an indulgent dinner with your girlfriend or partner once a month. Don’t deprive yourself. It’s about balance.
“We need more than one day a week to self-focus,” adds the doctor. “If a woman is not taking care of her health — the internal workings of her heart, her lungs, if she isn’t getting enough sleep or drinking enough water or eating healthy — then it doesn’t matter what the outside package looks like …or how many apps are on her phone.”
Apps That Can Help
Don’t think you can go it alone? No need. Use your smart phone and self-care apps to dial more wellness into your week. Comprehensive and customizable, a bevy of self-care apps at both Google Play and the App Store can help calm you down, modify behavior, break old patterns and form healthy new habits.
Happiness Apps: Find your happy place with mood trackers, daily challenges and journaling prompts.
- Gratitude Journal
Health Apps: Body monitors to calm down, sleep better and track your hormones.
- Calm App
- Sleep Cycle
- Flo Period & ovulation tracker
- Glow Ovulation
Exercise Apps: Effective workouts to boost cardio and stretch muscles that fit your schedule.
- Yoga Studio
- Workout for WOMEN
Meditation Apps: Guided mindfulness to reduce stress, improve focus, sleep better and relax faster.
- 10% Happier
- Simple Habit?
Nutrition Apps: Log food, analyze product nutrition, track calories and boost water intake for healthier habits.
- My Water Balance
- Daily Water