Self-care is more important now than it’s ever been. In fact, according to a poll by Gallup, Americans' stress levels are at the highest level they’ve ever been in a decade.
And you've probably already felt the downstream effects of that stress right now:
In this blog post, I’m sharing some simple self-care tips for women and lifestyle habits that you can introduce into any part of your life — morning, noon, and night.
I’m sharing this as a doctor who has helped thousands of women on the road to managing stress and hormonal health. And as a mom and wife who has had her own share of too many obligations, too many plates in the air, and too much stress!
Self-Care Tip #1: The Five-Minute Fix!
It’s tempting to grab your phone as soon as you wake up, check all your emails, catch up on all your notifications, and maybe even get sucked into social media scrolling … before you even get out of bed!
And once you get out of bed, you may already feel behind … running to get coffee, rushing to get the kids’ lunch packed, racing out the door, already jumping on that to-do list.
These scenarios can spike the cortisol in your body — which can affect your adrenals, blood sugar, other hormones, energy levels, and mood for the rest of the day.
So if you feel like alarms are blaring in your head … well, they are.
And as a working mom, I know how hard it can be to carve out time for “Hour of Power” or “30 Minutes To Thrive.”
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce the “Five-Minute Fix.”
Here’s the simple and easy way to start your morning off right: Set aside 5 minutes in the morning — no phones, no guilt — to write down three things that you’re grateful for.
Research from Northeastern University found that people who think of 3 good moments or things that happened the day before see considerable improvements in overall happiness — sometimes in as little as a day!
One cognitive scientist, Susan Peirce Thompson, even said, “If there were a drug that did this, whoever patented that drug would be rich.”
And when you do this exercise, your body will start producing feel-good endorphins, promoting better mood and health all day. It’s the best way to start the day and give yourself a boost of happy hormones!
Do this to set your day off in a calmer, more focused way.
Self-Care Tip #2: Give Yourself A New Kind of Endorphin Rush
Raise your hand if this feels familiar: midday rolls around, you’ve already been going and going, haven’t taken a break for lunch, haven’t had nearly enough water, and haven’t taken time for yourself.
The afternoon is the perfect time for a self-care check-in.
Remember that cortisol spike we talked about from the morning? Without intervention and planning, you’ve just gone through a massive spike of adrenaline, too. And now, your blood sugar is probably also taking a dip.
If you’re like many, you probably want a sugar fix right about now to give yourself a mood boost. Sweet coffee, carby chips, etcetera.
The problem is, eating to get happy only works for a short period of time.
And research shows the endorphins you get from stress-eating lasts for only 30 minutes… and you have hours left in the day.
So instead, try a more sustainable approach to lasting endorphins, like a short burst of physical activity.
I like to put in my headphones and do some of the office exercises the Mayo Clinic recommends.
And here are some of my favorite short burst exercises to reset:
- Wall pushups
- Walking lunges
- Desk tricep dips
- Desk push ups
- Body weight squats
And if you’re able to take a short midday walk and get some sunshine on your face, that’s even better.
Walking after meals doesn’t just help you release endorphins to power you through the rest of the day, it also improves your insulin-receptor sensitivity. This can help you keep your blood sugar more stable and help you be more energetic and in a better mood.
Just a few minutes of these exercises will produce endorphins that can last for hours and help you avoid that midday crash.
Self-Care Tip #3: Schedule A Nightly Meeting You’ll Want To Attend
As a woman, your day most likely doesn’t end when you get home. And you may find it much harder to step away or get a couple minutes to yourself. But nighttime is just as, if not more, important for you to introduce a self-care habit.
Because if you’re stressed, anxious, and still plugged in before bed, those moods can directly impact your sleep quality.
Here’s what I recommend —
Schedule self-care time and honor it just as you would any meeting. Put it on your calendar, tell your partner, kids, roommates about it, and then do it. Honor yourself by honoring that meeting.
Do something that is purely for you!
I love reading and try to dedicate at least five minutes to read a motivational or spiritual book to inspire me and put me in a good mood for the rest of the night.
And if you want to boost your bath for even more relaxation, consider adding Epsom salt to the hot water. It’s a great way to get more magnesium, which is great for reducing stress and calming your cortisol levels. I also like to drop in essential oils and burn candles for extra relaxation.
Regardless of what you choose to do with this time, make sure that it’s something you enjoy and is purely for you. Whenever I take this time for myself, I tell my kids I’m putting in my headphones to do a 10-minute meditation (I use a free app called Inside Timer). Now that it’s a regular habit for me, my kids respect and honor that time, too!
So take a bath, read a book, meditate, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy. Just don’t miss that meeting!
By doing this, you’ll be able to wrap up your night on a positive, calming note.
And when you get ready for bed and don’t want to end your night on a stressful note — asking yourself when will you ever fall asleep like the 1 in 3 Americans who struggle with sleep — consider magnesium glycinate.
Sleep is the single most restorative thing we can do to heal and help our bodies.
And studies have shown that this natural mineral can help you fall and stay asleep. You can take magnesium as a supplement, you can also eat pumpkin seeds or raw cocoa powder, which are also high in magnesium.
I hope you can try these tips and start to build a few small, daily self-care routines to help you get more rest, feel more recovered, and you can feel happier and healthier.
Do you have a self-care routine that helps you destress and relax?
Let me know in the comments!