“You should take better care of yourself.”
That phrase is incredibly common. We’ve said to our friends, we’ve heard it from our loved ones, and we’ve said it to ourselves.
But even still, human beings just aren’t that great at putting their needs first.
Here’s a quick example:
Did you know that people take better care of their dogs than themselves?
Take your dog to the vet, get instructions to give him two pills at different times with food, and you’ll hit his schedule like you were his personal assistant.
Go to the doctors yourself, listen to them tell you to add more fiber to your diet, and you’re taking jello-shots at the bar that same afternoon.
We’ve been there.
We can admit we aren’t always the best at taking care of ourselves, but that just means it’s time to finally make us a priority.
Here’s to start…
1. Get Enough Sleep
That’s how much sleep the average adult should be getting. And listen, we don’t care if you’re a Nas-Acolyte screaming “sleep is the cousin of death” and swearing you’re good on four hours “tops.”
If you want to function properly—and that means mentally and physically—you need to make sure you’re getting the proper amount of sleep every night.
If you don’t, you’re very likely to gain weight, do significant harm to your immune system, and in the worse cases, die.
So, if you want to feel and look better, but more importantly, give yourself the greatest favor you can receive, go to bed.
2. Eat Right
Next up, food.
This may seem like a no-brainer. If we were to ask people to rank “food, sex, and sleep” food and sleep would be tied for first place.
The problem isn’t a lack of eating. It’s what we’re choosing to eat.
Unlike the old food pyramid taught in schools, you do not want to stuff your faces with meats, cheese, grains, and dairy products.
Without even getting into the deeper specifics of gluten digestion and the difficulty of breaking down certain complex carbohydrates, if you don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits you’re depriving your body of essential vitamins, nutrients, and fibers.
If you want to eat better and have more energy for the day, focus on leafy green and cruciferous vegetables (salad, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). You’ll also want to portion out your meals to favor simple carbs like rice, and smaller portions of meat.
When in doubt, just eat more veggies.
3. Build Breaks into Your Life
Although we’ve written about this before pretty extensively, in the words of Ferris Bueler:
“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around every once in a while, you might miss it.”
We know how easy it is for millennials to stay one-track minded on earning more money, gaining more achievements, and trying to solve the world’s problems.
However, if you don’t build a solid break into your life, you will eventually burn out. And unfortunately, the longer you go, the harder the crash.
So, whether it’s a plan to take a vacation or simply allowing a weekend to go *gasp* unplanned, know that it’s okay to take a step away. We promise the world will keep turning just fine.
4. Read More
Did you know that reading can reduce anxiety, lower depression, and actually make you smarter?
Hours of entertainment are locked behind those pages and the best thing about reading is that you have to actively focus and engage with the text in order to keep the story moving.
Unlike TV or film where you can sit and passively experience entertainment, reading requires a concerted effort.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
Another benefit of reading is that it helps you disconnect from the real world. Which, now more than ever, seems to be increasingly necessary.
So, give your brain a chance to be in someone else’s head for a change by diving into a good book.
5. Get Out and Get Active
We really can’t stress this one enough.
Stop what you’re doing right now and go outside. Just go take a walk down the street and come back. We promise we’ll be here waiting for you.
There’s a certain magic to leaving the confines of our own quarters—the safety and security a home presents—and venturing out into the world.
Whether that world looks like your neighborhood streets, and urban city center, or a walk through a wooded park, stepping out into the world can be both a challenge a treat.
It forces you to get out of your own shell and interact with the world. And for us introverts, although this sudden rush of people—or in nature, the wild—can seem chaotic and out of our control, it’s because it is.
By freely venturing out into the natural chaos and unpredictability of the world, we strengthen our hearts and our minds with a sharper, yet more empathetic exterior.
6. Set Goals for Yourself
If you’ve got no goals for yourself, you’ve got no purpose.
And if you’ve got no purpose in your life, time will move fast and slow at the same time, and the only thing that can fill that void will be things that shouldn’t.
As human beings, we need a direction to follow or we will become lost. And often, that ends up meaning depressed.
If you want to take better care of yourself, start by giving yourself a goal and purpose in your life. Even if you don’t know what that greater purpose is, create an immediate short-term goal (“I want to learn how to play this song on the guitar”) and get after it.
Knock down one domino then go for the next one.
Do that enough times and you’ll have had a pretty fulfilling life by the end.
7. Learn to Be Alone
This one is last because it’s easily the most important.
You’d be surprised how many people find it difficult to live without the presence of immediate family, friends, or significant other.
And we get it.
One of the key benefits of having relationships with other people is the fact that you can lean on them when you need to. They offer a system of support that you can depend on. However, for those who have only had that support system, being alone and on one’s own all of a sudden can feel almost life-threatening.
In those instances, people hop in and out of relationships, make fast and shallow friendships, and have a psychological need to be liked.
This mindset can lead to serious self-esteem issues.
Find a hobby that you can do alone and in peace.
Then do it often.
Turn your phone off, don’t hop on the Internet, etc. Completely devote yourself to something that only affects you. It can be a hike alone in the woods, laying on a beach, or planting a garden in the backyard.
The goal is to be okay with just one’s self.
Make peace with the person you see in the mirror and taking better care of yourself will be just the start.
You’ll be president in no time.