By Lea Mercado
Web Content Assistant Manager
In full transparency, I’m horrible at self-care. Like, face-mask-in-eyes and fell-asleep-while-meditating type of bad. While I know it is the only thing that stands between the average college student and academic burnout, for me, it somehow manages to feel like another assignment at the top of the pile.
Since 2020, people have been more determined than ever to take care of themselves. This is evident through events like quarantine fitness booms and growing amounts of mindfulness and spirituality practice. But despite the increase, many just don’t have the time or resources to afford our traditional, romanticized ideas of what self-care looks like. Wellness has grown to be something that many continuously chase after due to its often-unobtainable nature (I’m looking at you $7 green juices).
Taking care of our bodies and mental health shouldn’t feel like a privilege or something that has to be perfectly ideal and lush. That is why I’ve gathered a few of my favorite (easy) wellness habits that have made me slightly better at simply being a person.
Start Your Morning Off Right
As conscious human beings, many of us have inherited the talent of overcomplicating simple things. One of those things is starting your day. While technology allows us to monitor our sleep and wake up at an optimal time, waking up well-rested and refreshed is pretty useless if the first thing you reach for is your phone.
Instead, shift your focus to how your body is feeling and find a simple, small, way to meet one of your needs. This can be a focused stretch of a sore limb from a good night’s rest or just drinking some water to jump-start your body. What matters most is that it is intentional.
There’s Comfort in Routine
Today, spontaneity is often associated with happiness. We think that perhaps we might find fulfillment in doing something drastic like getting bangs or suddenly converting a van and living life off-grid. But truly, there is nothing like having an activity that you know you can look forward to every day.
For me, it’s the process of manually grinding coffee beans for my morning cup. For others, it can be a sweet treat at the end of the day or keeping a gym routine.
As long as it makes your day a little bit better, do it! Permission isn’t needed for the kindness already owed to yourself.
Hack Your Hormones
Don’t worry, we won’t be touching on biotechnology. Instead, consider this as playing to your strengths, or rather, hormones. Have you ever wondered why a small treat provides the perfect end to a long day? Because the taste of the sweet reward mixed with the satisfaction of a job well done triggers a rush of dopamine to the brain. This reward hormone is what makes us often feel like we’re on top of the world after clearing off the to-do list or finishing an intense Netflix binge.
Along with dopamine is a beautiful array of other hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin which leave us feeling happy and dazed. As with anything that is a part of us, it is really important to understand how our hormones affect us and also communicate what we need.
To make things more convenient, I made a cheat sheet full of healthy ways to manage these hormones to your advantage.
I call them, “The Happy Hormone Checklists”
I hope some of these habits can make their way into your self-care routine (or lack thereof) and remember, you owe it to yourself!
Featured Image by Lea Mercado.