In today’s culture “self-care” is a popular idea, but people still have a hard time grasping exactly what that means. September is National Self-Care Awareness Month, so we wanted to take the time to lay out some ways you can take a moment for you every day.

1. Prioritize sleep. 

A lack of a good night’s sleep is something that can affect your energy levels and mood the next day. One way to help ensure you’re getting the best sleep you can is by making your bed a space only for sleep. That means no checking your phone, watching one more episode of TV or finishing up work when you lie down. 

2. Listen to yourself.

Always saying “yes” to others is the easiest way to burn yourself out. Learn to listen to yourself, and say “no” when you need to. It might help to write all your events for the week on a calendar and then once you reach a certain number, stop yourself from going over.

One of the biggest factors in feeling as though you always need to be doing something is social media. Instead of spending the night scrolling through your feed, plan your own fun: make your favorite dinner, read a book or watch a new movie.

3. Stay organized.

Clutter in your mind and your home can lead to extra stress and anxiety. If your house is feeling a little out of balance, take a day to rearrange and clean out old items that you do not need or want anymore and donate them. Here are some local places you can take different things:  

  • Hillcrest Thrift Store
  • Scraps KC
  • City Thrift
  • Blessed Dress KC
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
  • Uplift
  • Heart-n-Hand Thrift Store

Help to clear out thoughts that might be cluttering your mind by starting a journal. You don’t need to make it a daily routine, but keep your journal handy for when you need to release some stress.

If you are stressed from work, make a list of all of the things you need to get done in the order of most important to least. This will help you focus on one task at a time, and crossing off items from your list will be a reward in itself. 

4. Make time for nature. 

Getting fresh air is not just a cliche; it also has some great benefits, including

  • Improves short-term memory
  • Restores mental energy
  • Stress relief
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves concentration
  • Sharpens creativity
  • Boosts immune system

Schedule time every day to have a quick walk or just to be outside for a few minutes. 

Self-Care vs. Struggles 

When your life becomes extra hectic, remembering to take time for yourself can be challenging. But getting burnt out makes everything even harder! In order to balance all of the demands on your time, you must be at your best – physically and mentally. Practicing self-care is a great way to start! Make a commitment this month to prioritize YOU and make this your best month yet.