City Year AmeriCorps members give their all, day in and day out, for their students and communities. At times, being passionate about and fully invested in your work leaves little time for yourself. Not only is taking care of your health and well-being important personally, but it also allows you to bring your best self into work every day and ensure professional success by making you more productive, boosting your immune system and more. Remember to make time for self-care. Here are a few simple ideas that could benefit both your personal and professional wellness.
Stretch and Make Time for Exercise
Find a form of exercise that already incorporates your interests. Do you like to be outside? Try going for brisk walks or a jog two to three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes. Do you love dancing to music you hear on the radio? Try Zumba! There are several free videos online, so you don’t even need to buy a gym membership. For more intensive workouts, there are also plenty of HIIT workouts online. Let YouTube be your personal trainer, and you won’t pay a dime to improve your health and your mood. Don’t forget to stretch before and after your workouts; stretching throughout the day (even if you haven’t exercised) has some major benefits, too.
Get a Library Card
Many library cards are free. Reading for pleasure can be a great way to keep your mind stimulated and give you that much-needed break at the same time. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom are bound to leave you feeling hopeful and rejuvenated. But nowadays, libraries allow you to check out more than just books. You can also borrow e-books, movies, music, podcasts and more! Many libraries even allow you to check out laptops if you don’t have one of your own.
Let Your Thoughts Out on Paper
Having millions of thoughts swimming around your mind can sometimes be distracting and may even cause you to lose focus on the task at hand. Take a few minutes each day to write down your thoughts. If writing isn’t your strong suit or journaling seems daunting to you, then consider writing just one to two sentences every day. Being in the thick of your work every day, it can be hard to notice progress. On those days, where it’s harder to see the difference you’re making, you’ll be able to look back and see how far you and your students or team have come.
Organize Your Living and Work Spaces
Simply organizing your living and work spaces can work wonders for your day-to-day routine. Preparing for tomorrow’s activities the night before can eliminate stress in the mornings and allow you to start your day off on the right foot. Plus, arriving to a clean work space leaves you feeling happier when you arrive at work. Adding plants is also scientifically proven to make people happier as well.
Unplug and Get Some Fresh Air
Consider unplugging from social media or your computer altogether for a few days. Sometimes being so engrossed in the lives of other people whom we don’t even know can cause us to feel like we’re not where we need to be in our own. The reality is, what you see on social media isn’t always what’s true and is often glorified, touched up or embellished. Instead, use that time to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with friends and loved ones or, even better, spread kindness. Doing something nice for others can help you improve your mood, too.
Self-care is a very personal matter. These ideas may or may not work for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that you’re taking an action that will improve your mood, health and wellness. Putting yourself first is not selfish; it’s important to you and everyone around you that you bring your best self, and that starts with self-care.