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How to Prioritize Self-Care this Summer

Summer is quickly approaching, which means we are finally starting to see the sunshine on a regular basis. Instead of falling victim to seasonal depression, the summer season can bring more warmth, energy, and feelings of rejuvenation. To make the most of your summer and enjoy all that life offers, it is important to prioritize self-care.

Self-care may sound like a cliche these days with how often you hear the term used in marketing, but self-care is more than just face masks and a trip to the salon. Self-care isn’t about spending money or living your most luxurious life. Self-care is all about focusing on your needs as an individual so that you can thrive and live a meaningful life. Learning to prioritize self-care is a necessity to be happy and healthy.

The Impacts of Neglecting Self-Care

When you neglect taking care of yourself, life can quickly begin to feel like it is all downhill. The negative impacts of not making time for self-care include:

  • Lack of motivation and energy to perform daily tasks
  • You may become more easily distracted
  • You may develop bad habits to try to fill a void, such as drinking, smoking, or stress eating
  • Your stress levels, in general, will become higher
  • You may have difficulty sleeping
  • You may become more irritable and less patient with yourself and others
  • You may experience a creative block
  • Your physical and mental health could take a toll, developing physical ailments or mental illnesses

If you don’t prioritize taking care of yourself, you simply won’t be able to function at your best. Your goals may become more distant to you and you could lose your zest for life.

Self-Care Ideas You Can Start Anytime

With the warmer weather approaching, you may feel more comfortable getting out of the house and spending some time outside. There are so many great ways to practice self-care during the summer.

Here are some ideas you can use:

  • Take a walk around the neighborhood
  • Go bird watching
  • Explore nature/take a hike
  • Go camping
  • Have an outing with close friends and family
  • Take an outdoor yoga class
  • Practice meditation
  • Throw a blanket out in the yard and read a book
  • Eat healthily and visit a local farmer’s market for socialization and fresh produce
  • Grow a garden
  • Take a nap
  • Go swimming and get some exercise
  • Take care of a few chores that have been stressing you out
  • Make some tea or homemade lemonade
  • Do something nice for a loved one
  • Spend time with your pet
  • Listen to music
  • Attend a social event

How to Make Self-Care A Priority

At this point you may have a whole list of future plans and good intentions, now the critical part is to actually set a plan of action and learn how to make your self-care activities a priority. Too often, plans get put on the back-burner by not having enough time or overcommitting to other activities.

Here are some good tips you can practice to learn how to prioritize your needs:

Schedule out self-care time

Carve out as little as 15 minutes for self-care each day. By scheduling out your self-care time, you will be able to work it into your schedule rather than just hoping to find time after the day’s begun. Even if you feel like you are too busy to set aside any time, creating even just a small moment to focus on your needs will actually help increase your productivity. You will be able to get more done each day when you are properly taken care of.

Create an action plan

Whatever your personal priorities are for the day, create an achievable action plan. Either first thing in the morning or the night before, right down what your priorities are for the day and make them realistic. If you only have a 30-minute break, then set your meditation time for less than 30 minutes so you can accomplish it successfully.

Plan meals that fuel you

Eat to fuel your body and give it the nutrition it needs. For example, blueberries help maintain brain function and improve memory. Nutritious foods like these can help you feel more energized and be more productive. Avoid too much sugar first thing in the morning which could leave you feeling sluggish. Another good tip is not to eat too close to bedtime or you may have a harder time getting a proper night’s sleep.

Prioritize sleep

Getting sufficient sleep is important for setting yourself up for success. When you neglect sleep, you not only will feel sluggish the next day, but you may find yourself falling asleep on the job or losing the energy to achieve your goals.

Have a routine

This one is especially hard in the summer. You may have more vacations planned and want to sleep in more often or stay out later in the evenings, but keeping to a routine will help you stay on top of your priorities. This may be the most important tip in successfully achieving your goals and effectively prioritizing self-care. Implementing your self-care practices into your routine is much easier to do if you regularly practice sticking to a routine. For instance, try waking up around the same time each day and taking a hot shower, saying some positive affirmations, and drinking a cup of your favorite tea or coffee. You will begin to look forward to your routines and become more energized and at peace when you make time for yourself.

Limit your screen time

You may not even realize just how much time in a day you spend staring at a screen. Check your screen time on your phone, and consider how much passive time is spent watching tv or playing games. You just might find that you actually have an extra hour each day that you could be dedicating to self-care.

Be kind to yourself

If you catch yourself thinking or speaking negatively about yourself, practice stopping those thoughts and saying something positive instead. Instead of “I’m a failure because I didn’t get everything done today,” try “I did my best, got some important things accomplished, and have more goals to set for tomorrow.” Treating yourself with kindness will help you learn to love and value yourself more, and the more you value yourself, the easier it is to prioritize self-care.

Get to know yourself

Maybe you have spent too long stuck in an uninspiring routine. If you feel like you have been so busy that you don’t have any hobbies or things you enjoy doing for self-care, take the time to discover more about yourself. Try new things and see what you enjoy doing. Take some time to think about what is truly important to you while you are getting to know yourself. It’s easy to spend too much time trying to impress others, but try only spending time on matters that are actually important to you.

Take this summer to really get in touch with your needs. Practice prioritizing self-care immediately so that you can make the most of the longer, warmer days ahead. Remember that learning to build good habits and reestablishing your priorities is a process that takes time and hard work. You don’t have to be perfect overnight. Just try out some of these tips and see which ones work best for you.

If you need guidance to reinvigorate your lifestyle or mental well-being, our team of specialists at Jackson House is here and ready to help. Our many programs are designed to treat and evaluate numerous mental health concerns through voluntary residential services. Let us guide you toward the life you deserve.

It's time to feel better

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