The Gift of Time
We often gift others with our time and treasure, but how often do you give yourself a gift? So many of us put our own needs after those of others, but gifting ourselves is one of the best things we can do to achieve better health. Whether it’s more time to make exercise a priority or something you use that enriches your life, gifting yourself doesn’t have to be expensive to make an impact that lasts all year long.
When you think of improving your health, the first things that come to mind are probably healthy habits: exercise, eating right, resting, etc. Those are important, but you also need to make time for those other little needs that are easy to push aside. Many adults put off basic things like getting a yearly checkup at the doctor and dentist. If it has been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, make an appointment now to prioritize dental health this year (the average cost for a routine cleaning is $127). You may not think about going to the dentist as self-care, but oral health can affect you in many ways, including your mental health. When neglected, poor oral health can actually be a contributing factor to depression.
The Gift of Fitness
We all know that exercise is a key part of overall health, but when you don’t have a good fitness routine, it can be hard to fit it in. According to Verywell Mind, the best way to make exercise a habit is to work it into your established routines. If you have downtime after work that you normally spend unwinding, try going for a quick jog instead. For very little expense, you can get some earbuds and listen to a podcast or audiobook so you still get your “me time.” And if you need a new pair of sneakers to help you get started, you can look online for running shoe deals to help you keep this additional purchase within your budget.
If you have some room to spare in your home, you can turn that unused space into a functional home gym with just a few small adjustments and purchases. For example, pick up some free weights or other affordable gear to get started, then move up to stationary bikes and other, bigger items.
The Gift of Simple Nutrition
Many people feel overwhelmed by all the different diets out there. The reality is that most people can live a healthier life just by making simple nutrition swaps and adopting them little by little. Start by drinking more water each day. Invest in a good water bottle and consider flavoring your water naturally with fresh fruit.
According to Berkeley Wellness, small dietary changes like keeping portions in check can also make a major impact on your health. Work on eating more fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats like nuts and fatty fish. Then try to reduce sugar, animal fat, and trans fats. Changing nutrition can take time, so you may want to gift yourself something that makes it easier. For example, a quick and easy (and delicious) way to get more fruits and veggies is by making smoothies. You can find a blender for just about any budget, and you will save money in the long run by swapping convenience foods for nutritious smoothies.
The Gift of Relaxation
Caring for your mental health is just as important to your overall well-being as caring for your physical health. One of the best things you can do to make your mental health a priority is to give yourself time for relaxation. The great thing is that taming tension doesn’t have to cost a dime. Carve out time in your day to practice meditation or progressive relaxation or take a walk outside. For a real treat, gift yourself some calming bath products and some lavender essential oil to help keep stress at bay.
The Gift of Inspiration
Last but not least, give yourself inspiration. Caring for your mental health is more than simply managing stress. You also need joy and motivation to live your best life. These inspirational books are full of great ideas for getting you moving in the right direction.
If you don’t have the right tools for healthy habits, it’s much harder to make them stick. Giving to others is a great way to show people you care, but you have to give to yourself, too. The gift of time and simple tools to make being healthy a way of life is the best way to give that same care to yourself.
Author: Sheila Johnson