By Stacy Karyn
It’s hard to crack into the dating scene if life already feels too overwhelming. Who can think about being in a relationship with another person when you have enough to deal with on your own? For those days when you just want to hide under the covers, this self-care cheat sheet will give you the boost you need to start living your best life.
Fix those lighting fixtures
Especially in the bathroom! That’s where we’re most savage with ourselves, critical of every little imperfection.
I’ve found that the times in which my self-esteem has been at its lowest has correlated with the brightness of the bathroom lighting. The brighter the light, the more our blemishes stand out. But we forget that other people don’t see us like this — with our acne on center stage underneath a spotlight. So why do we choose to look at ourselves this way?
Self-care hack: Change your light bulbs! Stop looking at your face under such an intense lens. Find something dimmer, or one that's infused with a slight hue of color. That’s more like the natural light people see — and love — you in, anyway.
Having some time to chill and focus on ourselves is important, but too much time can leave us feeling bored, uninspired and unmotivated, and in turn, bad about ourselves. Don’t add to the problem by overwhelming yourself with commitments. It’s important to use your time productively — don’t just cram as much as you can into your calendar until you go crazy.
Self-care hack: Look at your daily schedule and see if you can include some activities that would add manageable responsibilities and value to your routine. It can be low-commitment like starting a personal craft project, or if you need extrinsic motivations, you could volunteer for a cause or an organization that matters to you, take a class or look into freelancing gigs.
Stay away from self-abuse
Have you ever been in bed at 2 a.m. thinking about that thing you did five years ago? That thing that nobody else even remembers? Ruminating is a death sentence for our mental health. Once we start start beating ourselves up over bad decisions, embarrassing moments and failures, our self confidence takes a toll.
Self-care hack: Take a moment to consider how you’re mentally thinking about yourself when you look in the mirror. If your best friend were to say these types of things to you, would you still be friends?
Drink more water
There’s a lot of controversy around how much water we should actually be drinking, but from personal experience I can tell you that drinking eight glasses of water each day is totally painless and life-changing. Drinking water can solve so many issues — including skin problems, energy and achiness — all while giving you a fresh new glow.
Self-care hack: Drink more water! You don’t have to measure out eight glasses, but start substituting sugary drinks (and gasp maybe even some cups of coffee) and schedule in some literal water breaks. Maybe set a goal of drinking a glass of water after responding to ten emails. You’ll thank yourself later!
Get Physical, Physical
Everyone knows that regular exercise increases our happiness and energy level, but it’s hard for many of us to get there because when we hear the word “exercise” we imagine the most brutal or boring examples. The good news is you don’t have to buy a gym membership or run a half marathon in order to get that lift. Climbing, dancing, biking, skating and even bowling are not only a lot of fun, but people of all levels can participate. Perfect for a date idea!
Self-care hack: Think of an activity that makes you happy and that you can do a few times a week. Bring a friend for double the fun — and accountability!
Take a moment to really think about what's bringing you down, and brainstorm ways you can try to change it or change your perspective on it. This is not to suggest that serious issues like depression and anxiety just require a bit of “mind over matter”. In addition to speaking with therapists like our team of experts at Ona, we recommend turning vague goals into actionable to-dos. For example, let’s just say your finances are stressing you out. Instead of feeling paralyzed by large goals like “getting a promotion” or “saving money” you can create tangible, quantifiable short-term goals like starting daily/weekly budget adjustments or setting up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss a raise.
Self-care hack: Write three goals. Continue narrowing those goals until you have a realistic “ to do” that you can try to accomplish today.
Whether at our jobs, with our family or in our relationships, sometimes we put so much energy into caring for others that we neglect our own well-being. But we deserve better!
Self-care hack: You don’t need to splurge — although feel free to treat yourself like royalty if you’re so inclined — but small gifts to yourself can really do a lot to shift your mood. If you’re having a bad day, if it feels like nobody gets you, if everything’s on fire at work and the news is depressing AF, there’s nothing like treating yourself to some delicious takeout or some pure escapism at the movie theater. (That also doesn’t sound like a bad idea for a fun date night!)
Self-esteem plays a very important role in dating. If we become too busy with worrying about how we look or what other people are thinking about us, we won't have enough mental space to actually show kindness to the people around us. For more ways to boost your confidence and for personalized, one-on-one help, download Ona today!