When I first entered the working world, I couldn’t seem to “find the time” to do anything for me. I was living a fast-paced life in New York City, and I could barely wake up for work on time—let alone be a good friend, go on dates, and keep my room clean. I resigned myself to my work-gym-sleep routine during the week. But often, by the time the weekend rolled around, I was so drained that I just wanted to lay in bed and sleep.
I knew that this cycle couldn’t last forever, so, I forced myself to focus on getting my energy back. I knew that I had to incorporate some me-time and self-care ideas into my schedule, but I didn’t know how. I started to build some small, everyday rituals into my new adult life—and to my surprise, I have never felt more energized about life. Here are some of my favorites:
Wake up with lemon water
Warm water with lemon should be the first thing you put into your body upon waking. It’s proven to be a detox for the digestion system; think of it as a reset for your body before you start the craziness of your day. And, it makes me feel more energized than a cup of coffee does (gasp!).
I used to jump out of bed a few minutes before I needed to be ready for work, pick up some coffee on the way to the subway, and arrive at my desk still in sleep-mode.Now, I wake up early enough to enjoy my water + lemon on my couch, and think a little bit. Set an intention for the day. Run through my day’s activities.
Having this new morning routine means waking up a bit earlier, but the benefits are worth it, plus, your whole day starts off on the right foot.
Focus with 5 minutes of meditation
I was never a huge supporter of meditation. It seemed kind of overrated – I couldn’t quite convince myself that sitting still for 20 minutes would make me feel happier (maybe that’s the New Yorker in me?!). I thought that my fast-paced, Type-A personality wasn’t a good match for quiet, focused time. But, one day I attempted a short (5 minute!) guided meditation, and I found that it really did make me feel energized.
While I’m drinking my morning concoction, I like to spend 5–10 minutes meditating and setting an intention for the day. It helps to keeps me grounded in my goals, and make my morning commute less hectic.
Sweat a little bit
Going to the gym every day is a huge goal — and probably one that won’t happen. So, let’s make it smaller: Sweat once per day. This goal is doable, and versatile. “Sweating” means that you can go for a walk, or do Crossfit. It means SoulCycle or yoga. And, if time runs out and you sat behind your desk all day sans sweat? Do 20 jumping jacks before you to go sleep. Getting your heart rate up, no matter how, signals those endorphins to turn on. Endorphins make us happy (thanks, Elle Woods!). And, even a little happiness makes you motivated to get up off that couch.
Become a plant momma
Caring for something other than you gives you purpose. It stirs an energy inside of you that you might not have felt before. It forces you to live a little bit differently—maybe wake up earlier, or come home a little quicker from happy hour drinks (unlikely).
Getting a puppy (or having a kid!) is a huge commitment—and I know how much we run from anything that tries to hold us down. But, have you ever thought about becoming a plant momma? While plants watering plants isn’t as fun as taking your puppy for a walk, plants do have major health benefits. If anything, they make your bare studio apartment look a little bit happier.
Spend some alone-time outside
Spending time alone—especially in nature—allows you to destress, detach, and think deeply about any of the weird shit going on in your life. And, it doesn’t have to be a walk in the woods. If the closest thing you have to nature is walking along the Hudson River, that’s okay. Getting a breath of fresh air, especially when you feel like crawling in a hole, is proven to help you see the bigger picture. And, as 20-somethings, we really need to be alone to figure out who who truly are. Schedule a daily 15-minute breather into your calendar. I promise it helps.
If you’re like me, trying all of these rituals at once may seem overwhelming. So, incorporate them into your schedule bit by bit. Try them all out, but change the ones that don’t work for you. Being a 20-something can be tiring and weird and confusing. But, this is the time that our self-care rituals start to determine who we really are—so do something today to get off that couch.
What self-care ideas have added energy to your life?