Global health has taken a blow not just from the coronavirus, but also from destabilizing mental and emotional factors. Alongside COVID-19 protocols of disinfecting surfaces and keeping hands clean, a serious self-care regimen has become integral to protecting the immune system in this day and age.
All the time spent at home — usually alone — has put mental health and emotional wellness in the spotlight. The pandemic has so drastically changed the landscape of work, socializing, and relationships that it threatens the ways many people identify with their self-image and community. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to see how this can shake an individual to the core and make them question their very purpose in life.
Today, the connection between a strong and balanced sense of self is just as important as a well-functioning immune system. The resilience that confidence and self-esteem offer against stress then significantly contributes to preventing sickness and even slowing down aging. While boosting self-esteem also requires wearing masks and alcohol — it’s fortunately of a different sort that allows you to literally let your hair down.
Confidence Boosts That Can Keep You Healthy
Take that extra long bath, put on a flattering outfit, set out your fine ceramics, and open a bottle of Chardonnay white wine at home. Dim the lights, or put on a show you love on Netflix. Whatever it is, attend to what you want and need.
- A date night — even if it’s by yourself!
Humans are programmed to treat someone they care about with compassion and understanding, but struggle to treat themselves with the same kindness. These date nights — whether they are done alone, platonically, or romantically — are a practice in embracing playfulness and excitement, ultimately breaking through limiting beliefs that make up the foundation of daily anxieties and insecurities..
2. A "green" mean — but make it colorful!
Get creative with what’s in your pantry, or even in your vegetable patch, and plate some plant-based recipes that can boost your mood and your health. Throw in some superfoods like nuts and yogurt to boost your mind, too!
While a whole lot of greens would be the obvious choice, any food (in any color!) derived from plants can make up this nutrient-rich meal. Another way to stimulate your appetite is in adding some reds and yellows into your plate. These appetizing hues signal the brain to feel optimism and vitality.
3. A cheat day — or week. Who cares? Just treat yourself!
In case you needed to hear it from someone else: eat more chocolates! It’s such an injustice that chocolates receive all the flak for weight gain, but don’t get enough credit for their health benefits.
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolates, has been the focus of recent studies in reducing risks to heart disease. The flavanols in the cocoa beans slow down cell damage and hold a significant amount of antioxidant properties.
Of course, it’s also delicious! What would make anyone feel better than a little indulgence, especially on a bad day?
4. A 15-minute habit — a small thing to add to your routine!
Mixing workplace with living space could surely clutter the mind. The lack of boundaries could be emotionally unsettling and a pile-up of tasks for home and business is just a burnout waiting to happen.
Here’s a trick to organizing priorities in a scenario like this: add, instead of remove, a new habit to your routine. While it takes 21 days to both create or break a habit, learning something new is easier and more exciting than stopping an existing behavior.
Choose a habit that can generate positive body energy — meditation? Journaling? Origami? — and make it manageable enough to consistently accomplish for the next half month or so. The goal is to wean yourself from daily activities that actually derail you from productivity and increase your sense of fulfillment.
5. A good night's rest — sometimes 6 hours is all you actually need!
Where to begin for the benefits of sleep? Besides enabling optimum brain performance during the day, a well-rested brain can produce feel-good hormones through the night. Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphin can all help various bodily functions run smoothly after a deep sleep and signal recovery to happen during this time. This benefits the skin in keeping it supple and elastic, the muscles in rebuilding fiber and tissues, and the central nervous system in firing up signals to all parts of the body on schedule.
6. A kind act — for yourself or another!
Last, but not the least, extending an act of kindness. It’s been said that you can’t pour from an empty cup, so what could boost your self-esteem more than knowing you have something to share? While minding your ego so this isn’t a self-serving effort, the practice of charity and community is a circular motion of positivity and growth. This generosity comes back to the source, but also feels good to do in the first place regardless of what you receive in return.