25 Tips for Improving Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Eating our vegetables, getting enough exercise, and avoiding too much sugar are great places to start, but they are only a small fraction of the things we should be doing to keep ourselves well.

Hanging out with animals, talking to strangers, and making time to dance are just as important when it comes to fully nurturing ourselves.

It’s easy to get swept up in our daily routines of work, eat, sleep and focus on the bare minimum, but here is a list of 25 ways to take care of your mind, body, and soul.

 

MIND

1. Make Time to Have Fun

Play time is crucial whether you’re a child or an adult. Motivational speaker, Ron

Culberson, uses this motto: “Do it well, make it fun.” He realized that when he was being

productive and making it fun, the end result was always a significantly better product.

 

2. Set Aside Time for Yourself

This is probably on every list of “How to Take Better Care of Yourself” and that’s saying

something. Having alone time gives our minds a chance to recharge and take a break.

Whether you take a nap, go for a walk, or curl up with a good book, make sure you have

some quality time with the #1 person in your life.

 

3. Get Plenty of Sleep

We all know we need sleep to function well, but it’s easy to forget that as adults we

should be getting an average of seven hours of sleep a night at least. It boosts our immune

systems, improves our memory, and has countless other health benefits.

 

4. Turn Off Your Technology

A decade ago, this may not have been so prevalent on a list like this, but today it’s

difficult for most people to unplug and just be present. In particular, this becomes a problem

when people fail “to leave work at work.” It’s easy to continue answering emails long after the

work day ends in an effort to be our best. Forbes magazine recommends putting your phone

away for the first hour after you get home. Just plug it up in the other room and put it on

vibrate and go do something else.

 

5. Find a Project

Hobbies are great and can even be therapeutic. Personally, I love to knit and sew, but

the options are limitless. And thanks to Pinterest, suggestions are readily available. My only

advice before visiting your local crafts store? Set a budget for yourself, because it is easy to

get carried away in those places and that would not be taking care of yourself financially.

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6. Get Physical!

Olivia Newton-John provided us with great advice, as well as a great jam to work out

to, when she recorded, “Let’s Get Physical.” Being physically active does more than give your

body a work out, it also gets the blood flowing to your brain and improves all over function.

 

7. Learn One New Thing A Day

I’ve realized that I am more of a student now, than I ever was when I was actually in a

classroom. Learning new things keeps your mind active and helps keep memory function

strong. Check out zidbits.com for answers to a variety of questions, (“does hot water freeze

faster than cold water?”), or try iTunes U for hundreds of different courses from legitimate

colleges and universities like Yale or Oxford.

 

8. Clean Up At Home

A clean space allows your mind to focus on things other than how big the pile of dirty

dishes in the sink is. The concept is simple and straight-forward: “Unclutter your space and it

will unclutter your mind.”

 

BODY

1. Go Outside

Physical activity is clearly important for a healthy body. But don’t forget to step outside

the gym and soak up that vitamin D, a lack of which can lead to things like depression and

poor nourishment. People in places that don’t get much sunlight during parts of the year, (like

the Netherlands), will buy machines for the home that simulate sunlight. It might be easy to

retreat into nice air-conditioned buildings during the warm summer months, but try to resist

and go outside. (Just remember the sunblock.)

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2. Be Selective with Your Food Choices

Let’s be clear – I am not saying that anyone should be “dieting.” Rather, I’m suggesting

to be mindful of meal choices. The easiest option may be to stock up on frozen pizzas and the

fixings for deli sandwiches, but try to switch it up and incorporate different things into your

food choices. Maybe nine meals out of ten, do the responsible thing and choose the healthier

or more nutritious choice, but then the tenth time, go for the burger and fries…you deserve it!

 

3. Go Out Dancing (Or Just Put On Music At Home and Rock Out)

Dancing is about more than just being physical. In fact, many hospitals have adopted

dance therapy programs because the benefits are so abundant. They include, but are not

limited to: “Reduced feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, and it boosts self-esteem,

body image, coping ability and overall sense of well-being.”

 

4. Get Exercise In A Group Setting

According to Joe Decker of Active Magazine, there are three straight-forward reasons

to work out in a group: 1. Motivation 2. Accountability 3. Group Camaraderie. And beyond all

of these, it’s just fun and social to work out with friends.

 

5. Give Yourself 1-Week Challenges

Mentally, we may love patterns and routines, but our bodies like variety. Which is why

at the gym, trainers always encourage you to alternate workouts throughout the week to

activate different muscles and parts of your body. So each week, challenge yourself and make

a game of it! Maybe cut out all sugars or promise to do fifty jumping-jacks a day. Plus, when

you succeed, you’ve got a perfectly good reason to celebrate yourself at the end of the week,

(as if you need an excuse to celebrate how awesome you are).

 

6. Treat Yourself Occasionally

For instance, after you finish a personal challenge or goal… Seriously, though,

indulgence isn’t always a terrible thing. The happiness we experience from small indulgences

can have multiple health benefits, including releasing happy chemicals, like endorphins, in our

brain and the release of such chemicals can improve bodily functions.

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7. Take a Nap

Unfortunately, not everyone benefits from nap taking, because some people function

better without them and a nap can actually slow them down by causing things like sleep

inertia and nighttime sleep problems. However, most people would function significantly better

if they took some time for a nap. In addition to improved cognitive functions, it helps lower

blood pressure, too.

 

8. Breathe

Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong (or rather, “less right”), way to breathe.

“Breathing from the diaphragm rather than shallow ‘chest breathing,’ promotes a multitude of

health benefits.” By using your diaphragm, your just living up to your full breathing potential,

and once you’ve nailed that, take a few minutes a day to just take a couple slow, deep

breaths.

 

SOUL

1. Pay-It-Forward

Besides being a heart-breaking movie and book, this concept is probably one you’ve

experienced. For me, it always happens at Starbucks. The barista will inform me that the

customer before me bought my coffee, and in response, I will pay for the customer behind

me, and this will usually continue until the line ends. A lot of interesting studies have been

done concerning this charitable concept and the results show that the effects are both positive

and contagious.

 

2. Talk To A Stranger

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out – interacting with new people is a

good thing. As a society, we’ve become comfortable with this idea as long as it’s indirectly,

such as through apps like Tinder or Snapchat. Next time you’re getting coffee, try making

small talk with the barista IRL. A journalist for the NY Times did an experiment with

commuters on the subway. He asked half of them to ride like they normally would, by avoiding

eye contact and any interaction with their fellow riders. He told the other half to talk to

whoever sat down next to them. The results? Those who interacted with their new neighbors

were pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed it.

 

3. Visit an Animal Shelter

More and more places are incorporating shelter animals into their work space and

while they provide therapeutic outlets, the process also helps lead the animals to their forever

homes. Talk about a win-win situation! An office in New Mexico recently had some photos go

viral because of their “cat library,” and colleges all over the country welcome shelter cats and

dogs onto campus during finals, and as a result, stress and anxiety levels among students

has been shown to decrease.

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4. Do What Makes You Happy

As long as it’s not harmful to yourself or others, there is no reason to deny yourself the

thing that makes you happy. This concept has no secret benefits or scientific reason behind it,

it’s really as simple as it sounds.

 

5. Connect With Your Feelings – For Real

Whether you watch a feel good movie and cry it out or you keep a journal, it really

doesn’t matter, so long as you don’t bottle up your emotions. When I was growing up, my

mom had a rule for us before bed. We had to either read or write in a journal for one hour

before going to sleep. Honestly, it was fantastic. It gave me time to focus on me and unwind

before falling asleep and provided me with an opportunity to experience my feelings.

 

6. Change Your Perspective

According to The Acorn Stash blog, there are 5 ways to change the way you look at

things: “1. Look for the positive in each situation. 2. Allow the improbable to become possible.

3. Change your perspective of other people. 4. Keep an open mind. 5. Avoid falling back into

your old patterns.” Changing our perspective effects everything about us, from how we

approach other people in our lives to how we value and care for ourselves. The blog on

Creativity Post had a fantastic way of putting it: “We see no more than we expect to see.”

 

7. Take A Vacation

This does not mean you need to book a ten-day trip to Hawaii. Just take a day trip out

of town and go explore. This one goes hand-in-hand with changing your perspective and it’s

much easier to change your view if you change the scenery every once in a while and remind

yourself how big the world is.

 

8. Stay Positive

The power of positivity is most definitely a real phenomenon and we don’t fully

understand the link between being optimistic and getting those better results. We do,

however, understand that positivity does good things for us. According to The Atlantic,

“’dispositional optimism’… is linked to everything from decreased feelings of loneliness to

increased pain tolerance.”

 

9. Love Yourself

I’m going to keep this one simple and quote the smartest person I know. “Before you

can truly love anyone or anything else, you have to truly love yourself,” – My Mom.

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