Contrary to popular opinion, I enjoyed studying for the bar exam. I took my bar prep mentors’ advice and created a solid, albeit grueling, routine. I turned off social media, drank water, ate vegetables, exercised daily, and went to bed early. Although stressed, I was the healthiest I had ever been. That changed the day after the bar exam. There were no lectures to watch or practice exams to take. After three months of a rigid regimen, I felt like I had lost my purpose. When I started my new job, my previous healthy lifestyle was long gone. After my first couple of months working, I knew I wanted to make a change. Since then, I have learned that the little things do make a difference and keep me motivated when I feel myself “falling off the wagon.” Here are some easy habits I try to incorporate throughout my day to reach my version of self-care.
Wake Up Earlier
When I first started working, I tried to get as much sleep as possible. However, I found that waking up a half hour earlier allowed me to exercise and still get enough sleep. I found a simple workout routine online that incorporated weights and resistance bands. At just 25 minutes a workout, I can exercise from the comfort of my home and get a fresh start to my day. Now I leave the house feeling rejuvenated and energized. As a bonus, I started seeing positive physical results.
Take the Long Way
During work, I found myself never leaving my desk and staring at a harshly lit computer screen all day. Wearing an activity tracker has been helpful. Every hour, my tracker goes off and reminds me to take steps. Now, whenever I leave my desk for any reason, I always add in a few extra steps by walking down the hallway or up a flight of stairs. Hitting my step goal every hour helps me feel accomplished and less terrified of the number of hours I will spend sitting in my lifetime.
Always Take a Lunch Break
My office is in the heart of the building with no windows. I would sometimes go days without seeing the sun. I felt so lucky to live and work in San Diego but felt like I was wasting away inside. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I started taking lunch breaks, where I leave the building. It was so easy to eat at my desk while working on an assignment or answering emails. I found stepping away, even for 10 minutes, to be extremely beneficial. I started walking around the block at lunch. It takes me about 20 minutes, and I get a small workout in while enjoying the fresh air.
I recently downloaded a habit app, and every hour or so it sends me a notification that says, "thousands have lived without love, not one without water." Even though I find that notification extremely annoying, it holds—water is vital to our health and wellbeing. Keeping a water bottle close by has been helpful. Having easy access to water makes me more likely to drink water. I try to write down the amount of water I drink and aim to drink at least 80 ounces a day. I feel more alert when I drink water and notice health benefits, such as clearer skin.
Call a Loved One or Family Member Daily
I live in San Diego, but my family lives in Hawaii. With the time difference and our busy schedules, it is easy to go days without talking to them. I try to remedy that by calling my mom or grandpa on my drive home. It does not take any extra time out of my day and always cheers me up. Talking to my family helps me stay focused and grounded. Pick up the phone and give your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or other loved ones a call. You will be happy you did.