Self-improvement has many benefits, which is why it’s such a major market. The industry is worth over $10 billion, but you don’t need to listen to a podcast, read a book, or follow a “guru” to improve certain core areas of your life. While those things can work for some people, your idea of self-improvement should focus more on sources of stress in your life and how you can make them better.
Stress can cause a variety of mental and physical health issues. Finding solutions to better yourself, feel more relaxed, and eliminate strife will make a big difference in your overall well-being. So, before you spend money on the latest self-help book, consider changing some of your existing habits and adopting healthier ones.
Not sure how to get started? We’ve got some helpful tips on how to improve four core areas in your life.
1. Your Career
Now more than ever before, workers are stressed in the workplace. Unfortunately, this stress, if left untreated, can lead to a variety of mental and physical side effects, such as burnout. Burnout can manifest in a variety of ways, but mainly shows up as exhaustion, cynicism, irritability, apathy, and lack of productivity.
According to a 2020 study, nearly 76% of the 1,136 worker participants indicated symptoms of burnout.
Burnout is also more prevalent in more stress-inducing careers, such as nursing, especially with the pandemic worsening working conditions for healthcare workers. A variety of factors influence burnout in the workplace including:
- A lack of control;
- Little reward or sense of accomplishment;
- A toxic environment or hostile work community;
- High demands.
If you find that some of your stress at work is leading to burnout and therefore affecting other aspects of your life, it may be time to make a change. Considering other career opportunities is a great way to learn about jobs that might be a better fit for you and your needs.
Whether you already have something in mind or you’ve just started to search for a new job, one of the best things you can do is to update your resume. Make sure to list both your hard and soft skills and any achievements you’ve made or received that would be useful to a new position. Changing careers is a big step, but it’s sometimes necessary to eliminate the toxicity in your life from a specific workplace.
2. Your Environment
People are spending more time indoors than ever. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it could be doing more harm than good to your mental health if your indoor environment isn’t conducive to your well-being.
If your home is cluttered and dirty, it could contribute to a variety of problems in your everyday life, including time lost looking for things, and extra stress when you feel overwhelmed by the disorganization. This can become especially problematic if you work from home.
Everyone has their own ways of cleaning and organizing. But, if you find that you have a frequent problem with clutter, you might need to consider adopting a different lifestyle. Minimalism, for example, is more than just a “hot trend” — it’s a way of life that many people are engaging in thanks to the benefits. Minimalists tend to:
- Have boosted mental health
- Spend less money
- Spend less time cleaning
- Have better focus
If “too much stuff” is making you feel buried and stressed at home, decluttering and getting rid of the things you don’t need can make you more mindful and appreciative of what you have. It’ll reduce your stress and help you to feel a greater sense of freedom in your own home.
3. Your Diet
You are what you eat, and if your diet isn’t exactly the healthiest in the world, there’s likely room for improvement.
If you frequently feel fatigued, lethargic, you have a hard time focusing, or you’re struggling with health conditions, it could have something to do with your diet. What you put into your body can have a greater impact on your immune system than most people realize. Try including some of the following into your daily diet to give your body the boost it needs to stay healthy and fight off illness:
- Lean meats
- Whole grains
- Leafy greens
- Omega-3 fatty acids
You don’t need to completely eliminate everything you love from your diet — it’s okay to indulge sometimes! But, keep your focus on eating a healthy, well-rounded diet, and you’re more likely to feel better mentally and physically.
4. Daily Habits
The little things you do each day can have a big impact on how you feel. If you’re consistently overwhelmed or stressed, improving things could simply be a matter of developing better habits, such as exercising.
You can stay consistent with these habits by staying intentional, rather than just going through the motions each day — otherwise known as mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment and letting your environment surround you. Thoughts will come and go, but you’ll let them pass, staying focused only on your breathing and how your body feels in that moment. Practicing mindfulness first thing when you wake up is a wonderful habit to get into that can set the tone for your day.
There are so many additional ways to improve core areas of your life — no book required. Think about the things that are most important to you, and which areas you would like to improve. When you focus on those areas and use a little bit of creativity, you’re likely to come up with improvement solutions that work for you and allow you to take pride in every step forward you take.
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