Your 20s is a time to come to terms with you are as a young adult (and yes, you’re an adult). And the habits and opinions you form now will help shape who you are and who you become.
It’s an important time for self-love, self-care, and body positivity.
These are things you can work on at any point in your life, but when you commit to positive habits now, you may find it easier to maintain some of that positivity throughout your life.
1. Practice Affirmations
You may have heard the expression that goes, “you are what you eat.” And, in a way, there’s some truth to that. And thankfully, that expression is not literal. But if you wanted a more literal representation of what makes you, you, you’ll want to change that saying to “you are what you think.”
Our thoughts collectively define who we are. Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right. But affirmations can help shift doubts and negative self-talk.
2. Begin a Daily Exercise Routine
Affirmations will help you learn to love who you are, and regular exercise can keep you feeling great from the inside out. This isn’t about fitting anyone’s idea of an ideal body image. And it’s not about fitting into an unrealistic size for your body type. It’s about being healthy. When you feel good, you’ll be more confident and feel better about yourself. And it doesn’t take much. You could go for a simple 30-minute walk daily. As a bonus, you’ll learn your neighborhood and meet your neighbors.
3. Become a Volunteer
As you’re starting to see the world through your newfound adult lens, you’ll start to figure out which causes are near and dear to your heart. Maybe you volunteer to help build homes for the underprivileged or serve food to homeless veterans. Or you could volunteer for a political party or candidate if you feel so inclined. Now is a great time to begin habits that take you outside the daily grind. These experiences help reinforce that there’s more to this life than work, binge-watching, and repeat. So, in the end, volunteering is as good for you as it is for your community. It’s a win-win.
4. Establish Healthy Sleep Habits
You may not have trouble getting to sleep at this point in your life, but healthy sleep habits are still extremely important to your physical and mental health. Shoot for at least seven hours of sleep nightly to optimize your health, improve your immune system, and sharpen your mind.
This means no more burning the midnight oil. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and avoid alcohol right before bed. Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol encourages sleep, but it’s actually somewhat counterproductive. Alcohol before bed can actually interfere with your ability to get a night of deep, restful REM sleep. And you may not even notice the struggle, but you’ll wake up feeling less rested each morning. Generally speaking, it’s best to learn to cope without alcohol.
5. Cook More Dinners at Home
For many people in their 20s, it’s the first time they’re living on their own. And this means cooking on their own, and often for one person. It’s quite a different experience than family dinners. And it’s extremely tempting to Postmate dinner or call UberEats. And while these things definitely work in a pinch, homecooked food is always best. When you cook at home, you’re much less likely to use excessive amounts of salt, fat, and sugar. And this change makes a big difference over time. If you’re struggling to cook because it’s just for you, consider freezing meals or throwing more dinner parties. Every night you eat a homecooked meal is a win.
The habits you create in your 20s are likely to stick with you for a lifetime, so it’s best to keep them positive when you can.