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Me Time

The 40 Self-Care Habits Every Sister Needs After 40

These fun, frugal and fabulous rituals can be fundamental to your well-being. How many are a part of your life?

“Historically, we have been taught that we have to work twice as hard if we want to get ahead. Unfortunately, this leads to overworking, over-giving and putting ourselves last,” says Rosetta Thurman, 36, founder of Happy Black Woman (happyblackwoman.com), a life and business coaching site. However, research suggests that the more we practice self-care, the more confident, creativeand productive we are. And you don’t need to spend money to spend quality time with yourself. In fact, we learned that even sister celebs who can afford luxury pampering relish simple pleasures. We also asked women from around the country how they take care of themselves. Which of these rituals will you make time for today?

1. Stop feeling guilty about your guilty pleasure. “I drink red wine and binge-watch dramas like Game of Thrones,” says Cindy Harcum, 49, of Baltimore.

2. Get your face out of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. A break from social media can help lessen your anxieties, loneliness and FOMO (fear of missing out).

3. Spend time alone. What does Oprah do to relax, revive and reset? “I am really happy being with myself,” she told CNN.

4. Create a morning ritual. “Pray, meditate, journal, say affirmations, burn incense or go for a walk,” says Thurman.

5. Put yourself on the calendar. “One day a week committed to self-care allows me to breathe, release, reflect and appreciate what God has done for me,” says Tara Robison, 46, of Dallas.

6. Skip the shower. “My new thing is taking a 20-minute bath,” says Elayne Fluker, 46, of New York City.

7. Dance like no one’s watching. Download Spotify and get your groove on with one of Sisters from AARP’s lit playlists!

8. Dial a friend. Instead of texting and emailing, pick up the phone.

9. Claim your calm. “People think meditation is you sit and go ‘Om,’ (but) meditation is sometimes letting your thoughts run through until it’s quiet,” Taraji P. Henson said in an interview.To get in the zone, the 49-year-old uses the Mindfulness App, and there are plenty of other meditation apps to choose from like Headspace and Calm.

10. Look on the bright side. Being optimistic is good for your health.

11. Laugh out loud.

12. Budget for a splurge.“I get monthly massages,” says Tracie Powell, 47, of Atlanta.

13. Have a cheap treat.“My next-door neighbor does $5 Tuesdays [at her local movie theater] as a way to unwind. I just might give that a try,” adds Powell.

14. Say yes. Don’t shy away from new experiences, especially if they could benefit you or help you grow.

15. But say no when you need to. Setting limits (such as when you don't have time for an activity), creates space for things that you'll love.

16. Pleasure yourself. Orgasms can help alleviate pain (including menstrual cramps), improve your sleep and reduce stress. “I orgasm at least once a day. Sometimes I even have the husband help. Life is much happier,” says a friend in Washington, D.C.

17. Enjoy planning a trip.“Traveling expands the mind and soul and brings us closer to our neighbors around the world,” observes Kim Livingston, 54,of New York City.

18. Savor world cuisine. Try an Ethiopian or Caribbean restaurant.

19. Accept a compliment.

20. Have a rainy day fund.

21. Eat a colorful diet to boost your nutrition. “It doesn’t make sense as a meal to me if there is no green on my plate,” actress Danai Gurira said in an interview.

22. Do what makes you happy. “Self-care is about pursuing what brings you joy and prioritizing time for that,” Gurira also said.

23. Make cupcakes.Baking is a great way to de-stress and express creativity.

24. Leave your comfort zone. Try rock climbing or take a DJ lesson, for instance.

25. Have an escape hatch from daily stress. Visit a museum, immerse yourself in a romantic novel or watch a funny movie.

26. Reclaim a forgotten hobby like sewing or knitting. According to Mental Health America, knitting can help reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.

27. Bring the spa experience home. Use soy candles, bath salts, essential oils and detoxifying facial masks.

28. Reach out and touch. Research shows that touching, hugging and kissing are good for your overall health and well-being.

29. Splurge for the spa manicure or pedicure.

30. Make the first move. “To reconnect with my fiancé and calm myself, I initiate sex,” says a friend in Los Angeles.

31. Find support for your mental health if you need it. Check out Therapy for Black Girls (therapyforblackgirls.com).

32. Take a power nap to feel focused, refreshed and energized. Napping can also boost your metabolism, give you a youthful glow and improve your sex drive.

33. Keep a journal of your blessings. Studies have indicated that practicing gratitude can lower anxiety and depression.

34. Loosen up with flexibility exercises.“My Bikram [yoga] practice helps me lessen my anxiety and stretch in a way that makes me feel empowered,” says Victoria Campbell Osborne, 49, of Kansas City, Kansas.

35. Get some air and sunshine. This is especially important to stabilize moods during the shorter days of winter.

36. Keep moving.“Running helps keep the stress low and me happy and healthy,” says Tomika Anderson, 43, of Woodbridge, Virginia.

37. Tone your pelvic-floor muscles with Kegel exercises. This mayimprove orgasms, as well as bladder control.

38. Play a game. Find free brain-boosting games here.

39. Power down your smartphone, TV and other devices well before bedtime.

40. Remain young at heart.“Think back to when you used to play outside all day with your friends. Revisit [pastimes] like dancing, painting, bike riding and jumping rope,” says Thurman.

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