Self-care. What is it, and why should you be doing it? Self-care is anything you do to make your health a priority. That includes your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being along with your physical health.
Taking time to care for yourself doesn't just make you feel better daily. It also:
- Lowers stress
- Slows the aging process
- Increases your happiness
- Allows you to be more productive
- Allows you to give more to others around you
- Helps with your recovery from injury, illness and addiction
- Helps you avoid health problems by boosting your ability to fight sicknesses
- Makes you less likely to experience anxiety, depression or other emotional health issues
What is self-care?
How you go about self-care is up to you. It is not a list of dos or don'ts, or a routine that everyone follows. Instead, self-care involves things that make you feel relaxed and happy. They're activities that make your body and mind healthy.
If reading a book before bed helps your mind take a break from the stresses of the day, then it should be part of your self-care plan. But if books don’t really interest you, then you might opt for a walk around the neighborhood or an evening of making art.
Overall, self-care is about taking time for yourself to keep you balanced. That way, you can be your healthiest for those around you and for yourself.
Think about your routine and if you're giving yourself the basics of a healthy lifestyle. These include your diet, sleep habits, exercise and things you enjoy.
Food. A balanced diet that includes protein, vegetables and fruits fuels your body and mind. Keep processed foods and sweets to a minimum as they can make you feel tired and put on weight. It's fine to treat yourself to your favorite snack or dessert from time to time to have happy things to look forward to though.
Water. Staying hydrated throughout the day is a simple yet powerful way to take care of yourself. Start your day off with a glass of water to rehydrate after a night of sleep. Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water total in a day. Water helps your brain work well and gives you more energy. It also helps prevent headaches, weight gain and constipation.
Sleep. It's easy to stay up late when you have a deadline to meet or you're overwhelmed with tasks. But getting enough sleep each night has a profound effect on your health and well-being. Make a nightly routine of setting your alarm for bedtime and try your best to stick to it. Try to sleep six to nine hours a day. It will help give you more energy, reduce stress and improve mental alertness.
Exercise. Thirty minutes of activity per day goes a long way in keeping your mind and body balanced. Start the day by stretching your whole body as you get out of bed. It invigorates your muscles and gets the chemicals in your brain flowing that create a positive mood, reduce stress and enhance your thinking skills. Staying active might mean taking a daily run, walking during your lunch break or following a yoga video.
Relaxation. This is where your self-care routine truly gets personal. Think about the things that make you happy — and do them. It might mean baking, cooking or drawing. It could be something as simple as taking a break when you're feeling anxious or listening to music that inspires you. Self-care also includes limiting things that cause you stress. Learn how to say "no" to things you aren't able or don't want to do when life is already full.
Taking time for regular self-care helps you be your best self. Find your own self-care routine, and feel free to make changes whenever you need to.
To learn more about caring for yourself and staying healthy, visit BonSecours.com to make an appointment with a primary care physician.