Caring for Yourself Means Addressing Your Whole Being
By Sheila Olson
Have you placed your high-intensity gym session at the top of your “to do” list? That’s not exactly wrong, but it’s not exactly right, either.
Here’s the thing: There’s a lot more to health than just a flat stomach and toned thighs. Your intellect, emotions, and spirit deserve attention as well, and that’s what self-care has to offer. If you’re interested in finding a better mix of activities that serve all aspects of your being, take these suggestions to heart. You’ll feel better for it.
Keep Your Workouts Fun
That’ll ensure you don’t burnout or dread going to the gym. There are many ways to keep it interesting. A writer at Health.com suggests trying some new exercises while you groove to a revamped playlist that keeps you pumped. If that’s not enough, change activities completely, opting for swimming instead of running or volleyball instead of Crossfit once a week. In addition of all of those, seek out a yoga class that best fits your needs and completely your practice or workout with always much needed, yoga.
Learn to Eat Healthfully
If that sounds impossible because you hate the taste of kale, then guess what? It isn’t (and almost everybody does). First off, don’t force yourself to gorge on something you don’t like; instead, explore better options until you find whole foods that work for you. You can always get healthy meals brought to your door by a delivery service that keeps portions under control so you don’t worry about overeating.
Get Enough Sleep
That means between seven to nine hours per night, with serious consequences if you don’t get enough. According to a dietician writing for Healthline, sleep is essential to the proper functioning of your immune system, as well as metabolic processes and appetite control. Just a few nights of tossing and turning throws everything out of whack.
Read, Read, Read
And read some more — especially when you lay in bed, as it’s an excellent way to nod off. In addition, you’ll have an easier time remembering what you’ve read, and that serves you well if you’re studying or just want a topic fresh in mind for conservation with your intellectual friends. Remember: The brain needs a workout, too
It sounds easy enough, but it isn’t. Many people bring the stresses of work home with them, so when it’s time to chill, they’re riddled with nagging worries about the uphill battle they face tomorrow and how they’ll handle it. However, there are techniques that trigger your body to relax, such as a hand massage or foot rub, and the brain soon follows the body.
Meditation is another activity to include in your evening schedule to ensure a good night’s sleep and more. This ancient practice shuts off the “fight or flight” response in your brain that’s likely been triggered by annoying little events throughout the day. That means you’ll be able to calm down, get to sleep easier, and enjoy more energy in the morning.
Learn to Breathe
You would think breathing is the one thing you already know how to do. But, actually, you’re probably not doing it properly — at least not if you’re looking to relieve stress and gain a quick boost of energy. A technique called the stimulating breath could be precisely what you need when you’re overwhelmed at work, as its purpose is to stimulate. All you need to do is inhale and exhale three times through your nose in one second for a grand total of 15 seconds. Try that before pouring yourself another cup of coffee.
Because nature’s beauty is therapeutic, and that often goes unappreciated by city folk who live in a world of cars and offices. A hike in the forest or walk in the park lifts your spirits while putting you in the present in an increased state of mindfulness. That, in turn, turns off that “fight or flight” response in the same way as meditation, leaving you relaxed and ready to face challenges with a level head.
Build these activities into your schedule, and you’ll begin to feel the restorative power that real self-care has to offer. Others will notice the difference, but it’s up to you whether to share the secret.
Q. Do you neglect any part of yourself, when practicing self-care?