There’s been a lot of discussion of late about self-care. I want to share with you why these discussions are so relevant and how you can engage in taking better care of yourself. The health of your body, mind and spirit are vital to safe guarding your well-being. By learning to practice good self-care, you can ensure long term health. Your long term health not only includes the physical, but the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual components of your well-being.
Self-care is important in today’s world where our schedules are so full we barely have enough time to nurture our bodies, mind and spirit. You can’t control your circumstances but you can control how well you take care of yourself. Good self-care helps to build resilience making you more capable of dealing with the uncontrollable circumstances that life will inevitably throw at you. Let’s look at some good self-care strategies you can incorporate into your busy schedule to enhance your well-being.
1. Exercise regularly
Research shows that regular exercise can help reduce the risk for several diseases and health conditions which can improve the quality of your life. It’s also pretty hard to argue the psychological effects of exercise. Regular exercise can help to improve your mood, boost your self-esteem and overall well-being. Exercising is also a great way to reduce anxiety, depression and manage stress.
2. Get enough sleep
When it comes to sleep, both quality and quantity matter. Sleep is very important for your physical and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your attitude and mood, your ability to handle stress, your productivity and overall ability to function well. If you are struggling with getting enough sleep, or having a hard time falling asleep try to avoid activities that make sleep seem elusive. For a more restful night, try to avoid caffeine late in the afternoon and too much stimulation right before or close to bedtime. If you are in a committed relationship, sex can be a great night time stress reliever. Sex can enhance your relationship but there’s the added bonus of relaxing your body thereby making it more conducive to a good night’s rest. Meditation is also a great technique to use before bedtime. It relaxes the body, clears the mind and can create inner peace helping you to transition naturally into sleep.
3. Maintain a spiritual practice
Spirituality is about faith and finding meaning in life. Even if you don’t necessarily practice a specific faith, you can still practice spiritual self-care. Maintaining a spiritual practice may mean meditation, prayer or taking time for communal worship in a religious setting. Spiritual practice can also help ease both psychological and emotional distress.
4. Engage in hobbies
Make time for hobbies and have some fun. Having leisure time is an effective way to manage stress when you are feeling overwhelmed. Chances are you still have hobbies that you love but life has gotten in the way and has made it difficult. Be intentional about making time for the little things too like reading that good book you’ve been meaning to finish or watching a funny movie. Perhaps even starting a collection of funny movies to watch when you are feeling overwhelmed.
5. Pamper yourself
Splurging on a professional massage or at the hair salon can be a fantastic way to relax. You can have a spa day and get a massage or a facial. If cost is a concern, you can create a home spa by taking a long shower or bath. You could also include the use of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has been known to reduce anxiety, depression, boost energy level and induce sleep.
What other things have you tried to help you relax after a stressful day? Anything positive that relaxes you and makes you feel less stressed will support your self-care efforts.