By Bonnie Groessl
Self-care is an important part of staying physically and mentally healthy. When do you take care of yourself? Very often, we put the needs of our work, families and other people ahead of our own. In order to be able to do all the things you do; you must take care of yourself first. In fact, it’s the only way you are going to have the energy and strength to move ahead.
What is good self-care for you? Perhaps you like to journal or text something nice to a friend. Maybe it’s spending time watching videos of puppies, kittens, or something that makes you feel good. We all need those little mental breaks in our day. You may enjoy time in reflection, meditation or prayer, or perhaps going for a walk. It could be that you enjoy kickboxing to release stress or dancing in your living room like no one is watching. It is healthy to move our bodies in whatever way makes us feel good. Even daydreaming about something that makes you feel good is a way to practice self-care.
Decide what works best for you
You are unique. Everyone is. It’s essential to determine what actions make you feel good. Practicing self-care is meant to help you feel nourished and renewed. If you go to the gym because you think you should, but hate every minute of it, then it’s not helping you. It is not the self-care practice that is right for you.
Anyone can provide examples of how to provide good self-care, but ultimately you need to decide what helps you feel nourished and renewed. The activities that help you relieve stress and feel good may change from time to time. Life is a journey and we are always evolving. Taking care of yourself starts with cultivating healthy habits to manage your stress and nurture yourself. Basic self-care measures include healthy eating, exercise, restful sleep, meditating, or just taking time to pay attention to your breath, even for a few minutes.
Do what you enjoy
Simple is not the same as easy. We all know adopting a new habit can be a challenge. It takes consistency and commitment to make changes in your daily routine. Self-care should not be just another thing you have to do, and you don’t have to change everything in your life all at once. Just choose one thing that you can adopt. Pretty soon, it becomes a part of who you are and not another thing to do.
Life is busy, so do what you can. Incorporate activities whenever you can fit them into your day. A few minutes here and there is more manageable than setting aside a longer time. This way, it doesn’t feel like another thing on your “to-do” list.
CLICK HERE to see a demonstration of my two-minute realization technique on YouTube. You may want to think about adding this to your daily routine, or whenever you need a break.
Some self-care practices to think about adding to your daily routine
Begin at the beginning, with a healthy diet. You can enjoy some quick success simply by making healthy food choices. Eliminate processed foods from your diet and replace them with fresh, whole foods. It is wise to shop around the outside of the grocery store and limit the time you spend in the aisles. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking enough water will help you feel less hungry during the day while giving your body more of what it needs to operate efficiently. Even mild dehydration can cause decreased brain function. Hint: notice how your houseplants look when you forget to water them.
As humans, we are meant to move. Activity helps you strengthen your muscles, and improve balance and coordination. Walking 30-40 minutes a day three to five times per week helps prevent cognitive decline. Keeping your heart rate up during your exercise period improves your cardiorespiratory endurance and helps create a healthier heart. Exercise that you enjoy is also a great stress reliever!
Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages. Being still and resting rejuvenates your body and mind. Not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level. A good night’s sleep is vital for your health. Restful sleep can also improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory.
However you choose to practice good self-care, it is essential to be kind to yourself. None of us are perfect and follow our plan 100% of the time. When you fall off the wagon, acknowledge it without judgment and pick up where you left off. Practicing self-compassion can promote positive thoughts, feelings and emotions. This practice enhances your mental well-being so you can truly enjoy your life!
Bonnie Groessl is a best-selling author, podcast host, holistic nurse practitioner and success coach. Her mission is to educate, empower and facilitate your well-being while nurturing the mind-body-spirit connection. For more information visit BonnieGroessl.com.