Self-care is growing in popularity. It’s a hot topic that gets a lot of attention, especially right now with the uncertainty and stress that we are all living in. However, in spite of the self-care trend, many people continue to struggle to understand what it means and how to get enough of it. I guarantee that practicing these 5 self-care tips will change your life.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the intentional practice of prioritizing your physical, emotional mental, and spiritual health. By practicing self-care daily, you are a more healthy, mindful, and sustainable person.
Oftentimes, the reason you get sick is that you are neglecting your self-care. Therefore, it’s critical for you to take good care of your body, mind, and soul every day, and not wait until you are sick.
Following self-care tips, like a healthy diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and practicing meditation is key. These self-care tips are part of the foundation of prioritizing wellness. As a result, you will feel balanced, resilient, and healthy.
Why do you fail at practicing self-care?
Without a doubt you are busy, you don’t have time. You may have a stressful job, numerous social commitments and a family to care for. You may also be spending hours on social media and trying to keep up with all your responsibilities.
As a result, you are failing to practice common self-care tips.
So where do you find time to practice self-care? Perhaps you may even feel guilty about setting aside time to take care of yourself?
“If someone you know is stranded on the side of the road because their car ran out of gas, do you empty your gas tank for them? Instead, you would likely use what you have to help that person get gas for their tank. Although kind, giving up all of your gas to help someone else creates a new problem altogether. Instead, the more effective way would be to fill your tank so you can better help someone fill theirs.”Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC “Why your self-care isn’t working”
It’s easy to put yourself last, especially when you put the needs of your loved ones ahead of your own. This is not a sustainable approach, because you may begin to feel burnout, exhausted, and resentful.
Remember the old adage “In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first” I’ve always wondered why airlines recommended that.
It’s simple really, without oxygen you will not be able to recognize shapes and faces. Eventually, you will pass out. You can’t help someone else when you’re passed out right?
The same applies to practicing self-care tips. In order to take care of someone else, you first have to care for yourself.
“In situations you are low on energy and short on time, you may be especially likely to give up your own needs for the sake of someone else. Over time this can be dangerous. Also, when caring for others, it is helpful to demonstrate the importance of taking care of yourself to set an example and deter them from self-neglect as well.”Shaina Ali Ph.D., LMHC “Why you’re self-care isn’t working”
Putting self-care tips into practice can be tricky, especially if you’re new to this and want to make a change. Remember, change is hard, and be gentle with yourself as you adapt.
Getting started with self-care tips
Congratulations! By reading this article, you’re now one step closer to changing your life by engaging in essential self-care tips.
First, take some time aside and write down which areas in your life you feel you need to pay more attention to. Journaling is a great method since you can look at your old entries and can track your progress.
Lastly, no matter which approach you choose, the goal is to figure out which self-care tips work best for you.
Moreover, learn how to use these tips, and implement them in your regular routine, so you can boost your well-being not only today, but forever.
Here are my 5 self-care tips that will change your life.
1. Prioritize your sleep
One of the most important self-care tips to integrate into your daily life is to prioritize your sleep. When you sacrifice your sleep, other parts of your life will suffer. A common misconception is that you can learn to get by on less than 6 hours a night. However, research suggests that adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to be well-rested.
If you are in a chronic state of sleep deprivation, your brain is flooded with stress hormones like cortisol which cause inflammation in your mind and body. Over time, you put yourself at risk of becoming physically ill and possibly depressed or anxious.
Adequate sleep, on the other hand, helps stabilize your mood, appetite, memory, energy and boosts your immune system.
To learn more about self-care tips and prioritizing your sleep, check out my article on 8 tips to finally say goodbye to your sleep problems.
2. Follow a healthy diet
A healthy diet is among the important self-care tips to follow since food is fuel for your body.
If you’re eating a diet made up of highly processed foods, then you may want to look at changing your diet. These types of food trigger inflammation in your mind and body.
Inflammation is correlated with mental and physical illness. As a medical social worker, I regularly work with patients who have health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and depression.
A majority of these health conditions are a result of high levels of inflammation in the body. You can prevent these medical conditions by changing following self-care tips like following a healthy diet.
“Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the “waste” (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.”Dr. Eva Selhub MD Harvard Medical School
I truly believe the notion that “you are what you eat.” Remember, food is medicine and is a natural way to improve your physical, emotional, and mental health. Some of the most amazing self-care tips for food include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy veggies, and brassicas, like broccoli.
When you’re stressed, you’re likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and food because cortisol (the stress hormone) increases our appetite or drive for sweet, fatty foods. Each of us copes and responds differently to stress. One of the self-care tips you can try is to eat nutritiously.
“Your body is your only vessel and taking care of it and feeding it healthy, nutritious and nourishing foods will help you get energy and stay physically well.”Pantea Rahimian, LCSW
Making dietary changes can be hard, so equip yourself with the right tools by doing some research, talking to your physician, and talking to a registered dietician.
3. Exercise, stretch and move daily
Your body was never designed to sit for 8+ hours a day. Instead, your body was designed to move, stretch, and be physically active. Integrating movement is vital for your health. These self-care tips will help you feel better once you engage in them daily.
On the other hand, sitting for an extensive period of time can wreak havoc on your posture and health. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns like obesity and high blood sugar.
What’s amazing is that exercise is like a drug in that the benefits for your brain are equivalent to taking a low-dose antidepressant. Exercise promotes all kinds of positive changes in your brain, including reducing inflammation and promoting new activity patterns that instill feelings of calm and well-being.
Exercise also releases endorphins, powerful “feel good” chemicals in your brain that give you energy and improve your mood. You should check out my article and read more about this on Abandon New Years Resolutions and do these 6 things instead.
4. Practice mindfulness & meditation
Oftentimes we are lost in thought, worrying about this or thinking about that. It’s rare that we are actually in the present moment.
Mindfulness practice encourages non-judgmental awareness, seeing things exactly as they are, with openness and curiosity.
When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, your thoughts and emotions are erratic. That is normal. Practicing mindfulness helps you focus on where you are at that exact moment.
If you are new to mindfulness and meditation, now is an ideal opportunity to engage in this activity since it will help alleviate your anxiety and stress.
To start a mindfulness practice, I suggest that you download an app and follow the free tutorials. My two favorite mindfulness meditation apps are Meditation Studio and HeadSpace. Both apps offer guided mindfulness meditations that are free and easy to use.
Practicing mindfulness meditation is amongst the best self-care tips for your overall health and wellness. You will notice how remarkably better you feel once you begin a daily practice.
5. Drink water
Hydration is among the self-care tips that will change your life. Your body is made up of about 70% water. So when you’re well-hydrated, your cells are functioning optimally and help you remain focused, efficient, and energetic.
“Without hydration, your body can’t run efficiently. Drinking water helps regulate your body temperature, aids in digestion, and rids the body of toxins. Staying hydrated also helps lower stress, keeps your weight in check, and allows your muscles and organs, including your heart, to work properly.”Lisa Payne Ways to Stay Smart About How You Stay Hydrated
Drink a glass of water (not coffee), mid-afternoon when you notice yourself feeling lethargic. You’ll feel better and your sleep will improve at night.
Keep a water bottle next to you and sip throughout the day.
Staying hydrated is key to your overall well-being. Once you get into the habit of integrating these hydration self-care tips, you’ll find yourself with more energy, a better mood, and overall health improvement.
Integrating self-care tips into your daily routine will remarkably change your life.
To get started, learn about the importance of sleep and start prioritizing it. Next, talk to your doctor or a registered dietician to follow a healthy diet. Third, exercise, move and stretch daily. Your body is designed for daily movement, not sitting, and being sedentary. Fourth, practice mindfulness meditation to orient yourself to the here and now. Lastly, stay hydrated by drinking water daily. You’ll find yourself with more energy, focus, and clarity.
By practicing these 5 self-care tips daily, you are on your way to having more energy, clarity, focus, and positivity in your life. The more time you invest in your self-care, the better you will be able to thrive and enjoy your life.
What are some of your favorite self-care practices? How do you devote time to your self-care? Please share your stories and comments below.