What’s the Big Deal About Self-Care?

You hear about self-care every day. It means different things to different people, and it could mean a hundred different things for you. We could go on and on about how to practice self-care in your life by giving you an endless list of things to do for your own care, but let’s stick to the basics for now. Do your mental health a favor by taking action to care for yourself.

Prioritize Your Health

You only have one body in this one life, so make sure you treat it well. Get regular annual checkups to catch medical problems before they become unmanageable. Eat clean and mindfully with an emphasis on vegetables and fruit, lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs, beans), complex carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, whole grains), and good fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, and nut butters). Skip the processed food, additives, and sugar.

Gut health and probiotics have been buzzwords in the health and nutrition industry for a good reason. Everything you eat contributes to how your body functions and feels. When your gut is out of whack, so is your overall well-being. Get to know the flora of your gut so you can make choices on dietary supplements to aid your digestive health.  

When it comes to staying active, try to exercise at least three days a week, but no more than six (unless you’re sticking to active recovery like yoga or a relaxing walk); your muscles need a day to recover. If you experience post-workout soreness during recovery, consider trying CBD oil. Research indicates that it can help treat inflammation, and it’s even used for other health problems like anxiety and depression. Before taking this route, check with your doctor, then compare oils online before deciding which one to take.

Sleep More

Since you’re an adult, there’s a good chance you’re not sleeping enough. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is sluggish and your brain is foggy. It’s hard to concentrate on work, feel good about yourself, or reach a positive mindset. If there’s one thing worse than being hangry, it’s suffering from sleep-deprivation. Get better sleep at night so you can function at your best all day.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, your mattress could be the problem. A comfortable and supportive mattress can make a big difference in your sleep quality. In addition to your bed, high-quality sheets and pillows help you sleep without tossing and turning all night. It could even be the temperature in your room or the noise outside, so make the proper adjustments to make your sleep environment in an ideal place for a good night’s rest.

Reduce Your Stress

There’s not an adult in this world that isn’t under some kind of daily stress. Health, finances, work, family, and relationships are heavy constants that weigh on us at all times. And that’s not including the trivial occurrences that annoy us and cause unnecessary stress, like sitting in traffic or shattering a glass dish.

That’s why you need to limit the stress in your life. You might not have control over what happens to you in life, but you do have control over how you react to it and let it impact you. Stress is not the things that happen to us; it’s the way we let these happenings affect us. Being able to let things go with no sweat off your back may seem difficult, but you’ll be a happier person if you practice it.

Find Internal Peace

Your strength to overcome stressful situations must come from within. If you’re generally an angry or easily agitated person, then it will take some work to turn your attitude into a positive one. Deal with each moment day by day and hour by hour rather than overwhelming yourself with what’s yet to come. Ask yourself why this moment or situation should even bother you and if it’s worth stressing yourself out over. Avoid taking things personally when they’re not about you.

Transforming your mindset and finding peace could mean repeating positive affirmations, meditation to clear your mind before bed, exercising every day to get the endorphins going, and practicing deep breathing techniques.

Put Your Needs First

A little selfishness isn’t a bad thing, especially if you give too much of yourself to others. Learn to say “no” to a request that doesn’t serve you or make you happy. Learn to put your foot down and take a stand for yourself when people take advantage of you. Know your own worth and choose to put that before other causes. This means doing favors only when they feel right, charging the appropriate rate for your work, and not taking the blame when it’s not your fault.

You don’t have to be the martyr or the sacrificial lamb to get people to appreciate you. In fact, you might find that you receive more respect when you don’t bend over backwards to make things easier for everyone else. The more you invest in something or someone, the more you care about it. The opposite also stands true: the more you let someone invest in you, the more they’ll care about you. The best form of self-care might be letting others take care of you.

Let Loose Sometimes

Everyone needs to relax from time to time, especially if you’re a busybody, workaholic, or a stress case. Allow yourself a play day every week where you put aside strict diets, work, and responsibilities. Sleep in, skip the gym, eat a treat meal, ignore your emails, don’t do chores, chill outside, be social, indulge in recreational activities, go on adventures, or stay out late. Do the things that you rarely allow yourself to do in your normal routine. You’ll be more productive on Monday if your Saturday is fun, relaxing, and stress-free.

Be Present to Your Feelings

Being present to your feelings is one of the greatest ways to practice self-care. It’s a testament to yourself that you’re not afraid of who you are or what you’re feeling. It could be that you’re feeling small, confident, hurt, inspired, frustrated, elated, inadequate, fulfilled, trapped, free, angry, happy, depressed, satisfied, regretful, excited, helpless, strong, distressed, calm, or guilty. These feelings could be felt as a result of your interactions with others, toward yourself, or toward some aspect of life that you can’t control. It could be your relationship struggles that make you feel this way, or perhaps your lack of presence to your feelings is making the communication in your relationship suffer.

Getting in touch with your feelings sounds like a cliché, but with so many people emotionally suppressed, it’s a necessary one. Acknowledging and addressing how you’re feeling are the first steps to taking care of your emotional health. As you become aware of your feelings, accept them for what they are and choose to move on from them.

There is nothing wrong with how you’re feeling. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. You can choose whether to confront the source of your feelings or not, but it’s unhealthy to walk around with a cloud looming over your head because you didn’t want to seek closure. The more you hold in and ignore your feelings, the more it chips away at you and your relationships.

Remember to take care of yourself, and stop forgetting your own needs. The more in tune you are with your emotional and mental health, the better off you’ll be. Sometimes, it starts with simply taking care of your body. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on self-care — you just need to be willing to do it and not feel an ounce of guilt for it.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Brad Krause

View posts by Brad Krause

Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.

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