Guest Blog Post: Self Care
Make Time For Self-Care And Improve Your Health
By Brad Krause
If you’ve felt stressed lately, you’re not alone. A recent American Psychological Association poll discovered that 1 in 3 Americans are living with extreme stress, and 48 percent believed that their stress had increased over the past few years. That much stress can take a toll on your mental health. So, how can you reduce stress? The answer is clear: You must make time for self-care.
Read on for some simple steps you can take right now to bring more self-care into your everyday life:
Simple Steps for Self-Care
Often, when we think of self-care, we think of expensive spa days or an hour-long massage. But you can take simple, budget-friendly steps to improve your mental health every day.
Believe it or not, healthy eating is a form of self-care. It might not be as luxurious as a day at the spa, but it’s a decision you can make today and do from the comfort of your own home. You might start a new diet after getting some advice from your doctor or a dietitian. You might even mindfully avoid GMOs at the grocery store and opt for organic whole foods instead. If all of these options feel overwhelming, don’t worry. There are numerous meal delivery services who can take the guesswork out of healthy eating. From lighter meals, such as low-calorie options, to specific dietary needs related to food allergies, meal delivery services will ship ingredients - and recipes - straight to your door each week.
Want to know what healthy eating looks to for you? Schedule a free consultation with Lydia, the Dietitian.
Get Enough Sleep
50-70 million adult Americans have a sleep disorder, according to the American Sleep Association. For many, short sleeping times or an inability to fall asleep is the problem. Most people need at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you aren’t already hitting seven hours, try gradually bumping up your sleep time a little every day.
Also, before bed, avoid caffeine and screen time because both can keep you up. Create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom. You want it dark and quiet so you can rest. To help tire yourself, try adding exercise into your routine during the day.
Daily Relaxation Time
While you’re working on sleep, you should also be working on periods of relaxation once or twice a day. If not, you can deplete your energy. Relaxation techniques can help manage anxiety, insomnia, and possibly other conditions. They include:
● Progressive relaxation
● Guided imagery
● Deep breathing
Learn more relaxation techniques and how they can help in this article from the National Institute of Health.
This can be accomplished very simply by avoiding your highest sources of stress.
While we don’t recommend quitting your job, you might want to turn off the news or stay off social media if these outlets upset you. If you have negative people in your life, you may want to distance yourself from them for a while.
Another great way to relieve stress is to say “no” to things you don’t have time for. You’ll be tempted to think of this as selfish, but don’t. If you avoid overburdening yourself with too many tasks, you just might make space for better opportunities, even to serve others.
Other Self-Care Options
There really are a myriad of self-care techniques you can employ in your daily life. Many of which don’t have to cost much if anything. Consider:
● Yoga: Combining a healthy, low-impact workout with deep breathing and meditative practices accomplishes a lot of tasks in one workout. It’s also great for getting in touch with your body and mind.
● Meditation: If yoga isn’t your thing, simply learn meditative techniques. Practice for 10-15 minutes a day.
● New Hobby: Taking up a new hobby can be fun and interesting. As your expertise grows, so will your confidence and your creativity. Consider activities such as painting, cooking classes, or hiking.
From “Me Time” Moments to Cultivating a Life
Self-care is not just helpful for your mental health. All these activities can help you build a more interesting life if you use them in a positive way. For example, you’ll have more time for self-reflection. Use it to be grateful or to journal your experiences.
As you incorporate more self-care into your daily routine, you’ll naturally become more selective with your time. Choose to do what you enjoy. You’ll be more relaxed and rested, and that will give you the energy to be more productive. Creativity can flow in that space – embrace it! Incorporating self-care into your routine is a very important part of maintaining good mental health. Just a few minutes a day of “me time” can free up more space for a better life.