Five Self-Care Practices that Enhance Your Lifestyle
The actions we take every day have a direct influence over how we feel both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, self-care often takes a backseat to responsibilities, such as work and family. But self-care is exactly what we need in order to be our best. Here are five things you can do starting today to change your lifestyle and keep your mind and body healthy, happy, and whole.
Get enough sleep.
It’s no secret that the body needs sleep. But, the amount of sleep it needs for a healthy lifestyle is often contested. Most experts agree, however, that adults require between seven and nine hours each night. Your personal rest quota may be slightly less or slightly more and can change depending on the current circumstances of your life. Everyday Health explains that a single day without adequate sleep can take a toll on your cognitive function. If you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night, you must determine what’s keeping you up. One of the first things to check is your mattress. Swapping your outdated mattress can make a huge difference in your sleep quality and comfort. Also important is the temperature in your room and the amount of light that enters your bedroom.
Eat whole foods.
Eating whole fruits that have not been processed have numerous benefits, the least of which is an improved mental state. Your dietary lifestyle should include a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and limit your proteins to lean meats such as chicken and turkey.
Quit piling up your proverbial plate. No matter how much you love your job or your family, there has to come a time you simply say no to taking on additional responsibilities when asked. Christiane Northrup, M.D. explains that too much of any activity can trigger your brain to up its production of stress hormones, which can lead you down a rocky road toward poor health. Don’t feel guilty for not taking on an additional project, even if it’s only 30 extra minutes out of your week. If you’re already overloaded, this time can be best put to use doing activities for yourself that will make you more productive. A healthy lifestyle is one in which there is also time for you!
The human body was built to stay in motion. But since the 1990s, a huge chunk of jobs and leisure activities have moved online, meaning the people doing them remain seated. This may be the one biggest change in lifestyle in recent years. Your self-care routine should include plenty of exercise, which can help manage depression and make you better able to handle stressful situations. The University of Pittsburgh explains that other benefits of exercise include improved cholesterol, a beefed-up metabolism and a clearer head. If you struggle to simply find the time to exercise, take heart knowing you are not alone. Several mom/bloggers recently spilled the beans to Daily Burn on how they fit fitness into their day. PS – a dog really could help with getting more exercise… and our next point as well.
We’ve mentioned lifestyle stress several times throughout the short piece. There’s a reason for that. The stress you feel, or rather the way you react to it, strongly shapes your mental and physical health. Even if you follow all these tips, it’s easy to feel stressed out, which can make all of your hard work all for nothing. If you can’t eliminate the sources of your stress, look at it from a different perspective (potentially with help from an online therapist…). For example, instead of walking into work with an anxious mind each morning, consider your time at the office as an opportunity to earn bonus points (money) that will allow you to live better at home. Sometimes, a change in perspective is all we need to feel good about all we do.
It should be evident that self-care has nothing to do with self-indulgence. It is simply the practice of ensuring the complex mechanisms we call mind and body remain in top shape. You can do it! You have the power to change your lifestyle!
This post was slightly modified from a blog post article written by Dana Brown (HealthConditions.Info).