Exercise gets a lot of attention when it comes to discussions about health and well-being. And it should, because a solid workout routine not only comes with many great physical benefits, but it also fosters mental and emotional health. However, overall wellness doesn’t stop with exercise. In order to be truly healthy and live out your full potential, self-care must be a part of your life.
Contrary to what some people may believe, self-care is not selfish — it simply means taking care of yourself so you can be at your best for yourself and others. If you need to add self-care to your life, here are some great practices to start with:
Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and relaxing is a major component of reducing stress. Unfortunately, when life gets busy, taking time to relax is not always on the top of our to-do list. But if you want to add self-care to your life and foster your mental and emotional health, carving out time for relaxation is critical. Find something you can add to your routine. Whether it’s doing breathing exercises at your work desk, taking a walk in the evening, sitting to have coffee in the morning, or going fishing on the weekends, find whatever works for you.
Also, keep in mind how your home plays a role in your stress. Even if you spend dusk to dawn enjoying the most relaxing activities you can think of, if you come home to a messy, disorganized home, it’s all for naught. Set aside some time to declutter and organize your home. This project doesn’t have to be done all at once — start in a small area of the home (like your laundry room), purge your excess items, find permanent homes for the keepers, and then move on to a more frequently-used space the next week. Putting a little time in now will save you loads of stress (not to mention cleaning!) in the future.
Finally, you also may need to learn to say “no” to people at times. Overcommitting brings on a lot of stress, and it eventually results in someone being let down. Set limits for yourself so that you can fully follow through with the things you commit to.
Incorporating muscle relaxation into your routine is also vital — particularly if you’re on your feet during much of the day or you exercise a lot. While professional massages can be very beneficial, not everyone has the time or money for those. That’s where at-home foot massagers come in handy, which can end up being a great investment.
Another practical way to add self-care to your life is to prioritize sleep. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue for many Americans, and there is often a simple solution: make rest a part of your schedule. While that sounds simple, it’s not always easy. When you’re trying to juggle all of your commitments (i.e. work, family, friends, etc.), it’s tempting to let your sleep fall by the wayside. After all, you can get more accomplished when you’re awake, right? However, a lack of sleep can actually hinder your productivity and performance throughout the day. Allowing adequate time for your mind and body to recharge will help you achieve more in the long run.
Eating for Health
Diet is critical. As our minds and bodies depend on sleep for recovery, nutrition is what enables us to thrive during the day. When you eat poorly, it tends to overshadow any other positive habits in your life. For instance, if you follow a stringent workout five times a week but you eat a lot of fried and processed foods, you are still at high risk of health problems. Eat consciously, and you’ll reap health benefits and quickly notice a difference in how you feel.
We all must have self-care in our lives if we want to be fully healthy. Start by fitting relaxing activities and spaces into your routine and being conscious of your commitments. Remember to massage your feet if you work on them a lot or work out consistently. Prioritize rest by carving seven to nine hours into your schedule for sleep. Finally, eat with your overall health in mind, and you will see the drastic difference it makes in your life.
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