Let’s clear up one common misconception from the get-go, how many of you are already thinking, “self-care is selfish?” Not only is personal care unselfish, but it is imperative so that you can improve longevity, optimal health for yourself, as well as help care for others and do all the things you need and want to accomplish in a day. Self-care is taking steps to tend to your physical and emotional health needs to the best of your ability. The World Health Organization defines this as: “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider,” including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. Now that we go that covered let’s review some different categories of self-care:
Physical: Adopt an exercise routine you can stick with, prioritizing sleep, choosing healthy and nutritious foods in your diet plan.
Emotional: Allow yourself to slow down and take a pause in your routine. Say “no” to things that cause you unnecessary stress. Consider activities such as taking yourself a bubble bath, or reading your favorite book.
Spiritual: Get connected to something deeper, such as attending a religious service, spending time out in nature, meditating, or keeping a gratitude journal.
You you might be asking, “what counts as self-care and what doesn’t”? There’s no way to say exactly what counts as self-care, because everyone’s definition is individual and unique. Basically, it’s anything that brings you JOY in the long run. Remember, self-care does not have to cost anything! For example, being on your yoga mat and taking a deep breathe, might be the greatest act of self-care.
An article published in January 2020 in JAMA noted that longevity in the 21st century depends on abiding by health practices-such as exercising, not smoking, following a healthy diet, and generally embracing a positive lifestyle all around. Overwhelmingly, medical research supports routine exercise, proper nutrition, and quality sleep of at about 7-9 hours nightly as methods for prolonging life, reducing disease (including major cardiovascular events and death), and improving quality of life.
Okay, okay, we’ve all been stressed out when we are too darn busy to STOP. We encourage you to pause, even if it is just for a few minutes. Even just a simple break in the routine can help lower your blood pressure and manage those stressors. So who’s ready to add some stress-reduction into your life? Use the following and repeat as needed!
- Take a deep breathe
- Water your indoor plants
- Get outside in nature
- Prepare yourself a nutritious meal
- Put your phone down (and social media!)
- Hug someone
- Tell someone you love them
- Go for a walk
- Do some yoga
- Read a good book
- Call a friend
- Try something new you have been seeking for a while
- Stop to smell the roses
- Put together a puzzle
- Color in a coloring book
- Make a cup of hot tea
- Listen to the birds
- Drink a glass of water
- Eat a piece of dark chocolate
- Write a letter to someone you love
If you think someone else would benefit from this blog, please share. And please remember that self-care is not selfish and it is so important to your health!