Self-care has been a hot topic of conversation within the health and wellness space lately, and it’s for a good reason. Self-care is the act of participating in activities that help take care of our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health to promote overall well-being. In today’s fast-paced, constantly logged-on society, it can be hard to slow down and make time for ourselves. We place our self-care in the backseat when setting it front and center on our dashboards would be optimal. Self-care can improve our moods, decrease anxiety and help us stay engaged and present in our relationships and everyday life. In other words, it is worth our attention!
If you have ever been on a plane, you know the flight attendants always provide a safety briefing before takeoff. Although many of us often snooze through this briefing, there is one crucial piece of advice they give that we can apply to our self-care. Their guidance – “Please make sure to put on and secure your own oxygen mask before helping others” – captures the essence of self-care. For us to be able to thoroughly take care and support others, it is essential that we are not stressed out, burnt out and plugged in. We, too, need time to recharge and refuel to be the best versions of ourselves.
So, how do we do this? Self-care is comprised of multiple facets: physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual. For part 1 of this self-care blog series, we will focus on what we can do to take care of our physical well-being:
Move your body in a meaningful, energetic way
Do what feels good for you. If it means taking some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or boot camp-like classes, great! If that means taking it slow and going to yoga or simply taking a walk outside, awesome! Listen to your body. It knows what you need better than your mind does, so do what feels useful to you at the current moment. Some days you may have more energy to take a rev-up spin class, and other days yoga or light stretching may be more your speed.
Eat whole, nutrient dense food while adapting intuitive eating habits
Choose foods that make you feel good and support an active lifestyle. By having a diet comprised of mostly whole, nutrient dense food, it can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and promote overall well-being. It is also essential to practice intuitive eating habits by becoming attuned to your body’s natural hunger signals to promote a healthy weight. This means if you want the extra slice of cake, go for it! Just be mindful of how it makes you feel and whether you are actually hungry, or if your eyes are just bigger than your stomach.
On top of getting adequate exercise and eating healthy foods, the most important thing you can do for your body is to allow it to rest and recover. This means getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. You can start to establish a sleep routine by shutting down electronics and preparing for bed 1-hour before you want to fall asleep. Begin by washing your face, brushing your teeth, and even making a cup of hot caffeine-free tea and reading a book. This will help create a routine for bed, and your brain will learn that when you take part in these rituals, it is time to shut down and get some shut-eye. Self-care is just that, taking care of oneself and you are worth it! We recommend practicing these tips every day for at least two weeks. Be sure to note what works for you and what doesn’t. Stick with it and see if you don’t notice some positive changes over time.
In part 2 of this blog series, we will focus on a few additional facets of self-care. Stay tuned!