According to The American Institute of Stress 77% of people in the United States have reported regularly experiencing physical symptoms caused by stress and 33% of people feel they are living with extreme stress. Our fast paced society encourages being on the move constantly which is resulting in people stretching themselves too thin trying to keep up with this accelerated lifestyle. Remembering to slow down and make time for self-care is crucial for living a healthy and balanced life.
What is Self-Care?
So what exactly is self-care? Self-Care is a broad term used to describe caring for yourself. According to clinical health psychologist, Helen L. Coons, PhD, "Self-care is one’s action around our physical, emotional, relational, perhaps professional, educational, and, for some people, spiritual well-being that reflects the way that we take care of ourselves on the most fundamental levels."
You might be thinking that sounds great, but who actually has the time for self-care? Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. You just need to be intentional and consistent with small efforts of caring for yourself. These small efforts over time will pay off in a big way. Keep reading to find out how you can incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine.
Make Sleep a Priority
Several studies have reported that American’s are not getting enough sleep resulting in serious health consequences. According to the American Psychological Association, Americans would be happier, healthier and safer if they were to get an extra 60 to 90 minutes of quality sleep each night. Check out these 6 tips to get a better night’s sleep.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
It may be tempting to skip out on self-care when you’re busy and on the go but it’s important to set aside time specifically to recharge your batteries. Even if it’s only a few minutes of intentional acts to care for yourself a day you will be much better off than if you wait until you’re completely burned out.
Choosing to eat healthy is a great way to practice self-care. Giving your body healthy and nutritious food will not only give you more energy but also has long term health benefits. Because self-care is all about doing things to care for yourself avoid crash diets that are too restrictive or extreme and stick to a mentality of choosing healthy food and drink options.
Move Your Body
Being active is a wonderful way to be kind to yourself. Not only does exercise have numerous physical health benefits it also improves your mood and overall mental health. If you’re out of shape, start small and gradually increase the amount of time you are active and the intensity.
Unplug from Electronics
Because of the advancements of technology it can be tempting to be “on” 24/7. Constantly receiving emails, text messages, and checking your social media can be mentally exhausting. Taking time to unplug reduces stress and allows you to be more present in your life.
Make Time for Nature
Numerous studies have reported the many benefits of spending time in nature. Spending time outdoors is connected with so many health benefits such as improved memory, focus and feelings of happiness
Meditation is the act of practicing mindfulness while concentrating on your breathing. Meditation is a great form of self-care due to the many benefits on your physical and mental health. You don’t have to be a pro either - simply get into a comfortable position and focus on taking deep breaths. You’ll feel more relaxed in a matter of minutes.
You’ve heard the old saying… Laughter is the best medicine and it really is! Laughter triggers the release of endorphins giving you an instant mood boost. Cuddle up with your most cozy blanket and watch a funny movie, in the name of self-care, of course.
Learn to Say No
One of the most underrated ways to practice self-care is learning how to say no. We often take on projects, social interactions, and other commitments that we don’t want to do but do anyway because of social pressures. Learning how to set boundaries and say no to people and situations is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Make Time for a Hobby You Enjoy
Hectic work schedules and responsibilities at home may have made having hobbies a thing of the past. But scheduling time for hobbies and activities you enjoy is important. Not only does having hobbies allow you to unwind and recharge they also allow you to explore your talents and abilities