Have you heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? Many of us put our needs aside and on the back burner and instead use our energy doing it all for others. To take care of ourselves is what allows us to care for our families, friends, and neighbors. It can drastically improve our mental and physical health, not to mention our day-to-day happiness. Did you know the feeling of being overwhelmed is a sign that stress and anxiety are high which often drain our energy? Here are some tips to help you get started with self-care:
Get regular exercise
Physical self-care involves activities that improve your physical health. Just 30 minutes of walking every day wearing shoes with comfortable insoles (especially if you have plantar fasciitis) can help boost your mood and improve your health. Small amounts of exercise add up, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes at one time.
Eat regular meals and stay hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water each day (eight glasses) can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. Also, limit caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks or coffee. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Eat a nourishing lunch at work. Cook with your family.
Make sleep a priority
Stick to a schedule, set a consistent and sufficient sleep schedule and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Blue light from devices and screens can make it harder to fall asleep, so reduce blue light exposure from your phone or computer before bedtime.
Try a relaxing activity
Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. Here are some activitites worthwhile of doing: Read a book. Write in a journal. Draw, paint, or color. Complete a puzzle. Learn a new skill. Watch the sunrise or sunset. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy.
Remind yourself daily of things you are grateful for. Be specific. Write them down at night, or replay them in your mind. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do. Focus on positivity. Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
Invest in relationships that are uplifting
Relational or social self-care involves activities that nurture and deepen relationships with people in your life. Make time for important people in your life. Spend time talking to your friends and family, even over the phone or video-chat. Be aware of your emotions and how they affect your relationships.
Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. Practicing self-care is like recharging your battery. Your health and wellness will improve when you practice self-care. Self-care can look different for everyone, but to count as self-care, the behavior should promote health and happiness for you. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.