Start Taking Care Of Yourself
Self care is an important part of staying physically and mentally healthy. For many people learning to take care of yourself is a process that can be challenging. Often when people are growing up they are taught to put the needs of their work, their families, and other people ahead of their own needs.
But it’s okay to focus on yourself. In fact, it’s the only way that you’re going to have the energy and strength to look after other people. Bettering yourself through self care will make you healthier and happier.
What Is Self Care?
Self care at the simplest level is making sure that you are doing the things that you need to do in order to stay healthy physically and mentally. Caring for yourself is an active choice that you need to make everyday that prioritizes your own health and happiness.
That sounds simple, but most people struggle to incorporate self care into their daily routines because they think it seems selfish. Self care isn’t selfish, but it can feel that way when you’re used to putting everyone else first. When you first start taking care of yourself some of your friends and family members might resent that you no longer put them first. That’s ok. Keep practicing self care.
Physical Self Care
Physical self care is something that a lot of people struggle with because there never seems to be enough time or energy to do the things that you know you should do like exercise daily or eat healthy. It’s common for people to have the best intentions to get up early and workout or make a healthy dinner but then to sleep in and hit the drive thru for dinner because they are overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted from their day filled with handling problems and catering to everyone else.
There are a lot of significant health benefits that come from making physical self care a priority. Regular exercise will help you keep your muscles strong. It also helps reduce stress. It can help with weight management. And according to medical studies taking the time for regular exercise can have any or all of these effects on your physical health:
- Better sleep
- Lower risk of heart attack
- Lower stress levels
- Stronger bones
- Better cardiovascular health
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduce risk of some kinds of cancer
- Lower risk of diabetes and insulin resistance
- Better circulation
- Better mood
When you see all the benefits that you can get from just 30 minutes of regular exercise each day it makes it a little easier to prioritize regular exercise.
Mental Self Care
Mental self care means giving yourself a break from the worries and stresses that you have to deal with all day long so that you can relax, clear your mind, and focus. Taking regular mental health breaks for self care can help you manage the symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety and for some people can get rid of those symptoms entirely. Meditation, journaling, making art, and pursuing hobbies are all things that you can do to practice mental self care.
Making time For Self Care
The number one reason that people neglect self care is that they say they don’t have the time. But how many hours have you spent on social media today? How many minutes have you spent mindlessly scrolling through the news? There is enough time in the day to make time for self care if you are aware of your time and choose how you spend it. You have to make an active choice to make self care a priority instead of other things like spending time on social media.
Most smartphones these days have an app that will track how long you spend on social media each day. Check the app every day for a week. You may be shocked to see how many hours each day you waste mindlessly on social media. Swap 30 minutes of exercise and 30 minutes of art for just one hour spend on social media and you’ll be shocked at how much that will change your physical and mental health.
Self Care Ideas
Self care tips are usually not that easy to apply to real life. It’s all well and good for celebrities or gurus to talk about meditating for hours when they don’t have a job, kids, and other obligations. Here are some easy to follow self care ideas that anyone can do to start a regular self care routine no matter how busy they are:
- Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual. When you get up reach for a notebook and pen instead of your cell phone and write three pages. Just write whatever comes into your mind. This will help you get rid of worries and stress and focus on the day ahead.
- Make breakfast the night before. If your mornings are very hectic start preparing a healthy breakfast the night before so that you can still eat a healthy meal in the morning. You can put prepared oats and fruit in a paper cup and put it in the fridge so you can grab it on the way out. Or mix up a smoothie quickly in the morning. But make time for a healthy breakfast.
- Spend one evening each week on a hobby. You can join a class or just spend an hour in the tub reading a book. Whatever kind of hobby appeals to you is fine. But spend at least one hour once a week doing something just for the fun of it.
Looking for more self care inspiration? Read our 71 Ways to Care for Yourself.