It doesn’t matter who you are, the way you care for yourself now defines how you feel in the future. Whether you are a busy new mom, single father, college student, or retired grandparent, you must learn to focus on yourself and integrate self-care methods into your life.
If you’re thinking that’s impossible, here are a few talking points to consider.
A well-nourished gut can lead to increased happiness.
It’s not just your brain that signals whatever emotion you feel at this moment. An increasing number of studies points toward your gut as a big contributor of your mood. The microbes that live in the gut can help determine positive and negative emotions, depending on what you feed your body. Foods with live cultures are important, because they give your gut plenty of healthy bacteria to help your mind and body thrive.
Hobbies are an important part of overall self-care.
Break out your glue gun, your model cars, and your knitting needles. We have some good news. As it turns out, participating in your favorite hobby is as good for your health as exercise, assuming your hobby isn’t eating chocolate cake. Shape explains that hobbies not only lower stress, but can boost your overall mood. And the positive effects last long after you put down your paintbrush.
The amount of time you sleep—or don’t—has an effect on your health.
Who doesn’t love to settle into a warm and comfortable bed at the end of the long hectic day? Well, now you have even more reason to grab your pajamas by 9 p.m. Studies have shown that insufficient sleep is linked to everything from cardiovascular disease to immune system disorders. Harvard University reports that the adverse health effects of poor sleep can even up your healthcare costs and strain your productivity at home and at work. To enjoy the best sleep, make sure your room is cool and comfortable and you have a supportive pillow and have blocked out excess light. A sound machine and silk eye mask will also help.
Stress can suck the life right out of you. Let it go.
Stress is one thing you certainly don’t want to collect. Whether it’s at home or at work, the way you react to stressful situations can affect your health. In fact, continuous exposure to stress in the workplace, coupled with other economic factors, can even shave a whopping three decades off your lifespan, according to U.K.-based Independent. For the sake of your mental and physical health, it’s imperative that you learn healthy coping methods and engage in activities that provide a sense of calmness. This could be something as simple as taking a walk at lunchtime to giving yourself the gift of a spa day once a month.
Your home is your haven.
There may not be much you can do to control stress at work, but you can make sure your home provides a respite. You should have at least one spot in your home dedicated to quiet reflection and meditation. This should be a space that induces a sense of relaxation and, ideally, offers a view of the outside world. It should be a special, quiet place that remains organized. You can use your meditation space for other activities, such as yoga, but try to avoid exposing this room to stressful activities like paying bills or arguing with your spouse, partner, or kids.
If you aren’t able to get to the gym regularly, you can put together a home gym to make sure you get enough exercise. This can be done inexpensively by finding a spare room and purchasing some resistance bands and dumbbells. Or you can splurge and install a ceiling fan, add a rubber floor, and put in a pull-up bar.
Positive thoughts bring positive actions which bring positive changes to your life.
One of the most important aspects of your self-care routine isn’t an action. It’s the way you think and perceive the world around you. The Huffington Post explains that, “negative emotions program your brain to do a specific action.” They narrow your mind and make it difficult to embrace positivity. On the opposite end of the spectrum, positive thinking can help you see alternative ways to handle stressful situations. In other words, be the person who sees the cup half full, not the one that dwells on its missing contents.
Although it can be difficult to separate self-care from selfishness, the two are vastly different. Self-care is comprised of the actions you take each day to keep yourself whole and healthy. By adding these and other wellness activities into your day, you give yourself a greater chance of having many more days of happiness and health.
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