People often place the well-being of their loved one above themselves. These are primary caregivers, which includes parents, children taking care of elderly and healthcare providers. Self-care means paying attention to and supporting one’s own physical and mental health. It is also a big part of treatment for many physical and mental health disorders.
Why is self-care important?
Let me give you an example for this situation. When you get on an airplane and the flight attendant gives that safety spiel, when they get to the part about the oxygen masks, the first thing they tell you is: “If you’re traveling with children or others who need assistance, put your oxygen mask on first.”
Think about it. Let’s say you don’t do that and you fall unconscious due to lack of oxygen, then no one gets the help they need. So it is important that you take care of yourself before trying to take care of the others. Some people might say that it feels like being selfish and I know that it can be challenging to fit in self-care when time is at a premium and demands on you are high, but here are the four easy steps you can consider.
4 things to help revive and nourish body and soul
1. Be physically active
Exercise release stress, boosts the mood, and elevates our energy level, it also benefits the heart health. You can exercise just about anywhere, anytime. Exercise at least 30 minutes each time and at least 3 times a week. Think of the activity you enjoy and how that enjoyable activity can fit into your life: maybe you can ride your bike to work, or take your kids on an easy hike, or get the whole family to rake leaves with you.
2. Eat well
That means eat healthy. Studies show that whole-foods, plant-based diet for our health is almost as large as the exercise one. Stay away from inflammatory, sugar-spiking. Aim for things that grew on plants or trees. The more colorful the fruits or vegetables, the more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they have and the healthier they are.
3. Calm your mind
We all have stressors in our lives. What varies is how much we let the stressors stress us. What can we do? Yes, meditation works. The relaxation response works. Yoga works. Furthermore, some calming activities such as knitting, baking, walking and swimming works. Anything quiet and peaceful, when one can take deep breaths and be calmly, enjoyably focused.
4. Sleep well
Aim for a refreshing amount of sleep. While this will differ for everyone, generally it’s about eight hours. Sleep deprivation causes irritability, poor cognition, impaired reflexes and response time (think: car accidents!), and chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to depression and anxiety. Create a short, easy bedtime routine. Reduce the usage of your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, as the light interferes and interrupts the natural sleep onset. Alcohol near bedtime also interferes with sleep, and is a common cause of nighttime or early-morning awakening.