Taking Care Of Yourself: The Self-Care Guide : There are so many negative factors pulling on our daily lives that it can seem that between work, school, social organizations, and more, there are too many things pulling in too many different directions.
Whether it’s a job or family life, or something else, daily life pressures can compound on themselves, building a mountain of stress. All those factors pulling in opposite directions can lead to increased stress levels, and stress can have significant health ramifications.
In fact, too much stress can lead to frequent headaches, higher blood pressure, heart disease, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as sleep disorders, lowered sex drive, and mood disorders.
The Benefits Of Self-Care
Self-care is a buzz word these days that simply means taking care of one’s physical and mental wellbeing. It’s also one of the first things that are sacrificed when overstressed. It is, in other words, a vicious cycle.
The benefits of focusing on wellbeing are improved long-term health, elevated moods, better cognitive function, and memory. It is a crucial point of focus on your wellbeing.
There are four primary areas of personal care: exercise, sleep, diet, and mindfulness, and each will be discussed further. Self-care benefits are that we operate best when we are at, and feel, our best. Self-care then improves our physical health, enhances our mental wellbeing, and boosts our self-esteem.
To practice self-care, you should focus on four areas that will improve your life’s overall quality and make you more focused.
Get Your Exercise
Exercise can improve skeletal-muscular growth and improve balance for long-term health and improve cardiovascular and respiratory function. Additional benefits of exercise are enhanced moods, stress release, elevated energy levels, and better, more restful sleep.
Exercise should address two areas, raising the heart rate and improving strength. By raising heart rate, your cardiovascular system is strengthened, and increasing strength is crucial for the skeletal-muscular system to bolster bone density and muscular balance. Typically 30 minutes a day is recommended, and exercise should be based on your ability to perform the actions for the duration of time.
Get More Sleep
Getting a night of deep, restful sleep can be very difficult in a stressful environment. Sleep acts as a way for the body and mind to regenerate and heal itself. The amount of sleep differs per individual needs, and there is a difference in the amount that a person needs at various ages of their lives.
Typically an adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep, while infants need the most sleep (12+hours), followed by toddlers (9-12 hours) and teenagers (8-10 hours). Additionally, sleep needs vary between men and women, with some studies showing that women require a little more sleep on average than men.
The key to improving your health is to focus on plant-based foods, lower fat, and foods that stabilize overall blood sugars. When necessary, eat white protein and focus on eating healthy fats such as fatty fish, olive oils, and avocados while you avoid carb-heavy diets that spike the glucose (sugar in our blood) levels.
The concept of mindfulness is one of being “present” at the moment. It’s a practice of calming the mind and focusing energy on working on one task rather than speculating or multitasking.
Practicing mindfulness is a daily routine, much like exercise, calming the mind and eliminating any unnecessary thoughts in a present moment, usually through breathing exercises such as those found in yoga and meditative practices.
Relationships As Self-Care
Additional studies focus on the way relationships may affect health, and that correlation doesn’t always consider the health benefits of intimacy. Instead, they tend to focus their attention on the quality of the relationship.
However, other studies show that intimacy is another form of self-care, from improved self-esteem to elevated moods associated with higher levels of endorphins to enhanced cardiovascular function.
To improve your overall health, a focus on self-care is a critical ingredient. Too often, the one thing that is sacrificed when stressed is those things that benefit overall health, exercise, sleep, diet, and peace-of-mind, best known as mindfulness. By spending some time every day on those four self-care areas, quality of life will improve, and stress will decrease.
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