Why Self-Care Is Important and Realistic Ways to Practice It

This awesome guest blog article is courtesy of Brad at http://selfcaring.info

It can seem like there is never enough time in the day to get the rest and relaxation we need. Self-care is often touted as long baths and massages, and while those are nice, they aren’t what most of us really need. Much of proper self-care comes down to how well we look after our mental well-being, rather than luxurious extras.

Lower Your Stress

We live in a high-stress society. Between work, family and maintaining a social life, we can find ourselves overworked, tired and stretched too thin. One way to reduce your stress is to start reclaiming your schedule. It is OK to tell people “no,” in case you need an extra hour or two of sleep. If you feel the need to defend your answer, simply say you have a prior engagement. That can be anything you want, including making dinner, or reading for 20 minutes before bed.

Introducing an exercise regimen can help to lower anxiety. This doesn’t mean you have to go to a gym every day, but try to do something you enjoy. Dance for 20 minutes after dinner or go for a brisk walk during your lunch. The resulting rush of endorphins can go a long way to keeping stress down.

Take Control of Your Diet

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” Although it might sound cliche, there’s actually a fair amount of truth in that statement. Not only can eating a healthy diet improve your physical health, but it can also help improve and maintain your mental health as well. It’s important to ditch the processed food for fresher options, though getting to the grocery store isn’t always as easy as it sounds. If this sounds like you, consider signing up for a delivery service that can bring fresh food and portioned meals directly to your home. It might sound like a luxury, but it’s definitely hard to deny the convenience it provides.

Get Better Sleep

One excellent way to take good care of your own well-being is to get enough sleep each night. When we enter sleep deficit, or don’t sleep long enough, it can increase our stress and anxiety levels. The part of your brain that controls fight or flight responses sees an increase in activity when we’re tired, which can lead to raised levels of stress. Exercise, when done early, can aid in falling asleep more easily. Turn off technology that uses blue lighting including phones and tablets, an hour or so before bed to help your brain relax. Lay off on the coffee in the afternoon. It may be rough the first few days, but when you start sleeping better, you may need that afternoon boost less and less.

Start a Hobby

Hobbies can be a good way to reduce stress by relaxing. Learning how to relax with healthy habits is especially important for those in addiction recovery, as substances are often a way for us to cope with stress. Find a hobby that is especially productive at removing tension. Yoga and meditation are two wonderful hobbies you could incorporate into your wellness routine. They both focus on how we breathe. Deep breathing is especially potent for relaxation and teaching us to let go. Yoga connects us fully to our bodies through intentional movement and helps us to get our heads out of chaotic spaces. By focusing on each moment, we have less capacity to worry about things. There are many other hobbies you could try, each with the benefit of helping you to relax. Gardening, photography, knitting or filling in adult coloring books are all things you can do to improve your own mental wellness.

Turn It Off

Social media and news can seem like unending streams. They can cause us stress, especially because news seems to focus solely on what’s wrong with the world. One way to unwind is to disconnect. By limiting the negative content that you consume daily, you may be able to improve your overall happiness. Instead of being conditioned to see the world as a negative environment, a side effect of too much news, focus on the positive things in life, especially those things you see and contribute to. Social media can be a source of good when it’s used to connect us to our loved ones and community. Conversely, it can also be a great cause of stress if overused. So, as a way to look after yourself, cut back on how much you check your accounts to improve your mindset.

There are many ways you can improve your mental and physical well-being just by taking proper care of yourself. Sleep better, teach yourself to unwind and don’t overbook your schedule. These steps may seem small, but they can add up to big, positive change.

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