The best kind of self-care is the kind that actually makes you healthier. When you practice self-care that nurtures your physical and mental well-being, you give yourself a better chance of avoiding a host of chronic illnesses.
Whether it’s sleeping more, getting outside more or eating better, taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to prevent, or reverse, problems.
A self-care routine keeps you on track, and here are some things you can do to get started:
There’s a vast amount of information out there about everything from nutrition and exercise to self-care activities and mental health. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, think back to the things that helped in the past. Were they simple activities like yoga, meditation or listening to music?
If you’re having problems with a mental health issue, including depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seek professional help.
Create a self-care routine
Some self-care activities are meant to be short, like taking a 10-minute break to stretch or do some deep breathing. Others, like taking a bath or stretching, require more dedication. Find what works for you, and stick with your self-care routine, even when you’re busy.
Find support and structure
If your life feels chaotic or overwhelming, look for things that give you structure and support. This could be a support group, a therapy session, a yoga class or a regular workout.
When you’ve finished a self-care activity, reward yourself in some way. Maybe that’s a shower or a glass of wine, or maybe it’s a longer, more indulgent activity, like taking a long, hot bubble bath. Give yourself something to look forward to.
Sleep is one of the first ways to practice self-care. Your body needs sleep to repair damage, replenish hormones and remove waste. And if you’re not getting enough of it, your memory, mood and energy levels suffer. No one is saying you should sleep 15 hours a night. But snoozing enough can be critical in preventing stress, depression, and even diabetes.