Self care is very important, but sometimes we have habits that get in the way of really reaping the benefits of our self care efforts. We all want to be mentally and physically healthy, but we all face challenges in achieving that overall health. Living in a busy, demanding society has made overcoming these challenges sometimes seem impossible, or too time consuming to tackle. But there are some simple things we can start doing today that will have an huge impact on both your mental and physical health.
1. Sleep Hygiene
What is sleep hygiene and why is it so important? Simply put, it’s practicing bedroom routines that will assist you in getting a full night’s sleep more consistently and easily. I think the most important of this is going to bed at a regular time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning. Does this mean you won’t ever sleep in again? No, but having this set time in place is really good for your body’s overall health as it learns to expect a certain amount of sleep, and when that period of rest is coming. And being properly rested is huge for your mental health.Today, pick a reasonable bedtime for you and start sticking to it.
2. Be A Picky Eater
We get so much judgement thrown our way if we are picky eaters. As a picky eater, I know. But here’s my thoughts on this; it’s your body and you decide what goes into it, not other people. Don’t be pressured by friends or family to break your gluten free diet because it’s easier for them. Don’t eat the cake if you have decided that you don’t want to consume sugar. That’s my first bit of advice for this. My second piece is study ingredients lists on packaged foods like salsas, salad dressings, crackers etc And chose the foods that have the most natural ingredients. The more real food you eat, the better you will feel. In your body, and in your mind because when your body is well nourished, it eliminates things like brain fog and can increase your ability to focus. So be picky. Others will get used to it and adapt. Be reasonable of course, it’s okay to sometimes have an extra cookie, but don’t let the judgement make you unhealthy.
3. Start Playing
The one thing adults do not well is play. We don’t engage in play the way children do, which may seem logical as we are no longer children. But play allows us to explore our creative side, it keeps our minds stimulated and relives stress by releasing endorphins. Adults at play looks like people joking, playing a game like Frisbee, bike riding just for the fun of it with no destination in mind, engaging in activities like karaoke or charades, getting dressed up for Halloween or playing with your pet. Developing your playful is likely easier than you think–just turn off your phone tonight and play dress up in your closet, take some silly pictures, organize a night with friends to play a game. You’ll feel so much better laughing and having fun than you will feel scrolling Instagram.
4. Stay Connected
Staying connected to friends and family is so important. Strong relationships with others reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness which can lead to anxiety and depression. Be sure to call them, get together as much as possible, even if it’s just for a coffee or a stay in movie night, and text them to let them know you are thinking of them or to share a funny story from the day. Staying connected isn’t hard–just reach out tonight. Your friends will be happy to hear from you.
Taking that weekly bubble bath, or journalling or whatever self care habits you have will greatly benefit from making these healthy changes. They are things you can do today, right now. Just be sure to keep doing them, and you’ll likely notice you’re feeling more connected, happier and calmer as a result. And of course, keep up your other self care habits too!
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