While they function very differently and seemingly do tasks separately at times, our minds and bodies are one. Our minds are very much dependent on how we care for our bodies, and our body’s ability to stay healthy is bonded firmly to our mental health.
Because of this, self-care is critical and requires us to care for both our minds and bodies. Make yourself a priority, and begin to care for yourself as you care for others.
Self-care can mean many things, and there are many ways to care for yourself.
- You need to find what works best for you, but consider both your mental and physical needs.
- My self-care includes time alone, reading, exercise, meditation, and focused breathing.
- Ask yourself, when was the last time you gave yourself even ten minutes of self-care?
Self-care is “consideration of the whole person.” It is needed to “guard against or manage stress and other negative states and to maintain or enhance well-being and overall functioning.” (1).
Advising exactly what self-care steps you should take to rejuvenate, restore, and recover from your own life stressors is dependent on your own specific needs. You will need to commit to making yourself your number one priority and then discover what care methods work the best for you.
A simple, straightforward approach to beginning your self-care:
- It doesn’t matter what physical activity you do. Just get your body moving.
- Aim for thirty minutes of physical activity every day.
- Go for a walk, take a dance class, dust off your old pedal bike.
- Sign up for martial arts lessons.
- Join a learn-to-run club.
It’s super easy to create your own private, at-home gym with affordable, effective resistance training gear. The point is to get your body moving every single day.
Allow your mind to become quiet.
- Try meditating, focused breathing, or join a yoga class to allow your mind to let go.
- Too often, our brains are running at a frantic pace, with a million thoughts flying to and fro.
It should come as no surprise that this mental state is incredibly stressful and negatively impacts our health and sleep.
When was the last time you allowed your mind to become still?
Create an environment that will allow you to sleep peacefully.
- Your bedroom should be free of electronics (I know, this is a tough one, but it’s necessary).
- Set and maintain a consistent sleep schedule; a regular sleep and wake cycle will help you sleep well.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol, which will negatively impact your ability to rest well.
- Noise and light in your bedroom should be minimal and set the temperature to cool.
- Try meditating or deep breathing to relax both your body and mind.
Improve your nutrition, simply.
Eating well does not require a massive effort.
- Avoid fast foods. Avoid processed foods.
- When you shop for food, spend most of your time and money in the produce section.
- Limit indulgences such as sweets, alcohol, and fatty meats.
- Fill your grocery cart and plate with plant-based and whole foods.
Consider the many benefits of self-care:
By becoming more physically active, you may reduce your stress and improve your heart health. An active body will age well and will provide you with more independence as you age.
- A plant-based diet, free of processed, high sugar, and high-fat foods, will provide your body with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Choose a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day.
- A healthy diet may reduce your blood pressure, prevent Type 2 Diabetes, and improve your cholesterol.
Getting high-quality sleep every night may help you:
- to maintain a healthy weight, improve your physical performance, and allow your brain to function at its best.
- A good nights’ sleep can improve your mood, memory, and immune system.
A mind that can relax and become quiet will be more resilient to stress, more focused, reduce anxiety, and will improve your sleep.