Self-Care and its Benefits: A Guide for Beginners
“You can’t pour from an empty cup…”
“Self-care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” Defined as such by the International Self-Care Foundation (yes, self-care is so important it has its own foundation), self-care is essential to staying both physically and mentally healthy. Taking time out of our busy lives to simply breathe and do something we enjoy is scientifically proven to boost health and happiness.
Self-care doesn’t just mean drinking water and showering regularly – although those are good things to keep up – but also to take steps to ensure your mind and body are getting the special treatment they deserve. Not sure where to start with your personal self-care? We put together a basic guide for your convenience!
For those of you who work so hard and so often that the words “getting enough sleep” are almost foreign, it’s time to start looking at what that could be doing to your health. It’s important to make sure that you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep, 7-9 hours every night, so that your body and brain have time to rest.
Getting plenty of shut eye actually has proven health benefits, such as strengthening your immune system, maintaining a healthy weight, and lowering your risk of serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
Even if it takes a little shuffling of your schedule, make it a goal to start heading to bed at the right time. Falling asleep at the right time can still be difficult for some. If you find that you struggle falling asleep or staying asleep, then you might want to consider upgrading your bedroom. Research shows that sometimes a person’s environment can affect their sleep too.
Eating healthy is important for obvious reasons. Even so, following a balanced diet is something many people struggle with. Similarly to getting enough sleep, watching what you eat helps with weight control, the health of your immune system and heart, and energy levels. Letting go of your favorite junk foods might be hard, but in the end it will be so worth it.
Keep in mind that not every person needs the exact same diet. It’s important to plan a diet that works for you so that you’re more inclined to stick to it.
Even if it’s just a quick five-minute walk around the office every day, get your body moving. Just like sleeping and eating well, staying active is a health necessity. Exercise is good in every aspect: it keeps you healthy, lowers feelings of depression, boosts mood and energy, helps with sleep, and can even improve memory.
Breathe Some Fresh Air
Escaping the office or leaving the house to step outside and take a deep breath does more than simply clear the mind for a moment. Spending time outside is actually lifesaving. Fresh oxygen provides energy, going for a walk outdoors can boost your immune system, and hanging out around trees can give your body a break from air pollutants. Not to mention how the smells in fresh air reduce stress!
If you ever find yourself in need of a break or if the stress ever gets to be too much, use outside as your getaway. A little walk out in the fresh air can be a pick me up if you let it!
Pick up a new hobby. Bring a radio to work. Buy yourself some flowers. Indulge in a little retail therapy. Treat yourself. It’s important to have fun and forget about your job and your worries every now and then. Even if your form of enjoyment is putting on pajamas and turning on a movie just to spend an evening on your couch, do it! If it’s buying yourself your favorite candy bar, do it! You might even consider planning a vacation for yourself.
Whatever it is, let yourself experience a little fun, a little relaxation. This one doesn’t need any science behind it – making yourself happy should always be a priority.
These are merely suggestions – we highly recommend you make your own personalized list of things you’d like to start doing to better take care of yourself. Stick with it and you’ll be sure to find yourself experiencing lower stress levels, more energy, and even improved mood and health. There’s only one you, don’t lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of life!