Self Care: Things to consider
Published by: TELUS Health,
July 24 is International Self-Care Day. It’s become a hot topic in recent years as people realize the importance of mental, physical, and social wellbeing has on holistic health. Self-care can mean different things for different people: for some, it’s quiet time, meditation, and reflection; for others, it’s making time for treating yourself to spa days or ensuring there’s time to hit the gym. No matter what form it takes, self-care is a great way to minimize stress and optimize mental and physical health so that you can function at your best. Self-care is also not a one-and-done; it’s something you should do daily for maximum benefit as part of your overall personal health and wellness routine.
As you figure out the self-care plan that works for you, here are a couple of key components to keep in mind that will help your version of self-care take shape.
Making time: unplug and take breaks
Develop a healthier relationship with technology and take a break to unplug from your devices. Carve out time blocks in your day that are just for you; prioritize them and stick to them. You’ll ensure that you always have the time to do the things that can help you relax and feel restored. This will reduce anxiety, stress, help recharge your mind, and improve your overall quality of life.
Choosing an activity and finding time is only part of being able to feel more refreshed, happier, and more equipped to deal with others. Another is making sure you’ve got a space that’s just for you, or where you feel you can retreat to. It can be anywhere you feel comfortable and at peace – especially for activities like yoga, meditation, or reflection. It may be at home, at a park, or at a location where you get a service (like a massage therapist), but should be available to only you when you need it.
Quality sleep helps our bodies heal and restore after the activities in our day. It is a key component of good health and wellness and is one of the easiest forms of self-care to achieve. Things like ensuring you get the recommended minimum amount of sleep in a night, avoiding eating and drinking before bed, keeping predictable sleep and wake times, and doing some relaxation exercises before bed can all work to ensure you get the most out of your sleep.
Eating a balanced, healthy diet fuels your mind and body. Like sleep, it can be an easy form of self-care if done right, since you have to do it anyway. Eating healthy can mean different things for different people, depending on physical and dietary needs. Generally, eating foods that are nutrient-dense, limiting alcohol, and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars are all ways to ensure your diet helps contribute to your self-care. A nutritionist or dietician can help.
Exercise and physical activity
For some, exercise and physical activity is the key component of their self-care routine. If it’s not part of yours, you may want to consider it. Exercise boosts overall wellbeing and decreases the chance of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
The gym is only one possible place to get exercise for self-care. Some prefer at-home workouts. Exercise can be wide-ranging: aerobics, weightlifting, fitness classes, swimming, yoga, and more. Physical activity can have immediate and long-term physical health benefits and can help boost your mood too.
Self-care builds up resilience and resolve so you can better take on challenges at work and at home, while still presenting the best version of yourself. It can help improve our immunity, increase positive thinking, and make us less vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and other wellbeing issues. There’s no right answer – it’s got to work for you. Use these tips to get the ball rolling, and if you need help along the way, your EAP can help!