Guest post by Ed Carter of Ablefutures.org .
Fitness and exercise are an integral part of our health, but they aren’t the only ways we should look after ourselves. We need to find balance and ensure that we address every aspect of healthy self-care. From My Fitness Reflections, here are some ways you can incorporate looking after yourself in your daily routine.
Focus on Nutrition
What we eat plays a significant role in healthy living. Nutritious meals not only keep our metabolism up, but they also supply the fuel necessary to thrive. However, many of us take shortcuts when our time is limited or when we’re too tired to cook. That’s why it’s important to think ahead and plan your meals weekly to prevent a Wednesday pizza delivery or fast-food hamburger binge. Plot out a meal plan, gather all of your ingredients, and then spend a day prepping for the upcoming week so you have everything at hand and ready to go.
Meditate or Practice Mindfulness
We can feel our blood pressure rising when we experience prolonged stress, yet the effects can last much longer, even after our pulse settles. You might feel tired constantly, and not only from lack of sleep but from the stress itself. Your memory and your body can be affected, and you may see your weight begin to climb. All in all, stress is not a sustainable condition to endure, which is why it’s something we need to overcome. Two excellent tools for doing so are meditation and mindfulness, and while they are functionally different, they have the same goal: letting go of stress. Mindfulness is learning to be aware of your thoughts, choosing how to respond and retraining your brain to think positively, while meditation is the act of clearing out the mind to center oneself and be at peace. If one doesn’t work, then try the other.
Invest in a Wearable Gadget
Thanks to smart technology, you can stay on top of your health and fitness goals by wearing a fitness band or smartwatch. A fitness band isn’t just for exercise; it gathers all kinds of health-related data like how much sleep you get and what your heart rate is. Meanwhile, a smartwatch has the same features but also lets you send text messages and view notifications. Think about the features you’ll likely use on a regular basis, then choose a wearable device and a sturdy band that fit those needs. And of course, your phone can be a great fitness companion, too, so if you don’t want to invest in an additional device, you can always use an armband to comfortably incorporate your phone into your workouts.
Declutter to De-stress
A huge source of stress can occur in your home: clutter. Although it’s easier to accumulate unwanted items than it is to get rid of them, a cluttered space can only do harm to your health—you lose focus when there are too many distractions, it’s more difficult to find what you’re looking for, and you spend more time and energy trying to keep up with chores. Your home should be a sanctuary, and that can be achieved by keeping it tidy and organized. Need help with the tidying part? Search online for a local reputable cleaning service that charges a rate within your budget.
Find a Hobby
Another approach to combat the stress of everyday life and support well-being is by developing or engaging in a hobby. They give us something to do that isn’t work-related, provide us with occasions to look forward to, and give us an opportunity to meet other people with similar interests. Don’t think that because you tried one and didn’t enjoy it that there isn’t a hobby for you. From kayaking to geocaching and wine tasting or cheese making, you can find an activity that appeals to you and fits your lifestyle — it might just take some trial and error.
Get More Sleep
There’s no avoiding the consequences of sleepless nights, but the causes are varied. It could be due to certain foods, stress, or not maintaining a schedule — whatever the reason, self-care involves getting plenty of rest. To do so, start by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. Unwind before bed without an alcoholic beverage, a heavy meal, or technology that can stimulate the brain. Lastly, to really improve your slumber, keep your room cool and use an eye mask or noise machine to help stay asleep longer.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
It’s not only fun to see friends and family regularly, but it’s good for you, too. When you have a strong support network, you may laugh more, live longer, get sick less, and have a positive outlook on life. It doesn’t need to be daily, but try to set aside some time each weekend to catch up with someone who brings you joy, whether that’s a parent or your best friend from college.
Self-care is a choice we make each day. Yes, hours are frequently limited, but that doesn’t mean making time for ourselves shouldn’t be a priority. Sit down and plan if you need to, but figure out how to take care of yourself the way you deserve.
Image courtesy of Pixabay