8 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself
Today’s post is a guest post by Brad Krause:
Brad graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.
He’s put together 8 ways to take better care of yourself, you’re gonna eat it up like it was a hot piece of chocolate cake.
Even though there are many articles and well-documented studies that support the very critical need for self-care, the term itself receives a dark look and disapproving “clucks” from those who think self-care is equal to self-indulgence and laziness. But nothing’s further from the truth!
Recently—and none too soon—cracks have formed around the work-ethic mindset that celebrates hard work and self-sacrifice as the most important virtues. Finally, more people have recognized that this commitment to caring for one’s emotional, mental, and physical needs by unapologetically taking time to pursue activities that energize and reinvigorate is critical to their overall well-being.
The relationship between work stress and substance abuse
Perhaps a turning point in the attitude toward making time for self-care will help to reduce the number of people who turn to illegal substances or drink excessively to cope with work-induced stress. America’s work culture places great value on efficiency and productivity in the workplace, but often at the expense of leisure, family, and relaxation time. More than half of working Americansdon’t use all the vacation time they earn—in 2017, workers forfeited 212 million days, taking an average 17.2 days off for personal time.
It’s difficult to find a job that doesn’t carry inherent stress, but when stress becomes a chronic issue, it affects the balance between work and home lives. At the tipping point, people reach toward alcohol or drugs to gain even just a little relief. There are, however, better options. Take breaks throughout the day—whether it’s a walk outside to clear your head or deliberately choosing not to work while you’re eating lunch. When you just can’t break away but you’re feeling overwhelmed, try a walking meeting. These meetings facilitate collaboration, inspiration, creativity, and efficiency.
Not all of these ideas will work for you, and they’re presented in no particular order. But if you’ve decided that it’s important to carve out more ways to take care of yourself so that you’re at your best physically and mentally, experiment with some of these suggestions.
1. Schedule downtime
Whether it’s a five-minute shower after work to wash off the day’s grind, a walk with friends or family after dinner, or an hour of Netflix at night, put your downtime on your calendar. When you’re just starting out, aim for 3 – 5 downtime sessions a week.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Taking care of yourself is very important for both your physical and mental health. As such, it’s necessary to get rid of processed, high-sugar foods that are harmful to your overall well-being. It’s just as important, of course, to get fresh foods into your diet. Of course, that’s often easier said than done, which is why many people opt for meal delivery services that drop off fresh, portioned foods to your home. Not only can this help you improve your health and lose weight, but the convenience will also allow you to fit other things into your schedule.
Unless you’re on call, on deadline, need to grade papers for the next day, or need to prep for a big meeting, when you leave the office, really leave. This challenge becomes a real struggle for people who work from home—but even then, you can close the office door, turn your phone on vibrate, and focus on yourself, your family, and your pets.
Nothing beats a satisfying sweat session, whether it’s at the gym on the way to or from work, or later in the evening. Regular physical exercise—30 to 45 minutes three times a week—boosts your energy levels and improves your physical and mental health.
5. Spin some tunes
Music provides the perfect way to relax and find your inner zen. Create a playlist of soothing tunes, or if you like something with a good beat, download songs that send your toes tapping.
What’s better than escaping to another world without having to leave your comfy chair? Indulge in a book from your favorite genre or author, or branch out and try something new. Researchers know that reading increases your empathy and intelligence, helps to destress, reduces the chance of developing Alzheimer’s, and more.
Whether you opt for a traditional meditation session in a class setting or decide to meditate in a quiet corner of your home, just 10 minutes a day can help you relieve stress and anxiety, center yourself, and find your inner calm.
It goes without saying that most Americans are sleep deprived. Commit to making good-quality sleep a priority. Your heart, immune system, and brain will thank you.
Life loves to interfere with our ability to cope, but when you ignore your own needs and neglect your own self-care, no one benefits—least of all yourself. To embrace self-care is to recognize that your needs are as important as anyone else’s.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What’s your biggest take away from this post and how can you use that knowledge to make a change today?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me.
With great love,