How well are you taking care of yourself? What is self-care? Self-care means getting enough relaxation, staying fit, maintaining a healthy diet, having fun doing activities you enjoy and spending time with family and friends. When you take good care of yourself you feel good, look better, enjoy life and are able to tackle everyday stresses.
Self-care is not selfish, as some people may believe. In fact, if you take good care of yourself are able to take care of others much more easily. Some people find taking care of themselves difficult and believe they are being self- indulgent. Always putting others first will take its toll on your health; will lower your self-esteem and damage relationships. Here are some self-care tips.
1. Have something pleasurable planned for yourself every day. Make time for relaxing activities. Take time to spend with yourself, reading, mediating, taking a walk in nature, getting a massage or whatever pleases you.
2. Don’t get involved with trying to solve other peoples’ problems. Be supportive and listen but don’t overburden yourself.
3. Take time to cultivate relationships. Studies show that having friends and a social network helps reduce stress. Friends offer us opportunities to talk about our feelings and they provide us with feedback.
4. Take care of your health by eating foods that are good for you. A balanced diet can lift your mood, give you more energy, prevent illness and will help you feel better to cope with life’s stresses.
5. Take time for hobbies and activities. Make a list of hobbies and activities you enjoy. It might be dancing, taking your dog for a walk, playing a sport, inviting friends over for dinner, hiking etc. Set time aside to do the activities you enjoy most. You will feel better because of it and so will those around you.
6. Keep fit. Regular exercise improves the efficiency of the heart, maintains good blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. During exercise the body releases hormones, which are natural anti-depressants. Regular exercise acts as a ‘time out’ and gives your mind a break.
7. Avoid tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and drugs give a temporary relief from stress but will decrease the body’s ability to withstand stress and will cause long-term damage to the body.
© Copyright 2005 Sheila Dicks