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Why You Should Practice Self-Care

Written by Brad Krause | brad@selfcaring.info

 Today, stress is the new normal. Anxiety is abundant in society, and often we lack the tools to properly care for our mental health. However, much of this stress is treatable with a bit of self-care. With a few easy steps, you can be on your way to learning how to face strain head on.

See to the Basics 

Tension is rampant in our society. We don’t have enough time and are constantly on the go, and when we get home, we don’t know how to unwind and rest. One way to turn this around is to make sure you are meeting your body’s needs. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Try to get seven to nine hours a night. Have a specific time you go to bed each night, and turn off screen-based technology as that can stimulate your brain. Nighttime is a good time to practice relaxation, as this can help with preparing the body for sleep.

Another thing bodies need is good nutrition. While you should not have a denial-based diet that allows you to never have a “treat,” it’s important to get as many unprocessed foods as possible. Fresh fruit and vegetables, coupled with lean protein and whole grains are a great starting place. Caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and stress, so if possible, limit the amount you consume.

Have Fun

 Part of taking care of yourself is enjoyment. Feeling good emotionally is just as important as taking care of your physical body, and often the two go hand in hand. Exercise, even something gentle like walking, can improve your state of mind. It has been suggested that the average adult needs about 150 minutes a week of activity, which is 2 ½ hours. So, five days a week, try to move around for 30 minutes. Do something you enjoy whether that is walking around the park, dancing to your favorite music, following an exercise video, or going for a jog with a group of friends. It makes it easier to do if you enjoy it and having fun can have its own positive effects on the mind. If you can fit it into your schedule, try to organize at least one fun activity a week. It does not need a purpose other than bringing you happiness. This can be a great way to reduce your stress, especially at the end of a long workweek.

Relax

It is hard to relax when we feel stretched in a hundred ways. If you are seeking to reduce stress, it’s important to learn how to say no. If you do not save time for yourself to decompress, the stresses in your life will keep building. This may mean disappointing your coworker by not covering their shift, upsetting your boss by refusing to work overtime, or rescheduling plans with a friend because you simply need a night to yourself. When you say no to someone else, you are saying yes to yourself. Use your free time to do things that can help you reduce tension. Start practicing yoga to learn inner balance and gain physical strength. A new hobby can be a source of enjoyment, one that may help occupy you at night when you might otherwise be on your phone or watching TV. This can help you prepare yourself for bed and aid in overall happiness.

Take Care of Your Mental Health 

Stresses can have a negative impact on our mental health. If you are in addiction recovery, it can lead to relapse. Fortunately, mindfulness techniques, like meditation, can help you care for your mental wellness and lower stress. Meditation may help you sleep, lower your blood pressure and keep you healthy overall. It is a good practice to incorporate into daily life, if only for ten to twenty minutes a day. Luckily, there are many different techniques to choose from, so you can find something that works just for you.

Stress reduction is a journey. However, if you work on things each day, you can make a big difference. After all, your quality of life deserves to be high.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

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