Self-care is very important. But practicing self-care isn’t always easy. Time for ourselves is often the last thing on our agenda. Our schedules overflow with many responsibilities, busy careers, caring for others, and keeping up with technology. We must take time to support our own physical and mental health. We need ways to re-center and restore ourselves so that we can feel and function better.
The summer season is here, and it’s a great time to focus on relaxing, going on adventures and living each day to the fullest. Use this time to develop some self-care strategies and implement them into your regular routine so you can boost your well-being, not only for the summertime but through all the seasons of your life. Here are some important self-care strategies you can include in your life.
- Nourish Your Body. Fuel your mind and body with nutrient dense foods such as colorful fruits and vegetables which are loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants. Some of the best self-care foods include fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (such as olive oil, nuts and seeds and fatty fish), and quality lean proteins. Avoid refined, fried or sugar-laden foods and beverages.
- Sleep Well. High quality, restorative sleep improves brain function and leads to happier, more productive days. Allow for 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep and practice good sleep hygiene. Unplug from your electronics a few hours before bed and allow time to unwind from your busy day.
- Feel Grateful. Being thankful can transform your life. Studies show gratitude improves physical and emotional health, reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and improves sleep. Start and end your day focusing on what you are grateful for. You can write in a gratitude journal or simply ponder three things you are grateful for in your current life or recall happy memories from your past.
- Practice Self-Love. Practice balanced love and know that self-care is not selfish. Spend time refilling and recharging your system. Plan a spa day, walk through a garden, organize your home and bring in some fresh flowers. Schedule time to do what you love. At the end of each day breathe deeply and review what is good about yourself and what is right about your life.
- Embrace Movement. Do something that energizes your body. Life is movement and when we become stagnant toxins can accumulate in our mind and body. Stretch, dance, go to the gym or take a walk in the park. Discover different physical activities that you enjoy. Exercise is a key part of self-care.
- Repeat Positive Affirmations. An affirmation is a definitive statement that something is so. Affirmations are self-fulfilling prophecies. Create personal affirmations to declare and affirm your goals and visions that you hold. Saying positive words can help set you up for positive wins throughout the day in all areas of your life. Replaceany negative or self-defeating words or thoughts with positive affirmations. Say them out loud daily. Write out your positive statements on a beautiful notecard or place post-it notes in your daily environment. Perhaps start with this affirmation: I am worthy of self-care. I honor myself and nourish my body, mind and spirit.
- Calm Your Mind. Develop the habit of practicing relaxation techniques daily. Be mindful to stay in the present moment – when we feel stressed or worried our mind is usually focusing on the past or the future. Find a quiet place for prayer and meditation and embrace the peace and stillness. Become aware of your thought patterns and replace toxic thoughts with positive ones. Use guided imagery to avoid stress buildup. Imagine yourself in a peaceful setting, incorporating your senses and changing your mental state. Guided imagery is a powerful tool for increasing relaxation, reducing pain, managing stress and improving mental resilience. Start and end your day with a few minutes of deep breathing and a some of your favorite yoga stretches.
- Stay Connected. Moments with friends and family can help you feel more connected and relaxed. Build social networks. Strong social ties have been associated with lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
The more you can fit self-care time into your schedule the more you will be able to grow, enjoy your life and thrive. The better we feel and function, the more we can do for the people and things we care about.
-Diane Duvall, CLC, CHHC, CPT Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine. We offer health coaching sessions to help you reach your personal goals. Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462. Phone: (561) 432-8935, Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook