The idea of “self-care” gets a lot of press these days, but how many of us really practice it? After all, life is hectic. Between work, home, and family, it can feel as if there’s just no time for luxuries. Not today. Maybe tomorrow.
But self-care isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity — perhaps the most important one. If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of anything, or anyone, else? The good news is that nurturing yourself is not an indulgence: it’s an essential part of staying healthy, strong, and productive. We’ll show you how.
Take Care of Your Diet
Food isn’t just food. It’s medicine. So nurturing yourself means giving your body the fuel it needs to perform optimally. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult. You can start by setting up a weekly meal plan that includes healthy fats, lots of fiber, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Also take care to reduce your salt intake. Use flavorful spices instead.
While you’re nourishing your body, don’t forget to hydrate. Water, of course, is by far your best source of hydration, but it’s not your only option. If you’re feeling weak and sluggish, you might replenish with electrolyte-infused drinks (just be mindful of added sugars or excess salt). Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of both hydration and electrolytes. And herbal teas are a terrific option if you’re looking to hydrate with something a bit tastier than plain water.
Sleep On It
Building healthy habits through self-care means getting consistent, replenishing sleep. Not only will this boost your mood and improve cognitive function, but it’s also going to help keep you healthy. Getting lots of healthy sleep helps support your immune function and decreases the risk of chronic illnesses, from diabetes to hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
But it doesn’t just happen. You have to practice good sleep hygiene, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. You also need a routine to prepare for sleep, such as decompressing with some gentle exercise, soothing music, and a nice warm bath before bed. Following these tips are especially essential if you suffer from chronic pain that inhibits your sleep. Above all, set a cutoff time for the electronics, as exposure to blue-light emitting digital devices is a leading cause of insomnia and disrupted sleep.
Manage Your Finances
Financial worries are one of the leading causes of chronic stress. At the same time, however, anxiety and stress can also be important triggers of unhealthy spending, thus exacerbating money anxiety. And so a vicious cycle is born.
The best place to begin is by learning to practice self-care in other, healthier ways than through excess spending. If you’re having a bad day and need a bit of comfort, you can begin to develop more self-nurturing habits than self-destructive “retail therapy.” with your credit cards.
As you begin to manage your stress through healthy self-care instead of through overspending, you can then focus on tackling the debt you already have. For example, transferring credit card balances from higher interest to lower interest cards will help you avoid tons of interest fees while helping you to get rid of your debt fast. And the lower your debt-stress goes, the better you will feel, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Self-care isn’t about selfishness. It’s about nurturing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. And that involves taking care of every aspect of your life, nurturing healthy habits in what you eat, how you sleep, and what you spend your money on.