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SELF-CARE: AN ESSENTIAL PART OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

In Active Lifestyle Living by Doug Phelps

It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this: self-care makes up an essential part of an active lifestyle that keeps us healthy, happy, and more in tune with our minds and bodies for years.

The challenge is, we probably aren’t doing enough. We often neglect self-care because it can be tough to make healthy changes and learn how to better manage stress. Here are ten self-care habits that I work to practice and invite you to try.

Opt for outside

Leaving the comfort of your home and getting outdoors is a wonderful way to improve your mental outlook and physical health.  Experts say that spending time out of doors benefits the brain as well as the body. In fact, a 2014 study at the University of Michigan showed that nature walks improved stress and depression and led to a greater sense of overall mental health.

I begin each work day with a brisk 30-minute walk through my neighborhood to get active and stay mentally strong.

Servant mindset

Robert Ingersoll said, “We rise by lifting others.” By helping others, we help ourselves, too. And the benefits to all parties can be surprisingly profound.

Consider signing up for volunteer activities with a local organization. Volunteering positively affects self-confidence, self-esteem, and general well-being.

Stress less

Most stress is bad. Research suggests that stress may be contagious, and the more stressed we think we are, the worse it could be for our heart health. But between work, relationships, family, and whatever else life throws at us, stress is unavoidable.

Use the strategies in this post to keep the stress monster at bay.

Be happy!

Happiness feels good, but it’s also great for our health. Being happy may even prevent disease. A recent review of more than 160 studies by the University of Illinois showed that happy people are generally thought to live longer than their unhappy peers.

So how do we make ourselves happy? Turns out there’s actually a simple way to feel more upbeat: just crack a smile!  Smiling more often, even when you don’t feel like it, will lift your spirits and those with whom you interact.

Meditate

Meditation is proof that it doesn’t take a ton of time to do a mind and body good. Just a few minutes of quieting your mind can help relieve stress and help you focus on the present moment.

After my morning walks, I take 15 minutes to let go of everything on the to-do list and just focus on the here and now.

Turn up the tunes

Ever notice that certain songs bring a smile to your face? Listening to positive, uplifting music can intensify already positive emotions, and upbeat music can do great things for your mood.

Consider creating a Spotify playlist with all your favorite upbeat songs in one easy place to turn up the positivity on your day.

Be a bookworm

Reading on a regular basis keeps the mind sharp as it ages – something we all should consider! Reading fiction encourages creativity and a more open mind.

The final 15 minutes of my morning routine involves reading. I typically have two books going always, one nonfiction and business related, and the other entertaining fiction.

Get enough Zzz’s

More and more companies are building “nap rooms” in their offices for employees to catch a few winks—and for good reason! Skimping on shut-eye hurts productivity. Prioritizing sleep time makes for a healthier, happier mind and body.  (This one is not happening in my office, though…)

Indulge in a massage

This is a favorite! My wife and I set aside time each month to experience the complete and total bliss of a massage. It soothes both the mind and muscles, improves sleep quality, reduces stress, and provides some unique couple time. I can’t recommend this practice enough.

Unplug

We live in an action-addicted society. It seems everyone is glued to a “smart” phone, laptop, or other device—sometimes all at the same time! While these tools are great time-savers, they also steal away our ability to connect with life around us because of their conveniences.

Purposefully taking a break from social media, email, blogging, etc., can help us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level. See if you can unplug once a day!

Whatever you might decide to introduce into your daily lifestyle, find ways to make self-care a priority.

Updated: 11th June 2018