It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this: Self-care makes up an essential part of an active living lifestyle that keeps us healthy, happy, and more in tune with our minds and bodies.
The challenge is, we probably aren’t doing enough of it. We often neglect self-care because it can be tough to make healthy changes, and manage stress, in better ways.
Here are some thoughts that I practice and invite you to try:
Leaving the comfort of home and getting outdoors is a wonderful way to improve mental outlook and physical health. Experts say spending time out of doors benefits the brain as well as the body. I begin each work day with a brisk 30-minute walk through my neighborhood.
By helping others, we actually help ourselves, too. And the benefits to all parties can be surprising. Volunteering positively affects self-confidence, self-esteem, and general well-being.
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, it’s a part of life. Use the strategies in this post to keep the stress monster at bay.
Happiness feels good, but it’s also great for our health. Being happy may even prevent disease. Turns out there’s actually a simple way to feel more upbeat: Just crack a smile! Doing this more often and even when you don’t want to will lift your spirits and those with whom you interact.
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. After my morning walks but before the shower and other activities to ready for the day, I take 15 minutes to let go of all on the to-do list.
Turn up the tunes
Ever notice that certain songs bring a smile to your face? Listening to positive, uplifting music makes already positive emotions even more intense, and upbeat music in particular can do great things for your mood.
Be a bookworm
Reading on a regular basis keeps the mind sharp as it ages – and mine is – and reading fiction in particular makes for more creativity and a more open mind. The final 15 minutes of my morning routine involves reading. I have typically two books going, one nonfiction and business related, and the other entertaining fiction.
Get enough Zzz’s
Skimping on shut-eye hurts productivity. Prioritizing sleep time makes for a healthier, happier me – and you. More and more companies are building “nap rooms” in their offices for employees to catch a few winks. Cool!
Indulge in a massage
This is a favorite! Monthly my wife and I set aside time 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.
We live in an action-addicted society. It seems everyone is glued to a “smart” phone, laptop, or another device, sometimes all at the same time. I find myself doing it. Crazy! While these tools are great time savers, they also still away our time because of their conveniences. Purposefully taking a break from social media, email, blogging, and so on can help us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level.