Science has quite a lot to say about self care. We’d need an entire book to cover all the topics, so instead, we’ve put together a short guide to five of the most important and frequently mentioned. These tips will help both the mind and the body, as each is an important part of the self care wheel.
Self care means improving things like diet, stress management, and building healthy relationships. Let’s dive into this list of helpful tips.
1. Improve Your Diet
You’re probably tired of hearing about your diet at this point, but it’s something that needs to be drilled into everyone’s brains. What you eat can massively overhaul your life for the better or lead you to a path of illness, disease, and poor quality of life. It’s amazing to see just how powerful our diets can be for good or for ill; but with an obesity rate in the US pushing 43%, and heart disease still claiming the number one spot for adult deaths, it’s time to address diet with greater urgency.
If you’re eating fatty, sugary, carb-rich foods, for the most part, you’re going to have a serious problem. Sugar becomes addictive in large doses. Have you ever noticed that you want more sugar once you start eating it? It makes your brain feel good. The body craves it.
Changing up your diet to include more leafy green vegetables, fresh ingredients, and higher-quality meats can make a difference in both physical and mental health. You’ll be leaner, have more energy, feel better about yourself, and won’t feel so sluggish first thing in the morning.
According to health.gov,
“Evidence shows that healthy eating patterns, as outlined in the Guidelines and Key Recommendations, are associated with positive health outcomes. The evidence base for associations between eating patterns and specific health outcomes continues to grow. Strong evidence shows that healthy eating patterns are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
Healthy eating can reduce your risk of serious health conditions and improve your overall wellness. It’s time to ditch the soda, fast food, and potato chips and take charge of your personal health.
2. Go Outside and Get Moving
Perhaps the second most important aspect of self care is keeping your body moving. A sedentary lifestyle is the exact catalyst a poor diet needs to wreak havoc on your body and mind. If you’re eating sugary, fatty, and carb-rich foods and not burning them off, they’re stored as body fat for later use. The more fat you store, the heavier you get, and the more your body suffers.
Many people view obesity as something that simply doesn’t look great, but it’s far more impactful than just damaging self esteem. Obesity causes conditions like heart disease, heart attack and stroke, muscle and bone problems, high blood pressure, and more. It can also raise your cholesterol levels and make simple tasks seem impossible.
The CDC recommends that an adult gets at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. How much have you had this week?
Getting outside is also part of the equation. Being out in nature actually has therapeutic effects on the mind and body. The calmness of the forest, the serenity of a lake or a river, or the picturesque visage of a beautiful mountain peak can do wonders for a stressed or overworked mind/body.
3. Master Stress Management
Speaking of being overworked, let’s talk about stress management. We live in a fast-paced, stressful world. Work, relationships, bills, mental health, and so much more contribute to our stress levels. When you become stressed, the body goes into “fight or flight” mode, releasing stress hormones that increase blood pressure and help facilitate the release of adrenaline in your blood.
This is a primal response to danger, but in modern life, it can spell danger for your internal organs and brain. Too much stress can lead to damaged blood vessels, heart attack or stroke, cardiovascular disease, poor mental health, depression, anxiety, and more.
Mastering stress management is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Take steps to reduce your stressors or get away from them entirely. Find healthy ways to deal with the emotions that accompany stress, and do daily exercises (such as breathing, meditating, yoga, or hitting the gym) to keep your blood flowing and to reduce stress levels.
4. Build Healthy Relationships
If you’ve ever had a healthy, fulfilling relationship, be it romantic or platonic, you know how it feels. It’s like floating on a cloud—it’s not perfect, but it’s blissful in its own way. You don’t have to worry about unnecessary conflict because both parties understand one another and communicate well.
Building healthy relationships can help you feel more secure, loved, and more confident in yourself. You’ll experience less stress, and you’ll feel like you’re truly a part of someone’s life. Humans are social creatures, and no one can face the rigors of daily life entirely alone. But that doesn’t mean that you should settle for toxicity in your relationships!
5. Learn To Say No
A big part of building healthy relationships is learning to say no. No obviously has a negative connotation, but it’s still important to master it. Setting boundaries ensures that you won’t be stepped on, and communicating those boundaries is a great way to see which relationships are worth keeping and which aren’t being respectful of you as a person.
It’s ok to say no to things that make you uncomfortable. You don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed. Saying no puts a line in the sand, and people that truly love, respect, and value you will automatically appreciate your boundaries.