Self-care has gotten a bad wrap lately. It’s more than a spa day or a “me day.” Self-care is ongoing and what keeps us going. In fact, taking care of ourselves through self-care practices builds our self-confidence and makes our daily lives easier.
But if it isn’t about face masks and massages, what is self-care?
According to the World Health Organization self-care is “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
I want to promote health and prevent disease. I’m sure you do too! I love that definition because it shows us that what we do matters. We can do things that make us healthier or sicker. And that’s important.
Our actions matter.
Self-care isn’t about indulgence. It’s about feeling better physically and mentally. (Those are the foundations of our membership for a reason!)
Wondering where to start in your ongoing self-care journey?
Here are a few of my favorites. Start with a couple and add more when you’re ready. Feel free to throw in a face mask when you can. 😉
Rest, Rejuvenate, and Recover for Self-Care.
First and foremost, sleep. We’ve heard it all our lives: we need 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night. But how often do we cheat ourselves out of it? Think about the last time you were sleep-deprived. How did you feel? Were you more reactive? If you’re like most people, you weren’t at your best.
Sleep is essential for healthy brain function. It’s responsible for creating and maintaining neural pathways that let us learn and create new memories. It’s when our brains remove toxins that accumulate from stress while we’re awake. Seriously, sleep affects everything from our major organs, metabolism, and immune function to our moods and mental well-being.
Increase your chances of a better night’s sleep but disconnecting from work and social media for at least an hour before going to bed. To let go of the day, practice some restorative yoga, read a book, or meditate.
Eating Well is Self-Care.
Eating healthy foods goes a long way toward our mental health. Our brain is only about two percent of our body weight but it uses 20 percent of the calories we consume. Feed it well to feel your best.
When it comes to eating, I think Michael Pollan said it best in his book In Defense of Food. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” How do you feel after eating nutrient-dense food? What about after eating junk food? How do these two types of foods make you feel physically?
Also, make sure you remember to eat throughout the day. When we’re hungry, we often react rather than respond. Being “hangry” is real.
Stay Hydrated for Self-Care.
Drinking enough water throughout the day is a cheap form of self-care. Most likely where you live the water coming out of the faucet in your kitchen is safe to drink and it’s so much cheaper (and better for the environment) than bottled water.
Being hydrated is vital for optimal bodily functions. It lubricates our joints, carries nutrients to our cells, and improves our memory, attention, and focus.
In general, we should drink about one ounce of water for every two pounds we weigh. To make it easier, get a refillable bottle and track how many times you empty it in a day. You can even track it on one of the health apps that came with your phone.
Exercise is Self-Care.
You know that exercise changes your body, but did you know that it also changes your brain? It does! Exercise changes the connections in the brain and improves self-esteem while also reducing anxiety and depression. Try walking, biking, or practicing yoga.
Exercise shouldn’t be punishment. Find something you enjoy. And then keep showing up for yourself.
Interested in yoga?
Our membership is for people looking to dream bigger and gain the confidence to move out of their comfort zones and toward their dreams through mindfulness and conscious physical movement.
There are plenty of other simple self-care tips that I want to share so keep your eyes peeled for my follow-up article. Make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter so you don’t miss it. 🙂
Update: here’s the follow up article.