Self-care refers to any action or behavior that helps avoid triggering health problems (for instance, increasing our risk for heart problems due to excess stress) and benefits by improving mental and physical health through better self-esteem, less stress, and overall wellbeing. Self-care makes up an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It keeps us happy and our mind bodies healthy.
The only problem is that we don’t get enough of it. Experts suggest that the reason why we neglect self-care is because it can be tough to make lifestyle changes and manage stress in healthier ways. Self-care also gets some bad rep for being associated with selfishness and lazy, over-indulgent behavior. This kind of thinking might make us feel guilty for considering taking a break from our lives to do something that makes us feel better.
Taking better care of ourselves shouldn’t make us feel guilty! In fact, studies show that the pursuit of health and happiness is far from selfish. When we take good care of ourselves, the chances of seeing an improvement in many aspects of our lives, including our physical health, relationships with other people, and even our income are higher! Moreover, by making the choice to practice self-care, we will develop a tendency to care more for others — proving that self-care is essential for not just ourselves, but the world around us.
Here are some tips to help you take better care of yourself:
1. Schedule some time when you don’t work. Focusing only on work is a great excuse to not take care of yourself. Instead set specific time slots where you won’t work and will instead spend time with your loved ones or on yourself.
2. Live Healthy. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid drugs and alcohol. A study reported that filling up on seven portions of fruits and veggies per day might make us happier. Manage stress and go for regular medical check-ups.
3. Stress less. By now, we all know that stress is detrimental for our health. Research suggests that stress may be contagious. The more stressed we think we are, the worse it might be for our heart’s health. Between work, relationships, family, and life’s curve balls, it’s difficult not to succumb to it. Experiment with some strategies, which range from drinking tea to practicing progressive relaxation, to find what works for you in managing stress better.
4. Listen to music. If you’ve ever noticed that certain songs bring a smile to your face, you are not alone. As it turns out, some studies have shown that listening to music intensifies already positive emotions. Upbeat music, in particular, can do wonderful things for your mood. Moreover, it can also improve heart health.
5. Hit the mall! Shopaholics, rejoice! According to some research findings, indulging in some retail therapy can help ease mild depression and make us more confident. Another study suggests that purchasing new clothes can improve a person’s mood.