When some hear the phrase self-care, images of sumptuous spa treatments might come to mind. But there are everyday habits that can contribute to your self-care routine, boosting your physical fitness and your mental and emotional well-being. Here are some tips to integrate self-care practices without scheduling a spa day.
A cornucopia of studies recommend a plant-based diet that relies on whole foods. While it’s okay to indulge in sweet treats or red meat occasionally, experts say the majority of your menu should be made up of colorful fruits and vegetables and other minimally processed healthy foods, such as beans and whole grains.
A well-balanced diet can help protect against health concerns including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer in addition to making it easier to keep your weight in check, according to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eating right can also improve your mental health. For example, research shows improving people’s intake of certain nutrients may be an important treatment option for conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders among others. So giving your body the right foods can nourish your mental health, too.
Getting regular physical activity has many of the same benefits as maintaining a healthy diet. For instance, exercise can help you control your weight and combat conditions including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and a number of types of cancer. Exercise can also improve your mood. Physical activity boosts the brain’s release of natural chemicals that produce feelings of well-being while taking your mind off your worries. It can also increase your feelings of self-confidence and encourage social interaction, even if that just
means exchanging friendly “hellos” during a walk around the neighborhood, according to information from the Mayo Clinic.
Incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation into your self-care and fitness routine can also help you reap both physical and mental rewards. For instance, studies have shown meditation may help people manage symptoms related to anxiety, chronic pain, and sleep problems, among other conditions. The practice can also allow you to take a break from everyday stresses -- which is a critical element of self-care -- by encouraging you to focus on the present moment and reducing negative emotions.
If you’ve never meditated, setting aside a special spot in your home can help you adopt and enjoy the practice. Select a space or a room that’s out of the way and clear it of any clutter. Introduce items that give you a sense of happiness and inner peace, opting for natural elements such as living plants. Set up a soft place to sit and try to train your attention on your breath and focus on the present moment.
There are several guided meditations available online to help you
Eating right, exercising, and practicing mindfulness will also help you get a better night’s rest. Your sleep setting can have a major impact on how well you sleep. Many experts recommend keeping the room cool, at around 65 degrees. It’s also important to find mattress materials, sheets, and pillows that help keep you at a comfortable temperature when you sleep.
Take steps to keep your room dark while you’re sleeping and, if you don’t wake up well rested after seven to nine hours or must sleep during the day because of your work schedule, consider investing in darkening curtains or shades to keep sunlight out until it’s time for you to rise and shine. Likewise, try to avoid using electronics within an hour or so before bed since the light they emit can make it harder for the human brain to wind down, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Instead, create a relaxing routine that might involve reading an old-fashioned book.
When you think about it, a strong self-care routine builds a firm foundation for good physical, mental, and emotional health. It should be seen as a necessity, not a naughty indulgence. So make time to treat your body and brain right and it will return the favor.
About the author:
Dana is the creator of HealthConditions.info, which aims to provide Internet users with helpful content and resources that will lead them to making healthier decisions.
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