It is easy to get swept away by external events outside of our control, especially these days. Making it understandable why most of us are neglecting the most important thing we have. Ourselves. It is only natural to keep your friends, family, and other responsibilities at the forefront of your mind. All of these are important, but we cannot properly take care of any of these things if we are not properly taking care of ourselves. With new information seemingly available daily and often conflicting information at that, it can be hard to know what the right path is. Stress and anxiety often lead to feeling a loss of control and it is easy to spiral downward from there. Anxiety and stress can lead to depression or may manifest in more physical ways. Headaches, muscle tension, and sleeplessness may ensue, thankfully consistent self-care can alleviate all these problems. Time for yourself each day is crucial for activities such as:
1. Regular exercise
A proven stress reliever and great for you! It takes consistency and effort though; regular exercise needs to be paired with a full night’s sleep and a healthy diet to be most effective.
2. Healthy Eating
Eat a balanced diet of whole foods and vegetables. Avoid going out or ordering in, though it can be very tempting, cooking at home with fresh ingredients is the recipe for being our best selves.
We ask a lot of our bodies every day and exercise will make us stronger and better equipped to handle our demands. The caveat, is if we do not allow our bodies the proper time and space for recovery, i.e. sleep, we will never take full advantage of all our other hard work. Ideally you will get 7 hours of sleep per night minimum, with 8 hours per night being the optimal number.
While very much physical in nature these things will not only improve physical, but mental health. Though extremely important the physical needs to be paired with mental activities also. Some great activities that do not need screens are:
1. Listening to music, reading a book, or playing board games
All of these are great ways to unwind alone or with company. Focusing the mind of tasks that we can control and especially tasks we enjoy is extremely pleasurable as well as being great for your mental health.
2. Volunteer in your Community
Whether you are giving your time, money, blood, or maybe all the above volunteering is a great way to stay active in your community and build lasting relationships. Volunteering nurtures a sense of control and relieves anxiety allowing to give more of yourself to the things that truly matter.
We all need a little boost occasionally, follow these tips and start living your best life today! Check out the Mayo Clinic for more great information on how to stay mentally and physically healthy in these difficult times.