Self-care is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing. It’s about taking proper care of ourselves and making good decisions today that will hopefully help us avoid poor health in the future. Here are six self-care tips guaranteed to change your life for good:
1. Eat well
When it comes to nutrition, there’s no shortage of opinions out there and deciding between Banting, Paleo and Atkins can end up being more frustrating than making zucchini noodles. That said, there are some basic nutrition rules, like these, worth implementing:
– Limit your intake of processed foods – low HI (human intervention) food is the new buzzword and it’s all about avoiding those foods that have undergone several processes en route to your table – example fruit, vegetables, nuts, meat and fish
– Opt for whole grains – rye, oats, quinoa etc. – rather than white bread and pasta
– Make sure you’re getting enough protein as it’s one of the building blocks of muscles, bones, blood and cartilage
– Keep yourself hydrated
2. Exercise regularly
We all know that we need to exercise. Aside from its multiple health benefits, exercise also plays a key role in lifting our mood, controlling our weight, boosting our energy levels and contributing to better sleep. Speaking of which…
3. Prioritise sleep
Research shows that a definite link exists between insufficient sleep and obesity, heart disease and diabetes – something to think about next time you forego an early bedtime to binge watch your favourite TV series instead. And on the topic of screen time, make sure you switch your screen off well before you turn in for the night. Why? Because screens give off a blue light that decreases melatonin production, which in turn affects your sleep cycle.
4. Stress less
High levels of stress wreak havoc on our health. Here are a few pointers to help you manage your stress:
– Set realistic expectations for yourself
– Get active and get the endorphins going
– Take five minutes to focus on your breathing when you’re feeling overwhelmed
– Turn on your favourite music – research shows that relaxing music has a positive effect on anxiety
– Talk to a friend about how you’re feeling
– Slow down!
5. Take time out
‘Me time’ hasn’t become part of our vocabulary for nothing. We need it. So prioritise yourself and take an hour or two to do something on your own. It could be catching up with a good friend, reading in the garden, watching a movie, having a massage – whatever relaxes you and makes you feel good about yourself.
6. Go offline
Ever feel like you spend more time in the digital world than you do in the real one? It’s not surprising since most of us spend a considerable portion of the day staring at a screen. Switching off from social media and cutting down the amount of time we spend on news sites each day are excellent ways to give our overloaded brains a break and help us to be present in the moment.