Getting back to basics
The basic parts of self-care are the most important parts of self-care.
I haven’t been super active on social media lately because I’ve been taking a lot of time to rest. Rest is something I needed - and I knew it. My body definitely knew it anyway.
Just taking a couple of nights to literally not do anything has helped me to feel a lot better.
Sometimes just doing the simplest of things is so easily forgotten. We skip breakfast. We work for too long. We forget to drink water.
So what should we remember to be doing every day? And how do we work it in if we don’t have a lot of time?
Well I’ll start with what I just talked about…
I’ll admit I don’t always leave time for myself to eat breakfast in the morning. Some days we just move slower than others and sometimes we might accidentally sleep in. That’s okay - we’re only human.
But if you are running late make sure you grab a quick granola bar or bagel before you head out and eat it on the bus or once you get to work or school.
Breakfast is what helps give us energy to function well throughout the day and depriving yourself of that boost probably won’t feel too great because you’ll likely be pretty tired. So, to help yourself feel better, make sure you’re getting in something for breakfast.
Not working for too long
Now I totally get if you’re a student with a deadline or you have something at work that cannot wait. But, if you can - try to take a quick health break. Go for a walk or stretch for a few minutes if you can.
Some movement helps get your blood flowing and could give you a bit of an energy boost.
If you do end up working for too long - don’t forget to let yourself recover. Our health suffers when we don’t. It can make us more tired, lead to heart problems, can increase your risk of depression and have a bad affect on your cognitive abilities.
So do yourself a favour and try not to overwork yourself. If you absolutely have to work long hours - take the time to recover.
Remembering to stay hydrated is something I’ve written about before. It is so important. This one can be easy to forget if you’re out at work all day and forget a water bottle. I’ve made it a habit to always have one with me and that helps as a reminder.
Staying hydrated can help us to stay healthier and maintain the function of our bodily systems. We should all be trying to drink at least 6-8 oz of water every day. Now I know, seriously…we don’t all have the time to count our water intake. But if you try to make sure you carry a water bottle or drink a glass of water every couple hours you should be alright.
Now onto some other basics…
Eating good, healthy foods can help give you more energy (I’m sensing a pattern here) and nutrients. These nutrients help us to grow, repair after injuries and stay healthier which can help to prevent diet-related illnesses and some cancers according to the NHS.
I can’t really outline a diet plan for you because we all prefer different foods. But find what you like already that is healthy and try to find more ways to eat it or bring it into your diet. Eating healthy can be really delicious.
I’m also not saying you can’t have junk food every once in awhile - but make sure it doesn’t outweigh the healthy things you’re eating.
So I know everyone isn’t exactly keen on getting to the gym multiple times a week (or even just working out at home). But…it is important to make sure you’re staying at least a little active. That can even just mean going for a short walk. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, going for a 30 min. walk five times a week is really all you need.
Getting in some exercise and staying active can lower your risk of diseases, control stress, help you get better sleep and improve your mood. So aside from the physical health benefits, it can help you feel better everyday by giving you more energy and helping you feel happier.
Getting enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep can make you feel absolutely drained. Getting enough sleep helps our brains work properly and protect your mental and physical health. It can also improve our creativity, ability to learn, pay attention and make decisions. Not getting enough sleep actually alters our brain and can prevent it from building the pathways it needs to help us function better the next day.
If you can, plan your best to get a good full nights sleep. That looks differently for all of us so you should figure out how much sleep is best for you. If you struggle to sleep at night, try to have a quiet hour before bed and to keep a sleep schedule. You can also take quick naps throughout the day to get a little extra sleep too.
Just spending some time to relax can be good for you, but don’t overdo it. Spending too much time lounging around can actually make you more tired. But, if you are mentally and physically tired it might be a good idea to lay down or spend a day to relax.
So, ultimately there are many different ways that we need to remember to take care of ourselves. But these basic things are what can help us to feel better and cope better every day.