What is self-care? It’s a term you might have heard a lot about but never quite understood.
Put simply, self-care is the practice of caring for yourself. This means taking responsibility for your health and wellbeing, relying less on medical professionals and others to help with the things we could be doing for ourselves. Self-care can improve your mood and make you feel happier, while some of the lifestyle choices made as a result of self-care could help improve your health.
Take a look at some of the ways you can improve your self-care for a healthier, happier you.
1. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is important for many reasons. Not only will it help you maintain a healthy weight, but it will also mean that your body gets the nutrition it needs to avoid health problems and illnesses. A balanced diet consists of the recommended amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals provided by fruit and vegetables.
While you shouldn’t be afraid to treat yourself now and then, a diet consisting of takeout, processed foods and foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat can lead to different health problems that could become serious in later life.
2. Get active
As well as a balanced diet, a regular dose of activity can also boost your health. Physical activity guidelines state that adults should complete at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, while those who complete 300 minutes benefit even further. 30-minutes to an hour a day, therefore, could have some positive effects on your health, while also helping you to keep the weight off. Walking is a great way to start building up your fitness, and aiming for 10,000 steps a day or more is a good place to start.
3. Avoid stressful situations
Do you consider yourself to be a people pleaser? For many people, it can be difficult to say no to things, especially when it comes to work or your social life. If there are certain things that cause you stress or anxiety, you need to learn how to say no for the sake of your mental health. Getting into the habit of saying no can be freeing, leaving you feeling a lot more in control and confident.
4. Keep up with your medical appointments
Staying on top of your medical appointments is not only good for your health, but for the healthcare industry too. Missed healthcare appointments can mean be a huge drain on resources, while also meaning other people in need miss out on the healthcare they need.
Put all of your appointments in your diary, and set reminders on your phone for two weeks, a week and a day before your appointment. Regular dental checkups are important to help keep your teeth in good condition, while also helping to keep an eye out for conditions that might be hidden on the surface.
5. Be more organized
Being late for everything, misplacing things around your home and forgetting to do certain tasks are things that can leave you feeling stressed – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Believe it or not, there are both mental and physical benefits of being organized that could change your life. Start writing to-do lists, declutter your home and start making an effort to be on time as ways to improve your self-care.
Keeping notes of phone conversations, adding appointments to your diary and other small, but useful, details can help you stay on top of things and improve your organization skills.
6. Treat common medical conditions at home
If you’re someone who runs to their doctor at the first sign of a sniffle, you could be costing your health service money unnecessarily. Many common conditions such as colds or a stomach flu can be treated at home easily, using guidance from the pharmacist to help you. Keep medication at home to treat common cold symptoms and only contact your doctor if things don’t improve or you suspect a serious condition. Use a trusted and reliable symptoms checker to assess your condition and to get advice on treatment, being careful not to worry yourself by immediately skipping to the most serious results. Symptom checkers can be a useful reference to help you practice self-care.
Between caring for your family and a busy work life, it can be difficult to switch off when you need to. Make time for yourself to relax, either by doing something you enjoy like reading a book or baking or relaxing in a warm bath or out in your backyard. Being busy taking care of everyone else’s needs can mean than you neglect your own, which could affect your mental health. Every now and then, make some time for yourself to relax and unwind and recharge your batteries – it will make the world of difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
8. Get more sleep
Sleep is important to help our bodies function – it can be difficult to focus and carry out the simplest of tasks when you’re sleep deprived! A good night’s sleep is important, and you should be aiming to get around 8 hours’ sleep a night. 8 hours might seem like a dream when you’re dealing with children, but you need to somehow fit it into your routine. Try going to bed an hour earlier on weeknights to help you catch up on your sleep, and learn to sleep better by putting the technology away and minimizing distractions in your bedroom.
Your health is important, and it’s down to you to make sure that you stay happy and healthy. Self-care is important for making sure that you stay active and healthy to be able to live your best life, as well as avoid potentially life-threatening illnesses. If you’ve been neglecting yourself lately, it’s time to make a change – so think of ways you can improve your self-care and make some important lifestyle changes that will benefit both your physical, and your mental health.