Check out this post by guest author Susan Treadway of https://rehabholistics.com/.
When life starts to get out of hand, you sometimes just have to stop and smell the roses to gain perspective. But you don’t have to reach a breaking point before you allow yourself to do this. If you instead practice self-care on a daily basis, you can drastically reduce the amount of stress, depression, and anxiety in your life.
Self-care doesn’t even have to take up that much time in your day. Sometimes, just taking five minutes to check in with yourself can make all the difference.
Meditation provides a structure where you can pause your day to reflect and check in with yourself. Although the goal of meditation is to turn off your thoughts for a few minutes, there is no right way to meditate. You can spend five minutes or an hour doing it. You can be sitting, laying down, or walking. And if your mind wanders, that’s okay too. Psychology Today notes that practicing daily increases your ability to regulate your emotions and cope with stress.
If you are having trouble building the habit, try creating a space for yourself in your home. The area should be simple but private. Keep the space uncluttered, and decorate it with objects that help you relax, like smooth stones, flowers, or candles. The goal is to create a soothing place you want to retreat to.
Learn to Set Boundaries
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is say “no” to someone. Whether that’s to taking on extra work from your boss or going out with friends when you really could use a night in, it’s not easy. However, if you always say “yes” to everything, the pressure will build until you can’t take it. This is why it’s important to set boundaries and learn to protect your relaxation time.
Do not take on more work than you can handle. Your boss will respect you for speaking up. Remember, they do not want your performance to suffer, because it will reflect badly on them too. If you need a night relaxing in front of the TV, it’s okay to turn down drinks with your friends.
You can even do this in small doses, according to the Huffington Post. When you feel overwhelmed in the moment, give yourself a minute to breathe by taking a short walk around the block or organizing your desk. Walking away allows you to refocus and tackle the problem with fresh eyes.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Physical and mental health go hand in hand, which is why it’s necessary to build healthy habits. Sleep is perhaps the most commonly neglected health practice. Though it’s not always easy to head to bed at a reasonable hour, you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Try turning off your electronics and unwinding by reading a book to help you fall asleep.
It’s also important not to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, whether you’re trying to solve a stress- or sleep-related issue. A glass of wine a couple of nights a week is usually a perfectly safe way for people to unwind after a long, anxiety-filled day. However, relying too much on substances to reduce your stress can be a slippery slope to bigger problems (like addiction) which can be a direct threat to your physical and emotional health.
Your diet needs to be a balance of brightly-colored fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. In order to keep what you’re eating in check, Health Magazine recommends planning your meals in advance and surrounding yourself with healthy snacks.
Exercise should not be neglected, either. The average adult should aim to work out five times a week with a combination of aerobic and strength training. This will help you maintain your weight and keep your muscles active. To help you break a sweat, pick activities you enjoy, and consider signing up for a class.
This does not mean you can’t indulge in the occasional cookie or stay up late and have a night out on the town. Being healthy is a lifestyle; let the indulgences be just that.
Keep the Stress at Bay
Life does not need to be a sprint. With so many things to do and so many people to see, it can be tempting to just go from one thing to the next without stopping, but take the time to slow it down. Not only will this make stress manageable, but you’ll be healthier for it.
by Susan Treadway of https://rehabholistics.com/.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.