The secret to self-care

It sounds cliché, but when you have a healthy mind and a healthy body, you will have a healthy life. Some of us are good at maintaining a healthy body, but forget that taking care of our mental health is equally important. Others are good at maintaining a healthy mind but forget to look after their physical bodies. If you take care of both, you will live a healthier life.

Realizing what is in your control and what is out of your control is the first step to self-care. What is the good of incorporating self-care activities into your daily life if you don’t cut out unhealthy activities, too? More often than not, we respond to disappointment and loss in negative ways. We cling to bad habits that actually make us worse off than we were before. We start to practice numbing habits, such as drinking or overeating. The secret to managing all of the emotions we will experience in this life is to know how we can respond positively even when our situation is crummy. Self-care is not the same thing as self-improvement. Self-care is the practice of allowing yourself to have a pleasant or nurturing experience.

Instead of worrying about the things you can’t control, focus on the areas of your life you can control. Maybe you are exerting control in a relationship that you know is doomed to fail and it is causing you emotional pain. Maybe you are exerting control over a family member that partakes in destructive behavior, but to no avail because they continue to make bad decisions.  Look at your life and name the areas that you have control over. Most of us have control over how we spend our free time, right? Let’s look at a few self-care activities that you can incorporate into your daily life. Keep in mind, if you add self-care activities into your everyday life, you may need to get rid of a couple activities that aren’t adding value to you. Maybe you play too many video games or you spend too much time watching a particular show. Think of several activities you can cut out so you can add one of these!

  • Journaling. I love this activity. It frees my mind from the fears I have and I get to focus on being grateful for the blessings in my life. You can also practice getting negative vibes and thoughts out on paper.
  • Photography. Taking photos of nature can be such a peaceful activity. I personally love taking photos of flowers and scenery.
  • Try yoga or pilates. This is especially important as you get older. Having a solid stretching routine will loosen up your muscles and help you practice clear thinking.
  • Find ways to connect socially. Think through the people in your life you care most about. Ask them to coffee or schedule a phone chat with them.
  • Focus on having a well-balanced diet. Try eating a green every day. You will feel better and keep down your weight.
  • Prioritize sleep. Sleeping at least eight hours a night will help you become more efficient in your daily tasks and you will have more energy.
  • Go on a walk or a run.
  • Meditate on deep breathing for five minutes. Don’t force yourself to “think” about anything in particular. Just try to be still and focus on breathing in and out.

Try several of these out in the next several days. Remember, those who care for themselves well are the people that have more capacity to pour into their families and community. A healthy body and a healthy mind equals a healthy life.