You’re already probably used to taking care of others – your children, an ailing parent, a friend or even your pet. Now it’s time to start treating yourself better too.
In my 40 + years treating patients, I’ve found that those who make time for self-care, do better managing weight and boosting health than those who keep giving away their time to others.
Taking care of yourself is not being selfish. Instead, it’s a reminder that your health and happiness are worth the time and effort.
How Does Self Care Lead to Better Health?
You may wonder what self-care looks like – and how it relates to a healthier lifestyle. Here are some examples:
Self-care can include nourishing yourself with regular meals and planned snacks, keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day, getting to sleep earlier or participating in de-stressing activities. It can also involve doing fun activities that you enjoy.
When you do things for yourself that bring more joy, peace of mind and balance into your life, you also start feeling better, have more energy and even cope better with daily stressors.
Instead of grabbing a candy bar for an energy boost late afternoon, maybe you sip some herbal tea with a planned snack or you get some fresh air outside and take a walk.
Or instead of plopping on the couch to binge watch a show at the end of an exhausting day, you hop on your home exercise bike instead while still watching your favorite show.
How to Fit Self-Care into a Busy Life?
Though self-care fills you up and can recharge your batteries, how do you make time for something when your day is most likely already overscheduled?
Self-care is not just for weekends! With that mindset, your weekend may end up being more eating and drinking than your body needs.
Instead, every day you can look for opportunities to do any of the following:
- take a deeper breath
- use a meditation app even for just 5 minutes; one of my favorites is Rest and Relax Guided Meditations
- walk in nature
- expand your music play list and listen to music
- pursue a hobby that brings you joy whether it’s playing guitar, knitting, dancing, reading or biking
- treat yourself to a spa day at home by soaking in a warm bath
Instead of having to completely overhaul your lifestyle, you can do something each day, even for a short time, that’s just for you and helps you stay grounded.
How to Overcome Self-Care Struggles?
If you’re struggling being motivated or finding time for self-care, you may want to ask for help.
Be specific such as, “Can you pick up the kids for me so I can get in my me time?”
Finding others who share your passions can also give you a motivation boost.
If you’ve always wondered what it would feel like to try meditation or learn Zumba dancing, now’s the time to challenge yourself in new ways. You can check out free YouTube videos or take a virtual class.
You can also find groups on social media that share your passion. It seems like Facebook has a group for everything hobby related.
I encourage you to take a holistic approach to total health that includes being able to appreciate yourself and treat yourself better.
It’s a mindset. You can do this!
Robert Kushner, MD