We know that the term self-care is a broad one. Ask anyone to describe self-care and the chances are that you would get some wildly different answers, but they would all be variations on the same theme: looking after yourself. Over the last couple of years, we have all been through an incredible amount of stress and difficulty. Even though things are looking brighter in a lot of ways right now, we all know that we are going to see a lot more worry and tough times in the months to come.
This is why it is so important to make sure that we are doing the right things to take care of ourselves. We all need to remember that if we are not doing this, then we are not going to be in any kind of position to help anyone else. The summer is the perfect time to take stock and reevaluate things, which is why we have put together a quick guide to some of the most important self-care activities and methods for you.
Get Some Time That’s Just For You
Let’s start with something that a lot of us find tough: making time for ourselves. We all know it is important, but it is often easier said than done. Giving yourself even just a few minutes a day to step out of your stress and your responsibilities is such a crucial reset. Try to think about where you can factor in a break in the middle of a busy workday (and while we are on that point, make sure that you are taking your lunch break instead of eating at your desk). Burnout is a serious issue right now and it is affecting so many of us. Talk to your partner about making sure that you can each take some time out by ensuring that you are balancing the responsibilities. Something as simple as going to read a book in a café or taking a quick walk around the block can make such a huge difference.
Address Those Health Issues That Are Worrying You
With the possible exception of hypochondriacs, we are all guilty of ignoring health worries every now and again. Sometimes it is because we feel like we just do not have the time to go to the doctor. Sometimes it is because we are worried about what the treatment might entail, such as being afraid of going to the dentist. And sometimes it is because we are worried that the health issue may turn out to be something very serious. The fact is that there are very few health problems that will go away if you just ignore them. Not only do you run the risk of making them worse by not addressing them, but you are only going to keep yourself up at night worrying. The responsible thing to do is to get out in front of those scary health issues.
For example, cancer is something that we are all scared of, but the best way to ensure that you have a good chance of beating it if you do indeed develop it is by catching it early. Now, you may be wondering “how accurate is a CT scan for cancer?” The short answer is that an MRI scan gives you much more comprehensive results. Ezra provides comprehensive MRI scans to look for signs of cancer, and they have a number of articles to help you understand how they work.
Prioritize Your Sleep
One of the hardest things to do when you are feeling stressed and overworked is making sure that you are getting enough good sleep. We stay up late to make sure that everything gets done, and then we overdo it on the caffeine because we are feeling exhausted. However, sleep is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your physical and mental health. Doctors recommend that most people should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep a night depending on their specific needs, which seems like an impossible goal for many of us.
So, how do we go about achieving this? Start by giving yourself a bedtime. We know, this sounds a little childish. But if you know how much sleep you need then you need to give yourself the best chance of getting it. You should also cut down on the amount of caffeine and sugar you are drinking and eating. They will give you a boost, but they will also disrupt your sleep, not to mention they tend to lead to a big crash when that initial buzz wears off. You should also think about cutting way back on alcohol. A lot of people use booze to relax, but it is a depressant that can seriously disrupt your sleep patterns. Finally, think about leaving your screens outside the bedroom. Try to stop looking at any of your devices at least forty minutes before you go to bed.
Listen To What Your Brain Is Telling You
It can be very difficult to feel like you are doing the right thing when it comes to getting out there and being sociable. We have all spent so much time shut inside away from our friends and family that there can be an overwhelming pressure to get out and see people. What you need to remember is that self-care means listening to what your brain is telling you. There is a fine line to walk, and it is true that getting outside and spending time with your loved ones can really help if you are feeling isolated and depressed. But if your brain simply is not playing ball, then it is better to think about rescheduling.
Self-care is about not punishing yourself when you can’t bring yourself to do the things that you feel are expected of you. Social anxiety is a real issue, and you should not ignore it. If you feel like you just can’t make it to that meet-up with friends, then think about telling them exactly what is happening. We have all learned a lot about mental health recently and the chances are good that many of your loved ones will be going through the exact same thing.