How to Take Care of Yourself
How you deal with everyday stress as well as the stress from specific events directly affects how you feel emotionally and physically. But if you pay attention to your health and learn ways to handle stress, you will have a great start to taking care of yourself. If you make time to exercise, eat right and do things that make you feel good, you are on the road to taking care of yourself.
Eat a Healthy Diet
We hear it almost everyday, but unless you're extremely disciplined, eating healthy can be a challenge. I struggle in this area. I know what I eat affects how I look and feel. Yet often times my choices are not healthy. A nutritious, well-balanced diet gives you energy. Fatty, unhealthy foods slow you down. A way to get on the right eating path is to follow the 80/20 rule. Try making 80% of what you eat healthy- a nutritious mix of fruits, vegetable and whole grains. Then you can eat what you want for the remaining 20%. This is what I'm trying now.
People who only get moderate exercise have a much lower rate of heart disease and other medical problems. This is essential in taking care of yourself. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise in per day. If you can't fit it in one chunk, split it up throughout the day. I try to exercise, but with the schedule I have, it's difficult to get the 2.5 hours in each week. Tackle it in small chunks throughout the day. I usually get to work early and will take 10 minutes to walk around our floor or do some type of exercise in my office. While watching TV, I will exercise during the commercials. I've learned that commercial breaks are long.
Got a dog? Take a walk with him/her. My late dog, Kizzy, was a great walking partner. You met her on one of my earlier hubs. Even at age 15, before she got ill, she still loved walks. During the summer months, I would walk with her twice per day. Even if they are only 10-minute walks, they add up. Every little bit counts.
Get a Good Night's Rest
Everything in life is easier when you are well rested. You think more clearly, feel better, look better and have more energy. Many of us ignore the importance of sleep and don't get the recommended eight hours per night. When I lack sleep, I'm irritable, forgetful and frustrated. Try creating a routine at bedtime by going to bed at the same time every night. Avoid caffeine and alcohol after five. I love to read and I end each night reading a chapter or two in my current novel.
Stress can affect your health, the way you feel and the ability to do well at work and home. The best way to deal with stress is to go straight to the source. One thing to help with stress is to make priorities. You may not be able to complete everything on your to do list, but if you prioritize and tackle it in small chunks, you will be making progress and not stressing out about the entire project. If it is a stressor that you can't deal with directly, you have to learn how to live with it in a way that minimizes its affect on your life. Relaxation techniques and expressing your emotions can help.
Taking care of yourself means paying attention to your physical and emotional needs. It means eating nutritious foods, getting exercise and sleep. It also mean tapping into your support system of family and friends and reaching out to them to help you deal with and overcome those stresses in your life with resilience and flexibility.