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Self-Care For A Healthier You

Written by Courteney

Posted on March 9, 2016 at 1:45 am

We’ve all heard the saying “until you take care of yourself, you’re no good to anyone else”, but have you ever really stopped to consider it? Most of us run ourselves on empty helping friends, running errands for relatives, perfecting the house for company, taking on work to help a fellow employee, rarely stopping to ask ourselves if our needs are being met. But stretching yourself too thin is not without its consequences.

Taking ‘Me Time’ Is Crucial, Not Selfish

By doing things for everyone else all the time, we leave little time for things that may be essential for our own wellbeing such as time to exercise, rest or work on hobbies or personal development. It can be hard to set your focus on yourself when you feel there are so many more pressing matters. Many people even feel selfish doing so, but the reality is that by never taking time to relax, your physical, emotional and mental health may soon turn into “more pressing” matters.

The Dangers of Running Yourself Ragged

Constantly being on the run and moving from task to task without a break will perpetually elevate your stress level. We all know that stress can cause physical distress as well as mental, but to what degree? Chronic stress has such physiological effects as lethargy, anxiety, palpitations, elevated blood pressure, headaches and insomnia. That is a pretty hefty price to pay because you refuse to take a daily moment for yourself.

The Importance of Self Care for the Immunocompromised

If you have mental or physical health problems it can be even more important to avoid wearing yourself down. With limited fuel in the tank, if you’re burning too much of it on others while neglecting yourself, your cortisol levels will rise which can often exacerbate chronic conditions such as heart, lung, or autoimmune diseases. There can also be emotional reprocussions such as reduced self esteem. If you take time to do the things that make you happy and take care of yourself, your confidence will follow suit. You will also teach other people to treat you well instead of always second fiddle.

The Importance of Self-Care for Caregivers

Someone who cares for a partner or family member with an illness also needs to pay particular attention to self-care. If you are always running around doing things to help someone else, you will likely put all your needs second to the person you are caring for. This can be dangerous for different reasons:

  • Over one third of family and spousal caregivers continue to provide intense care even when they are suffering physically or mentally themselves – the added stress of caregiving can continue to make caregivers’ physical and mental problems worse overtime if they don’t learn to bring their stress levels down.
  • If caregivers don’t take regular time out for their own needs, feelings of resentment and hostility will develop toward the person they are caring for. Mental health conditions such as depression can easily set in if the caregiver is unhappy and unhealthy themselves.
  • If the caregiver becomes too burned out they will not be in adequate shape to continue caring for their loved one or for themselves.

Take A Beat To Do What You Love

If you have a morning ritual such as doing yoga outside or writing in your diary first thing in the morning, you should not let life get in the way of it. Some other little things you can do to take care for yourself are:

  • Take an hour every day after work before succumbing to family craziness to go for a nice walk, do some meditation or lock the door and have a dance party with yourself
  • Do you nails or pumice your callouses. For men? Have a luxurious shave or read your favourite comic in the bath
  • Get things in order for tomorrow the night before, it may give you more time to sleep in and you’ll thank yourself for the foresight
  • Read for pleasure, outside if possible
  • Learn mindfulness and meditation, is it for you?
  • Call a friend that makes you happy, not one that brings you down
  • Stop and enjoy your coffee, tea or make yourself a smoothie to sip
  • Go for an hour’s drive with your favourite songs uploaded to a “Driving Fun” playlist
  • Find someone or a pet for a cuddle
  • Make your favourite meal for you. Many people are too busy cooking for others they don’t take time to make what they are craving
  • Turn off all the technology in the house and do something you love – painting, colouring, woodworking or knitting

As they say on airplanes, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can assist others! Take care, from DocChat!

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