Good self-care emphasizes personal development. Whether you’re going back to school, embarking on a new career path, or just broadening your own understanding, you’re always trying to better yourself. Your self-care practices can enhance your efforts and help you to live a fuller and healthier life.
Food Fuels Success
Part of improving yourself is making sure your needs are being met. That means ensuring you are eating well, exercising right, and getting sufficient rest each day. When our needs are not met, we get run down, and we don’t have the energy to accomplish the things that we want in life. It becomes easy to sink into depression and despair, or even fall victim to self-medicating with alcohol or other addictive substances. But looking after yourself properly can help you to avoid these pitfalls.
Your diet is the simplest thing to control, but has one of the most powerful impacts on your attitude and your abilities. For people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction or a debilitating illness, it’s the first line of defense when you’re rebuilding your physical health. It can restore a damaged microbiome in the gut, and even help rewire the brain’s reward system. Get the most nutritional value for your caloric buck by choosing nutrient-dense foods. These give your body and brain the fuel they need to flourish. Lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats will give you an edge. Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants will improve your immune system and help you stay healthy.
Exercise Helps You Focus
There are many good reasons to exercise each day. It preserves flexibility in your joints and helps you retain muscle and bone. It improves the function of your cardiovascular system, and is a preventative measure against obesity and diabetes. But one of the most important reasons to exercise is that it clarifies the mind and lowers your body’s stress levels. It is relaxing, and puts you in an optimistic frame of mind. It improves cognitive functioning in the brain, strengthens memory, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. If your body is out of shape, exercise can help you rebuild it and make it stronger. If you’re physically fit, exercise helps you to stay that way. It’s a great tool for people in recovery, helping them prevent relapse and enabling them to feel a natural, non-chemical high.
Spark Your Creativity
Just as you exercise your body, you should exercise your mind. One way to do that is to take up meditation. With yoga, it can be a combined body/mind workout that improves mental focus, lowers stress and anxiety, and improves agility and coordination. But meditation’s benefits go farther than that. People who practice meditation report feeling more self-aware, happier, and more creative. Many creative people meditate simply for the inspiration they feel it gives them. You may also wish to engage in new hobbies to enhance the creative process. Many people feel that downtime spent engaged in things like crafts, cooking, or gardening help them to be more inventive and more productive.
Cement Your Social Bonds
Most people feel invigorated by spending time with loved ones, but we are spending more time these days in online conversations, and less and less engaged face to face. Institute a policy of spending time with a friend at least one day a week out in the real world rather than online. Go out for a cup of tea and refresh your skills at social interaction. You’ll be surprised how much you get out of it. Studies show that people with strong real world social ties are healthier and live longer than people who lack them.
Becoming the very best version of you is a process, something that takes the whole of your life. Working toward that goal is part of your self-care ritual and routine. You’re investing in your future by building your emotional, spiritual, and physical health so it can serve you for years to come.