You’re lying in bed snuggled under the covers, not looking forward to anything. You went to bed late after finishing up work projects. You ate a late meal of potato chips because that’s all you felt you had time for. You haven’t seen friends or caught up with family all week and you just don’t look forward to doing it all over again the next day.
Unfortunately, you may be facing burnout and are in need of a little self-care. In order to keep going every day and helping others, you first have to take care of yourself and your health. If you don’t pause to recharge, it could take a toll on your physical health. Chronic conditions and illnesses such as heart disorders, arthritis, or osteoporosis commonly crop up in four out of five older adults. They will battle at least one of these conditions and 50% of them will likely battle two.
Fortunately, there are many, small easy ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routine that will help improve your health and have you popping out of bed each morning, ready to take on the day.
Food is fuel for the body. It’s literally what keeps you going. Pay attention to what you are feeding yourself. Gut health is important to proper digestive functioning. There are about 100 trillion small microorganisms that live in the gut. Also known as “gut flora,” it is necessary to maintain a proper balance of good gut bacteria.
Some ways to ensure positive gut health is by eating probiotics and fermented foods. People choose to take probiotic supplements while others prefer to eat specific foods. Fermented vegetables, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh are all foods that promote gut health. Yogurt also has live active cultures that contribute to positive gut flora.
Another way to improve gut health is by feeding the preexisting gut flora with prebiotics. These are non-digestible carbohydrates that encourage the gut flora to multiply. Whole grains, onions, bananas, garlic, and asparagus are all foods that contain prebiotics.
Other things to consider when it comes to diets are avoiding sweets and treats. While they are good in the moment and may temporarily make you feel better, the sugar can cause you to feel lethargic later on. Eat a balanced meal and be sure to include plenty of fruits and veggies. Keep a variety of foods cycling through your system and your health will begin to thank you.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors for your physical health and emotional well-being. It’s the time your body has to relax and recharge. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Average adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel good and maintain productivity. Shorting sleep may short the quality of work you are able to accomplish and dampen your overall mood.
Some ways you might improve your ability to fall asleep is by reducing the room temperature. Your body temperature fluctuates while you sleep and it may be hard to fall asleep if the room is too warm.
Look up breathing exercises. Sometimes you might jump into bed and then start thinking about the day or what you have to do tomorrow. This creates unnecessary anxiety. Practicing breathing exercises can bring you into the present moment, letting the anxieties melt away. It forces you to focus on the breathing and this also promotes a feeling of calmness that will help you fall asleep.
Attend to Your Appearance
You should look in a mirror and think, “Wow! I look good today!” Attending to your appearance and feeling good about how you look greatly benefits your mental health. Be sure to take a few minutes to brush your teeth, comb through your hair, iron out the wrinkles in clothes, and put together an outfit that makes you feel like you could take on anything.
A poll tallied how women felt about their hair. Roughly 68% said they were unhappy with how their hair looked. If that is the case, don’t be afraid to make changes to your appearance. If your hair is long and hard to manage, chop it off! Opt for a cute bob or a length that is more manageable to toss into a ponytail. There is no reason to feel bad about yourself. If a quick fix, like a haircut, will do the trick, make the appointment.
Exercise benefits mental health and physical health. It releases endorphins which are some of the feel-good chemicals in the brain. It’s the feeling of runner’s high, but it can be created from several different types of exercise. Try being active for at least an hour a day. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Jump in a swimming pool. It doesn’t matter what, just look for something active and also something that may become an interest to you.
If you’re not really feeling like exercising, enlist the help of a friend or find a group of friends that will help you stay accountable. Not only will they ensure you are taking care of yourself, but the socialization is also good for health. You are more likely to laugh with a friend or engage in a conversation that interests you. These are helpful distractions from the worries of the day. These are the moments that help you reset and recharge to get the rest of your work done.
Live in a Safe Home
Part of evolutionary needs includes feeling safe in your environment. Make sure your house is a place where you can find comfort. If you live by yourself, inspect locks on windows and doors regularly. Update your alarm system and take part in a neighborhood watch that will help you feel protected. If you don’t feel comfortable in your home, this can cause more stress and negatively affect your sleep.
Additionally, make sure the house itself is structurally sound. Roughly 20% to 30% of air moving through the duct system gets lost and leaks out of holes and poorly connected duct systems. This can lead to heat or air conditioning loss which means the air system has to work harder. Not only does that cause more wear and tear on everything, but it can also contribute to higher heating and cooling bills, adding to stress factors. Be sure to regularly keep up on house maintenance.
Making Use of Self-Care
With just a little mindfulness, you can take small steps to help improve your self-care. This will lead to reduced stress and improved overall health, both physically and mentally. Eat right, sleep well, look good, exercise often, and live in a place that makes you feel safe. These simple steps can go a long way in helping you feel recharged and ready to take on your workday.
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