It’s been a long and stressful week. You’ve been bombarded with calls, texts, and emails coming from every which way. Maybe you’ve been in charge of carpool or been asked to take on a big project at work. Whatever it is that’s causing you that added stress, you are relieved to finally get some rest. How is it that you unwind and decompress after such a busy week? Do you take the time to perform self-care, or are you quick to put that “me time” on the back burner?
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is any activity that you do in order to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is key for improved moods and reduced anxiety. Although it seems like a simple concept, it is something many people often overlook. Why is it that we forget to perform self-care if it’s so simple?
Oftentimes practicing self-care is easier said than done. Most of us are crazy busy - stressed out by our jobs and by life in general. Even when we get some time to ourselves we are faced with another culprit: technology. Most of us are just too consumed with technology. Instead of doing something for our mental or physical health, we find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through our phones. This is why turning self-care into a habit can be challenging, but can also be so rewarding.
Forms of Self-Care
Self-care is personal and can take many forms. What one person may find pleasurable may differ from the next. But despite this, there are certain forms of self-care in particular that benefit everyone and are easy to incorporate into even the busiest of lives.
Exercise has an enormous impact on our moods. Studies have shown that exercise is just as effective as anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Even just 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is enough for you to reap the many benefits of exercise. But how exactly is exercise able to do so much?
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins reduce your perception of pain and trigger positive feelings in the body. Your body’s reaction to exercise not only boosts your mood, but also reduces stress, improves sleep, strengthens your heart, and increases your energy levels. Try incorporating supplements into your exercise to get the most out of your workouts. CBD has been proven to have numerous benefits when combined with exercise (learn more here).
Many people don’t have the time to make it to the gym on a regular basis and that’s okay. Even just a few minutes a day of moderate exercise is enough for your body to reap the benefits of exercise. Make a habit of taking a walk after dinner or pick up a hobby like biking. Just choosing more active options - like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving - are ways you can fit exercise into your busy schedule.
The benefits of meditation on your mental and physical health are endless. Studies have shown meditation to help alleviate stress, control anxiety, enhance self-awareness, strengthen memory, and improve sleep. And while many may think it sounds easy, those who have practiced meditation understand it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds.
Meditation is a process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. It is not about turning off your thoughts or feelings, rather it is about learning to observe them without judgment. This can be done by concentrating on your breathing or repetition of a mantra. But while meditation is a skill, learning to meditate takes consistency and a lot of practice.
Luckily there are many avenues of instruction for learning how to meditate. Try following Youtube videos or downloading free meditation apps to help you become a master at meditation. Just a few minutes everyday are enough to strengthen your abilities. Meditation is another activity you can do anywhere, without special equipment or memberships. Try it now to increase your physical and mental health.
Have you ever noticed how you felt after eating a healthy meal? It’s no surprise that nutrition plays a major role in how we feel both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.
About 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with neurons - or nerve cells. This means that your digestive system not only digests food, but also guides your emotions. It would be smart to assume that these neurons are then highly influenced by what you consume.
Despite misconceptions, eating healthy does not mean restricting yourself. Eating healthy means getting in the right foods that your body needs to thrive. (Of course this doesn't mean you can’t treat yourself here and there, but moderation is key.) Think of your brain as an expensive car: it runs best when you give it premium fuel. So eating high quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are key to promoting both physical and mental health.
Another form of self-care that goes hand-in-hand with nutrition is cooking. Cooking a meal can be something peaceful you do alone or with a loved one. When you have a hectic day it’s easy to pass on cooking and order takeout or throw something in the microwave instead. Next time you get that urge remember that cooking is a great form of self-care and an easy way to add “me time” to your day.
Cooking meals yourself is not only a healthier option, but also a chance to pause your day and take some time for yourself. Enjoy the process by listening to some music or an audiobook, or cook with a loved one for a bonding experience. Making your own meals also gives you a chance to sneak in supplements. Next time you’re cooking try incorporating some CBD Oil into your recipe for an added health boost.
Do you remember the last time you really laughed? That deep-belly laugh where tears are streaming down your face and your cheeks hurt? Studies have shown the many benefits laughter has on our health and body. Laughing reduces blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and depression. Laughter even burns calories and boosts our immune system!
Next time you want to take some time for yourself, try watching a funny show or calling a friend you always seem to laugh with. The benefits of laughter on your emotional and physical health is immense and it is one of the easiest forms of self-care that you can fit into even the busiest of days.