Most of us have all heard how important it is to take care of yourself, but how often are we actually doing it? We know it’s important but do we really know how important it is or how to really do it? Self care and managing stress before it manages and damages you is absolutely critical for one’s mental and physical well being.
So how do you go about implementing self care? First it involves listening to your body and your inner self. Do a self check in and give yourself breaks when needed and do whatever it is that will allow you to laugh, to smile, relax and enjoy yourself. It is crucial for both physical and mental health.
Even several short sixty second breaks during the day are better than staying in a constant state of tension and stress.
Without it, you risk burn out and the ability to function at work or take care of others. We need the mental vacation and we need to try and negate the effects of stress on our bodies (eight to ninety percent of diseases are caused by stress). Personally, I love yoga (which often incorporates meditation) and the huge stress relief and relaxation effect I feel. As much as I love my yoga class, I typically feel so stressed and overwhelmed that I feel that I don’t have the time for it. With the feeling of haivng so much to do, it’s hard to be still that long and do nothing. Then I tell myself that’s exactly why I need it, I need to be still, I need to relax my mind and body. At the beginning of class my mind races as always, but by the middle of class I’m lying on my mat with my eyes closed, so relaxed that I feel like I could fall asleep. I’m always amazed at the relaxation effect and how much better I feel afterwards. It reinforces why I desperately need it, and why I can’t afford not to do it. I can’t afford or continue to let the stress increase my blood pressure, weaken my immune system, drain my energy and deprive my sleep.
Meditation is also a great way to relax your mind and body.
It’s something you can do anywhere, even closing the office door for a few minutes will do wonders. It allows your brain to enter a state of functioning similar to sleep and also helps one to build their resilience to stress. I practice that at home sometimes as well and find it very beneficial. It doesn’t necessarily have to be yoga or mediation (which I highly recommend though) but can be something fun, or maybe just doing nothing at all. My absolute favorite do nothing at all self care therapy is getting a massage. My worries and stress disappear, my body and mind relaxes, and my muscle tightness and tension are erased. There are many health benefits from massage therapy. It’s known to decrease blood pressure, increase immune function, improve sleep, decrease pain and lower stress.
Whatever it is that works for you, do it.
The relaxation aspect is needed for your health and preventing chronic stress from the toll it takes on your body. Yoga, meditation and massage are wonderful ways to practice self care but they may not be for you. There are many other wonderful ways to practice self care and relieve stress. Examples are reading, art work, crafts, exercise, listening to music, fishing, golfing, and playing games. If you’re able to do anything outdoors, get out there! Being outdoors helps one to relax more and get their mind off of things. The key is to just do it, do something to take care of you, and make self care a priority. If you aren’t currently practicing self care I hope you’ll now be inspired to start.