So in my last post, I decided to get really personal and share my experience with stress. I wanted to share with you, not just the things I know about health but also my own struggles that have impacted my health. Today I want to share with you some of the things I do to take care of myself to avoid feeling defeated when presented with a stressful situation. The best way to manage stress is to prevent it from happening altogether, and the best way to prevent feeling overwhelmed is to take care of yourself by listening to your body. Being able to listen to your body is one of the most important life skills to master because it can make the biggest difference in how you react when presented with a stressful situation. The feeling of being overwhelmed that is often associated with stress is a result of feeling like we don’t have control over the situation. However, the one thing to keep in mind that will help prevent stress from setting in is to take charge of the things that you do have control over such as your self-care habits. By incorporating some of these self-care practices into your life, you can help to keep your physical, mental, and emotional health in check to keep your life as stress-free as possible.
Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
One of the best ways to ensure your physical health is in check is by eating a healthy and balanced diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables along with natural sources of fat and lean protein will work together to help you feel your best. Nutrient-rich foods not only help to keep your metabolism running but they also help to keep your energy levels steady and stable throughout the day. It is especially important to eat foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals when you are feeling stressed to keep your metabolism from slowing to a halt and to maintain a steady flow of energy. Keep in mind that your energy levels determine the degree and rate at which you function so by eating a healthy and balanced diet you can equip yourself to be the best you can be. Eating healthy is the cheapest form of health insurance there is and every single day you are presented with the choice to either build yourself up or break yourself down.
Love yourself enough to make the choice that not only makes you look good but also makes you feel good.
Making sure that you are drinking enough water may be the single most important factor in your overall health. About 60% of our bodies weight is made up of water. Every time we breathe, sweat, eat and urinate we lose water. I know we are all after that natural glow and the easiest and cheapest way to achieve it is to keep hydrated. Drinking water not only helps to keep energy levels up but it also can help to slow down the physical signs of aging by keeping your skin plump. In addition, staying hydrated can help you to avoid over-eating during meals. The part of our brain that regulates thirst is the same as that regulates hunger so often times we may overeat when really the issue is dehydration. If you think you might be dehydrated take a look at your urine, if it’s dark you definitely need more water, if it’s light and almost undetectable you are well-hydrated. Keep it simple and just try to drink as much water as possible by choosing teas and flavored waters over sodas and juices. Get creative with your water by adding fresh fruit and herbs.
Get Plenty of Sleep
I think most of us struggle with getting enough sleep each night because we prioritize the tasks that are in front of us instead of our own well-being. While it’s good to work hard, it is also just as important to get good rest. If we don’t give our bodies enough time to recover and recharge we can end up burning ourselves out. I know for me personally, if I don’t get enough sleep I’m usually pretty cranky, foggy-headed, and just annoyed the next morning. The trick to getting things done in a timely manner without burning yourself out is to know when it’s time to put down the task at hand and take care of yourself. Consistently being exhausted from sleep deprivation can increase your risk of injury, depression, obesity, and high blood pressure. Do yourself the favor and make sleep a priority, your mind and body will thank you for it.
Enjoy Quiet Time
Another thing I like to do to focus on myself is to spend some time doing a quiet activity like reading or journaling. Basically, anything that is not related to technology. As a student and a blogger, the amount of time I spend in front of the screen can sometimes feel overwhelming. When that’s the case I make sure to remove the screens and sit back and read a book or journal about whatever I’m feeling that day. I really like keeping a journal because it’s one way I check in on my emotions and how I am feeling. Sometimes I will go throughout the whole day feeling off but I may not realize what the problem is until I put the pen to paper. Taking even 5 minutes to write down how you are feeling for the day is a great way to keep on top of your mental and emotional health and is very therapeutic.I encourage you to spend the last 5 minutes of your day to write down 3 good things that happened during the day and 5 things you are grateful for. By creating a list you can offset the negative feelings by reflecting on the positive things no matter how small they may be.
Spend Time in Nature
This one is similar to taking some quiet time but there’s just something about sitting outside that makes the biggest difference in your overall happiness. Last week I had a big chem exam to study for so instead of working inside I decided to take my work out to my balcony and it made the biggest difference. Something about sitting outside and listening to all the sounds in nature all while being surrounded by plants helped me to focus and to knock out those practice problems. Try taking your work outside and I’m sure you’ll find a level of concentration you never knew you could have. I ended my study session not only feeling relaxed but also feeling accomplished as I whizzed through all the work I had to do without an ounce of stress. In our day-to-day lives, we move so fast that we take for granted all the natural beauty that exists around us. Every once in awhile it’s nice to slow everything down and just enjoy the simple things in life.
Get That Heart Racing
Being active is one of the best ways to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health all at the same time. Breaking a sweat by engaging in physical activity is so important to reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and so many other diseases. On top of the physical benefits, it also helps to reduce stress levels by taking out your frustrations in a physical manner. One of my favorite activities to do is box. Boxing helps me take out any anger or annoyances in a physical way and by the end of it, I’m always so exhausted that whatever was bothering me seems of little to no importance. Bottling up your emotions will not get you anywhere so instead of sitting there fuming about your day, get up, get moving and let those frustrations out. Try to get in at least 15 minutes of physical activity each day by doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s swimming, running, biking, hiking whatever gets you moving!
All in all, there is nothing more valuable on this earth than your health. You can replace the material objects in your life but you cannot replace your health. Give yourself the best chance to achieve your goals by taking the time to take care of yourself. I have come to a point in my life where I am perfectly fine with not being perfect. Instead of freaking myself out over things that I can’t change, I take charge of the things that I can, like my health. The sooner you realize that you have the ability to completely change your life for the better, the greater the chances you will have to achieve everything you want. It all starts with a positive mindset and the knowledge that you have unlimited potential.
If you would like, feel free to download the visual I made on these self-care practices and save it as your background on your phone so that you may be reminded every day just how important it is to slow down and take care of yourself.
Best of luck,