Mental Health

8 Ways to Appreciate Yourself for International Self-Care Day

We spend a good deal of our time as friends and parents worrying about the well-being of others, without paying too much mind about our own wellness in many cases. However, unless you put yourself first sometimes, you won’t be doing yourself or anyone you care for any favors.

While “me time” can be an important element of self-care, it’s not all about withdrawing from people we love. Self-care is more about incorporating healthy practices into your daily routine, like proper diet and even using the proper medicines to ensure your health. Since July is a month that celebrates International Self-Care Day, let’s take a look at eight tips to show yourself that you care…

1. Practice Proper Hygiene

Keeping yourself fresh is a great way to ensure you don’t get ill from unfriendly bacteria (or leave a bad impression on a co-worker). Good hygiene is considered one of the “seven pillars” of self-care, according to Consumer Health Products Canada.

Proper hygiene can be as simple as making sure you brush your teeth well on a daily basis, according to the source. Letting your oral health slide can lead to bigger problems like gum disease. Of course, taking a shower or bath each day is also recommended, as is washing your hands before eating to prevent making bacteria part of your meal.

Brushing Teeth 2

2. Rest Up

The Chopra Center (associated with American alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra) urges you to get enough rest as part of your self-care regiment. Even if you’re an energetic type, pushing yourself too hard without breaks can lead to burnout, notes the site.

The site explains there are different kinds of people, but that a central set of rules should apply to all including taking time to wind down from a job, and even practicing meditation. The bottom line is you’ll be more productive after you rest–don’t look at rest as a waste of time. “Although some of you have been conditioned to believe that taking time for yourself is selfish or indulgent, nothing could be further from the truth,” notes the source.

Rest and Relax

3. Listen to Yourself

Although sometimes you may feel your thoughts and opinions are drowned out or ignored by people around you, remember there’s always one person that will (or at least should) give you their full attention: you. This practice of reflecting is a form of Active Listening, notes Psychology Today.

While this technique is often used to relate to others in your own words, it can also be used for self-care, notes the source. When you find yourself in a struggle, acknowledge it and even vocalize it gently to yourself. The site gives examples of situations where you can assure yourself; one is “it’s tough to work such long hours and feel unappreciated.” Yes, it is, self.

Self Esteem

4. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

Life can seem overwhelming, and you can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in a sea of unpaid bills and other obligations. When you’re distressed it’s also easy to have tunnel vision, trying to get things done without taking time to appreciate the blessings life holds for you.

That being said, the next time you’re feeling like you can’t cope, think forward to a happy time. It could be an upcoming get-together with friends, a family road trip, a concert, or a birthday celebration. Mark these enjoyable and pleasurable events on your calendar and revisit them often. WikiHow adds, “Anticipating something fun means that you get to enjoy the happy experience for longer.”

conception calendar

5. Modify your Diet

Many Americans resort to sugary foods to reward themselves or help themselves feel better after a stressful situation. However, while a bowl of ice cream may be fine once in a while, too much of a “good thing” will end up sapping your energy, motivation and can lead to obesity.

GentleLivingOnline.com suggests substituting some of this so-called “comfort food” (which can be empty calories in disguise) for more natural alternatives such as greens and fruit. While it may be a tough transition at first, the site notes, “The more you eat them, the more your tastebuds change and you realize just how delicious food from the earth truly is.” You’ll also likely get more vitamins and minerals, contributing to your well-being.

strawberries

6. Use Products to Your Advantage

There are many products out there that are designed for self-care, whether you’re treating a minor ailment or helping to prevent one in the first place. Consumer Health Products Canada is obviously an advocate for using these products, but you can’t doubt the effectiveness of over-the-counter remedies in your care regime.

The organization touts using sunscreen, vitamin supplements, pain relievers and other consumer products to manage your own health without taxing the health care system with more major ailments. Just be sure to use these products as directed and consult a doctor if they’re not helping.

sun 8

7. Hit the Trails

We can probably all agree on one thing: locking yourself in your home with worry and regret is not going to help your overall health. Getting outside for some fresh air and especially some exercise is an important part of self-care, according to GentleLiving.

Not only will moving around help you physically and assist in managing any chronic pain, it will also benefit you mentally. Even moderate exercise can trigger feel-good endorphins, and when you mix that with the positive effects of sunshine, you could be giving yourself a big boost.

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8. Focus on the Now

This is a guiding principle of meditation, and also what CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) courses often attempt to get across. The idea is to separate your past and future from the present and to live in the moment. No, it’s not easy to do; we’re often programmed to do the opposite. It takes practice to get better at.

Focusing on the now also helps us take our own negative feelings in stride without self-judgment, adds Greatist.com. Becoming an expert at mindfulness and meditation can reduce stress and depression, as well as help boost compassion for others and even reduce illness, according to the source.

 

Mind-Body Practice (Yoga)

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