Self-care is a phrase frequently talked about but rarely understood. We all seem to have plenty of time for stress, but never enough for self-care. A healthy, happy life requires we find a balance between managing care for others while prioritizing care for ourselves.
No matter what takes center stage in your life— family responsibilities, work deadlines or end-of-semester finals— you will be better equipped to everything that comes your way if you are also taking the time to care for yourself. Here are a few ways you can sneak self-care into your everyday routine.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP— EVERY NIGHT
Staying up late to meet a deadline on a regular basis could be having a significant impact on your health. Lack of sleep challenges our cognitive ability, makes us more irritable and worsens existing issues with chronic pain. When you make sleep a self-care priority, you make your life a priority. Sleeping on a comfortable mattress can aid in good health by reducing inflammation, improving physical performance, sharpening attention and helping to maintain a healthy weight. Changing your mattress every 7-10 years is ideal, so consider buying a new, updated mattress to help with sleepless nights due to both frequent discomfort and chronic pain.
ASK YOUR BODY FOR FEEDBACK
Technology has empowered us to learn how the brain and the body react to stress, thus giving us an easier time understanding how to manage our stressors. Using heart rate variability biofeedback, people with chronic pain are able to reduce pain and lower stress by matching breathing and heart rate. This category of medical technology doesn’t just tap into heart rate and breathing, but thoughts and emotions as well. Neurofeedback measures your brain waves to better understand how stress specifically impacts your central nervous system. The consensus regarding the best way to determine a course of neurofeedback is by getting a qEEG or brain map. When combined, these types of feedback can give you a roadmap for self-care, with tools for managing chronic pain, anxiety, stress, PTSD and even the side effects of stroke or heart attack.
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR— SAY NO FROM TIME TO TIME
Saying no is one of the hardest things to do. Constantly being afraid of disappointment, combined with Western society’s glorification of high-stress work environments, means that saying no to a request can sometimes be physically painful— or even impossible. However, you owe it to yourself— and your responsibilities— to not take on too much. When your focus and energy are divided too much, you aren’t giving your best self to all those who need you. We have to move beyond the guilt of saying no. One of the easiest ways to do that is to say “not right now.” Another way is to connect the requestor with someone who has more time to help. Saying no gives you space to focus on the priorities you have right in front of you, eliminating the stress and worry of being overworked and stretched too thin.
DEVOTE 30 MINUTES A DAY TO YOURSELF
It sounds like a small chunk of time, but to a working mother, a college student with several jobs, or a man who travels often for business, finding 30 minutes can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But you have to try. Make self-care into a habit by devoting half an hour each day to uninterrupted attention to yourself. Read a book in the sunshine, take a hot bath, eat a meal while listening to music, walk in silence, work in a garden, take a yoga class, get a pedicure— think of some activity that makes you smile, and do it.
Self-care is crucial for confidence, self-esteem and relaxation, but it also improves productivity and achievement. You may think slowing down could limit your potential and progress, but think again. Self-care is the best care for yourself and others.
If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic health challenges or autoimmune issues despite having medical managment. Thank you, help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living!
Always remember one of my mantras., “The more you know about how your body works, the better you can take care of yourself.”
For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look at the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body’s Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets. If you found value in this article, help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living! Thank you!
Michigan Brain Health
Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC, BCN, DNMSC, FIFHI, FICPA
51735 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Township, MI 48316
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