With our healthcare system so overwhelmed these days, it becomes more important than ever to recognize that taking good care of ourselves is our first line of defense against illness, and against poor health generally.
Not only that, but taking care of ourselves is a vital part of caring for the other important people in our lives.
Don’t our children deserve a parent healthy in body, mind, and spirit? One who will be there for them over the long haul, and not die young of an ailment which, with a little self-care, could have been avoided?
One who responds to them from a place of confident serenity, rather than being triggered into an emotional outburst?
Don’t our life-partners deserve the same? Our friends, even our work teams?
Self-care, at this level, is a fairly simple matter (which doesn’t mean it is always easy):
- Eat well. There are a variety of healthful diets out there – plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, paleo – find the one you can stick to, and do it. It doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule for every single meal (I broke my regular diet for Thanksgiving and will do so again for Christmas and other holidays), but healthy eating does need to become a regular habit for us, if it isn’t already.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory issues, trouble concentrating, mood swings. Worse, it affects the body’s insulin production, leaving us at greater risk for type 2 diabetes. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can also leave us vulnerable to weight gain, weakened immune systems, and high blood pressure. It can even depress our sex drive! So, please, let’s get those ZZ’s.
- Exercise. Let me repeat that – EXERCISE! Doctors since Hippocrates have told us how important it is to keep our bodies reasonably fit. That’s thousands of years ago, and yet our species still needs to learn it one individual at a time. Exercise is not only vital for our physical health, but produces endorphins, which are one of the key feel-good chemicals our bodies generate. Even if you’re not up to more than walking, 7,500 steps per day contribute significantly to improved mental and physical wellbeing. So, let’s get – or keep – moving!
- Focus. On one task at a time. Whether it’s putting the final touches on a work project or finishing that last chapter of a book you’re enjoying, just be where you are and do what you’re doing. Don’t cheat yourself of the present moment – focus on living it.
- Meditate. Or pray, or just take quiet time to center ourselves, gather the strands which we braid to produce mindfulness. Think of this as a breathing exercise for our minds and spirits. (It can also help with focusing.)
- Take time to love. Loving others is an all-too-often ignored component of our wellness – it’s vital for the soul to experience and act on selfless love.
That last is the reason self-care is an essential ingredient of loving – it’s at least as much a benefit to those we care for as it is for ourselves.
Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to know how you care for yourself in order to better care for others.
Feel free to share this email via the buttons below.
Until next time –