Self-care isn’t something you should only worry about when times are rough, as having certain practices and habits in place can improve your day-to-day life, as well as lessen the impact of difficult times. We share seven self-care tips that you can practice daily to improve your life.
Establish good sleeping habits
In the modern world, many people wear their sleepless nights on their shoulder like a badge of honour. But very few people are aware of the life-threatening risks that sleep deprivation causes, and what you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
While eight hours is the average amount of sleep that people need, others need a little more, and others need a little less. Figuring out what works for you, as well as establishing a regular sleeping pattern, can help you:
- Feel refreshed, focused, and improve your overall mental state.
- Improve the readiness of your immune system.
- Help you lose weight.
- Reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
But what can one do in order to get a good night’s sleep? There are many ways to improve your quality of sleep including:
- Establishing a regular sleep schedule (that you follow, even on the weekends).
- Avoiding too much screen time, such as your TV, tablet or mobile phone, before going to bed.
- Avoid substances that can disrupt your sleep pattern, like alcohol and cigarettes.
- Exercise every day.
If you start to practice healthier sleep habits but still find yourself struggling to fall asleep, get in contact with your doctor or find a sleep therapist who can help you identify the issue that’s causing your sleepless nights.
In the past, one might have started their day with a flurry of sweat-inducing aerobic exercises in order to stay fit and healthy. Today many people have introduced an equally sweaty yoga session into their daily routine instead. Thanks to the fact that it can be practised virtually anywhere, yoga continues to grow in popularity across the world.
Practised in India for thousands of years, this physical discipline doesn’t only have numerous benefits for your body, but can also improve the state of your mind. Here is why yoga is an important part of any daily self-care routine. It can:
- Lower stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Improve sleep patterns and quality
- Decrease inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease
- Increase your strength and flexibility
- Help you lose weight
Meditation is a technique that helps you focus your mind, increasing your awareness and ability to focus your attention. Like yoga, meditation is believed to have its roots in India and is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries for its numerous benefits. Practising meditation regularly allows you to:
- Reduce stress levels, as well as inflammation caused by acute stress cases
- Reduce anxiety
- Increase your ability to focus
- Sleep more regularly and easily
- Improve your overall emotional health, including your overall positivity, and self-esteem
Take hot baths, or spend some time at a sauna
Whether it’s a relaxing soak in your tub at home, a dip at your local hot spring, or enjoying the purifying effects of a sauna while wrapped in nothing but a towel, spending some time in hot water or soaking up some steam can have a very positive effect on your mind and body.
Hot baths can:
- Improve your heart’s health and lower your blood pressure (if you don’t have any existing heart disease).
- Can improve your breathing by, again, increasing your heart rate, and allowing you to take in steam that clears your sinuses and chest.
- Reduce inflammation in your body, as well as muscular pain.
- Help you sleep better, which is caused by the hot water raising your internal temperature.
- Soothe irritated skin.
- Help you relax and calm your mind.
A sauna also offers a number of additional benefits, including:
- Helping asthma sufferers breathe better.
- Burning a few more calories than you normally would at rest.
Eat a healthy diet
While there’s no doubt that a juicy takeaway burger, delicious snack or sweet beverage can make you feel good, if you don’t have a healthy, balanced diet, you’re putting your mind and body at risk. Poor nutrition doesn’t only impact our stress and energy levels but can lead to health problems including obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and tooth decay.
On the other hand, a well-balanced diet can help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Boost your immune system
- Increase your energy levels
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Improve your cognitive abilities
- Reduce your risk of cancer, heart conditions, and strokes
But what does a healthy diet look like?
According to the World Health Organisation, a healthy diet consists of a combination of different foods including:
- Cereals (such as wheat, maize, and rice), and tubers or roots (such as potatoes, or yams)
- Legumes (such as lentils and beans)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Foods from animal sources
Spend some time in nature
Since many of us are residents of the concrete jungle, we can often forget how important it is to take a break and enjoy the outdoors. This doesn’t necessarily mean packing your bags for a camping trip away (although it can include this), but can simply be a walk in a nice park, a hike on a nearby trail, or even a visit to your nearest garden.
By reconnecting with nature you can lower your risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
Spending time in nature is also commonly associated with generally better well-being and overall mental health.
Play online games
If you’re unable to escape into the natural world, why not escape into the digital one instead? Playing online games has a number of benefits including:
- Providing you with an outlet for stress – If you’re feeling tired, anxious, or stressed, playing a game can help you take your mind off work or other pressures in your life. Many games are fun and enjoyable ways to escape the stress of day-to-day life.
- It helps you become more stress-resilient – A certain amount of stress from a video game can also be a good thing, as we can effectively learn stress management in a virtual environment. Whether it’s simply breathing techniques, understanding how to manage your emotions, or learning when you need to take a break, these are all important skills that apply to other areas of your life.
- Helping you develop specific cognitive skills – Basic mental processes, including attention, decision-making, memory, and perception, can be developed or improved by playing games, which usually require players to react quickly, monitor different aspects of the game, and remember key aspects of how the game works.
- Improving hand-eye coordination – This is purely dependent on the game, but certain games require that players react quickly with specific movements based on what is taking place on screen.
- Opportunities to connect with people online – As social creatures, it’s important that we forge bonds with others in order to maintain our mental well-being. However, there are sometimes circumstances that prevent this from taking place in person, and online games allow us to fulfil this need.
Join in the fun online
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