Life can feel busy for a number of reasons, from a busy time at work, to caregiving for both children and parents. But, if most of your energy is focused outwards, you likely have a difficult time finding time to focus on you. If you've experienced unusually high levels of fatigue, "surprise" emotional outbursts or relationship difficulties, you may want to take stock of your current wellness and see what could improve.
Today's blog post provides 5 areas you can think about when focusing on yourself.
develop healthy habits
Physical activity has benefits beyond cardiac fitness and muscle building. During exercise your body releases "homemade" endorphins that contribute to feelings of happiness and relaxation. An exercise class may also provide you with the social boost you need for your week, or simply time away from other responsibilities.
Adequate sleep is another healthy habit focus on - both enough sleep and quality sleep. Setting an alarm in the evening to signal that it's time to start getting ready for sleep - personal care, putting your phone away, and having enough time to read (without blue light) to signal your body to wind down - are important. If you're sensitive to any light, try a quality sleep mask that doesn't put pressure on your eyes, or try blackout stickers for electrical devices like chargers that display lights.
focus on eating well
There are ways to make eating well work for you and your schedule. While meal prepping for the entire week on Sunday may not be a realistic goal for you (or maybe it is!) you can brainstorm ways to make a healthy diet easier when you're busy.
Think about what you already make and eat at home, and how you could increase the amount of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps adding vegetables to your morning smoothie, packing a salad to have during the day at work, or adding "hidden" veggies to pasta for dinner. If you eat lunch out often, try to pack lunch for 1 day per week...then 2 days...then 3 days. Your wallet and body will thank you.
establish a routine
Even the most spontaneous of us need basic routines to help us feel set. For some, it is the routines that come naturally when we are at home. For those who enjoy traveling from place to place, if you ask, they likely have routines when they arrive in a new city or in a new hotel room.
A routine at the beginning of your day helps you wake up, start your day with intent, and focus on you and your needs before catering to the needs of others. This may be a walk around the block, listening to music, stretching or doing yoga, or taking time to read for 15 minutes. Similarly, a routine during your afternoon lull or at the end of your day can also bring you peace and signal to your body and brain that there will be a change of pace.
What routines have you had in the past? What made you stop doing them? What were the benefits of doing them?
Creating a routine is an important step in prioritizing time for yourself.
If you care for others, arrange for someone else to take over your duties and take a full day (or three) off. If you work, take PTO or a sick day to focus on you. Think about what you truly want to do. Check into a hotel, watch TV all day. Book a full day of treatments at a spa. Spend the day exploring your town, sipping coffee at a cute coffee shop and reading in the park. Choose something that will re-energize you and remind yourself that you are important.
ask for help
Reaching out for help can be difficult, but at the same time, you need to know when to do it. If you find yourself wanting to ask a friend or family member for an opinion, when you really already know the answer...that means it's time to take action on that issue.
Counseling services can help you to work through any difficult emotions you may be going through, and they can also help you to uncover any complex feelings. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness if anything, it is a sign that you are ready to face the struggles you are experiencing so you can live a healthier life. You can find therapists in your area specializing in a variety of topics on websites like Headway.
If you are having a hard time with addiction, then it could be wise for you to explore an alcohol rehab facility. There are a variety of inpatient and outpatient options, and your healthcare provider or therapist may know of options in your area.
a blog about health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness from an epidemiologist / dietitian with personal trainer experience
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