When we are children we live in a ‘me’ focused world. “I want,” “I need,” “I’m happy,” “I’m sad.” As we grow and learn empathy for other people and animals, the focus moves away from us. Marriage and children also require a lot of energy in order to take care of those around us. The more hectic our lives, the more often we forget to take care of ourselves. This can manifest in poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits, forgetting favorite hobbies and more.
In order to be the best people we can be and to have the energy to nurture and love those around us in a healthy way, we need to make sure we take time each day, each week, each month and each year to take care of ourselves.
Here are a few ways to put you first:
Eat healthy. A balanced and nutritional diet affects every part of the human experience. It affects the way our muscles work, food affects our energy levels and our moods. With modern inventions including GMO foods and the abundance of hormones and antibiotics in our foods, what we eat can interfere with our own hormonal regulation. Taking care of you means eating fruits and vegetables. If you eat meat, eat lean meats and fish more than red meat. Buy organic foods so you know you are putting all natural ingredients in your body. We recommend shopping at Bamboo Market or Natural Grocers.
Exercise. Incorporating even 20 minutes of exercise into your daily routine can offer numerous health benefits. When your heart rate is raised your body releases endorphins, helping you feel happier in a very short period of time. We recommend finding a type of exercise you look forward to doing so that your workout becomes a reward and not something you dread each day. Consider biking, hiking, tennis, swimming, rock climbing, yoga or kick boxing.
Meditation. With all our daily responsibilities it can be hard to set aside even 10 minutes to breathe and check in with your body and your emotions. I recently watched a video that promoted taking a few deep breaths and clearing your head of all thoughts even a few times during the day. You can meditate while you walk, while you use the restroom, while you are driving. All you need to do is breathe in deeply and exhale. If you can set aside five to ten minutes during the day to quiet the thoughts in your head, you will find you are giving yourself a place to relax, to breathe and to focus on you for a few minutes.
Massage. The healing benefits of touch have been proven time and time again. Having someone give you a Swedish or Deep Tissue massage is a great way to spend an hour focusing on the needs of your body. Do you have a kink in your neck? Are your shoulders tight from stress? Do you just need a place where someone is kind to you for an hour? Massage offers all of those benefits.
Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep – 8 hours each night – can change your outlook on life. Sleep helps you process thoughts, increases creativity and productivity. In order to get a good night’s sleep create a sanctuary. A quiet place is going to be the best bet for a good night’s sleep.
When you take care of yourself, in reality you are helping take care of everyone around you. When you are happy, relaxed, well rested and well fed, those feelings spread outward. You will have more energy for those who need you most. And most importantly, you are saying that you are important enough to be taken care of, too.