You are your own best advocate. That means that if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will. Most people today are run ragged by responsibilities from work, family, school, and more, so they don’t take the time to care for themselves. But it’s an important part of your life that should always be included in your day, even if it’s just a few minutes.
If you’re in addiction recovery, you have to take time to care for yourself to ensure a healthy and long-lasting recovery. Try some new approaches to your mental health care, such as meditation, journaling, or yoga. Take up a new hobby to occupy your mind and hands. These are all ways that help you focus on yourself, even if it’s just long enough to help you recharge for the day.
The following are some ways to get the self-care you need.
- Get enough sleep. When people are busy, sleep is often the first thing to get cut out of their lives. Sleep helps your brain prepare itself for the next day by getting your neural pathways lined up correctly. A lack of sleep can have major consequences and cause an inability to make decisions, poor driving, depression, hormone imbalance, obesity, slowed growth, and poor immunity. If you are having trouble getting enough sleep, try making a point of going to bed early, shutting off electronics, and making your bedroom more conducive to sleep. If you’re still having problems, talk to your doctor about solutions.
- Relax. Easier said than done, right? We know. While we’d all like to spend our weekends at a spa getting facials and massages, it’s not always possible. But relaxation is important for your body. Take a few relaxation breaks throughout the day to get yourself calmed down. Learn to meditate, practice deep-breathing exercises, picture your “happy place,” take a snack break or a walk around the block.
- Reduce stress. The American Institute of Stress says that stress can cause depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and immune system issues. Those immune disturbances can make you more susceptible to infections, many viral-linked disorders, some cancers, autoimmune disease, and even multiple sclerosis. That’s a long list of bad things, so reducing stress is vital to your health and wellness. Ways to reduce stress include relaxation, conflict resolution, self-awareness, reducing clutter, eating better, and getting more exercise.
- Learn to say “no.” Most of us have a fear of being disliked. When someone asks us to do something, we always want to say, “Sure! I’d be glad to!” But that can add to our stress and frustration levels, making us feel angry, tired, and even burned out. Work on your responses so that when the time comes, you can easily say no. Remember that saying no is only rejecting the request, not the person, so it won’t ruin your relationships. Be honest with yourself about your needs and don’t let anxiety take over. Again, you are responsible for your life, not the other person’s. You have to be ready to say no sometimes.
Taking care of yourself has to be a priority. Ignoring these self-care strategies may be OK once in a while, but they add up over time and can seriously impact your physical and mental health. Turn your home and office into your own sanctuary that helps you succeed at self-care instead of a place that distracts from it. Remind yourself that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the ability to take care of others. Let the peace into your life!