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Self-care is much more than just a lazy Sunday afternoon with a piece of a chocolate cake and binge-watching your favorite TV show. Sometimes, self-care means skipping on that cake and picking a fruit salad instead.
To take care of yourself means to take care of your body, mind, and spirit alike. It also means managing your emotions, and rethinking your relationship with others, and setting healthy boundaries.
It may sound like practicing self-care is too much work, that it takes too much time, and that it requires a tremendous transformation on your behalf. The truth is that it is a process and a journey. It is a long journey, but one to be enjoyed – and just like all journeys, it begins with small steps you can start today.
Before you know it, the hardest obstacles will be behind you and you’ll be determined in your transformation toward a calmer, healthier, and happier version of yourself.
Here’s what you can start doing today:
Deep, healthy, restorative sleep is a treasure. Don’t try to “get more done” by waking up two hours early if you’ve stayed awake for too long during your day. There’s no such thing as borrowing from your night sleep and returning that loan in daytime naps. Nothing wrong with naps, but they are not a replacement for your night sleep. Red light therapy can help you improve your sleep and feel more energized.
Exercise sometimes feels more like a chore than self-care. Maybe you should change the type of exercise or lower the intensity. Exercising and staying active are necessary to maintain your health and to give your body what it needs.
Organizing your day is important. It will give you insight into your daily chores and tasks, but it will also show you whether you’re trying to fit more into your day than is really possible. Make sure you always have some time just to sit there and not do anything. No reading, no podcasts, no phone in your hand. Just sit there and sip your coffee. Your body and your mind need a pause from time to time to process all the input you give it throughout the day. Take a breather! It will help you feel better.
Nothing can replace the fresh air from outside with sunlight beaming down on you. Among the reasons to spend time outside are:
Sometimes, there are practical reasons why you cannot have enough outside time. While it’s not a replacement, red light therapy can help you alleviate some of the symptoms of sunlight deficiency until circumstances change.
Just like you need to care about your physical and mental health, the spiritual part of your personality should not be neglected. Depending on your persuasion and point of view, you should take some time during the day to meditate, pray, or practice mindfulness.
Your boundaries are based on what you find acceptable or unacceptable in the behavior of other people towards you. Nurturing your boundaries means that you are mindful of the self-worth that’s not fortified in the opinions of others about you. At any time of day or night, you and everybody else is entitled to:
Once you know your boundaries, it’s much easier to set them and practice them. However, don’t expect it to be easy.
Saying “no” to people and situations is not always easy, especially when it comes to a loved one. However, doing your best will bring happiness to you and to everybody else in your life in the long run.
Your day has only 24 hours and your week has only 7 days. Every hour or a single day you spend in the company of people that influence you negatively is an hour taken away from spending quality time with your dear friends and family. Your friends influence your choices, willpower, and even your longevity.
The way you choose your friends says a lot about what you want for yourself and how much you appreciate yourself.
Self-care involves stress relief and stress relief is a vital element of self-care. If you do your best to manage stress and cope with it in a healthy way, you are signaling to yourself that you are worthy of feeling better and that you are prepared to be gentle with yourself.
On the other hand, self-care techniques equip you with more resilience to stress and its negative effects. Not all stress relief methods work for everybody. That’s why you should explore available techniques and pick the ones that you feel can help you.
You don’t have to make this about your work. It can be a new language, cooking or pottery classes, a new book club – anything that will stimulate you intellectually or allow you to learn. In this way, you will satisfy the part of you that craves a sense of accomplishment and growth.
The way you talk to yourself says volumes about how you feel about yourself. Negative self-talk is one of the first things you should eliminate if you want to be gentle toward yourself and grow your sense of self-worth and confidence.
One of the first steps toward emotional wellbeing is understanding your emotions. The best way to do that is to express them by writing them down. Journaling can help you deal with depression, deal with overwhelming emotion, and give yourself the attention you deserve.
If you have trouble asking for help because you feel it’s a sign of weakness, try to remember that it is rather a sign of confidence and strength. Also, don’t you feel amazing when you are in a position to help somebody? Others feel that, as well. Allow the people you love and trust to help you. In that way, you are allowing them to feel useful to you, while at the same time, you are taking some load off your shoulders.
Harmful habits are self-destructive and are quite the opposite of good self-care practices. Overeating, smoking, any sort of addictive behavior, even nail-biting! Take it as slow as you like, but do your best to eliminate these, even if it means reaching out to a support group or a professional.
Harming yourself in any way, especially in exchange for a short-term benefit is not the way you want to treat yourself. If you want to learn more about good strategies for breaking bad habits, read this article from dr. Jud Brewer.
You should not obsess over your weight and your measurements. You should, however, have a good and healthy diet. Balanced meals with high-quality ingredients are important regardless of your diet choice. It’s true for intermittent fasting, paleo, keto, or your usual 5-meals-a-day plan.
This doesn’t involve diets for the purpose of slimming down – it is more about giving your body all the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning. Don’t forget to make your meals visually appealing, as well. Whip out the good china and make it look delicious. Enjoy it.
Some people choose to use supplements to ensure they have the best possible nutrition. However, it’s all in vain if your gut health is not good. If your microbiota doesn’t work well, you will not be able to utilize all the “good stuff” from your food and supplements.
One of the effective ways to maintain a healthy gut is to have regular red light therapy sessions and keep that microbiota happy.
Taking care of your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs is the basis of self-care. Accepting that you are not perfect and that you don’t have to be while doing your best to meet these needs is all you should do. Sometimes, it’s good to get a little help in the form of a boost of energy that helps your mind and your body. Your own portable red light therapy device will ensure you get that energy boost whenever you need it.