Beyond Food and Exercise: Self-care Steps for a Healthy You

There are many ways to practical practical self-care beyond food and exercise

When the topic of self-care is talked about, many people roll their eyes because who has time for a cucumber facial or a $100 massage? When it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes, most of us think that eating right and exercising a few days a week will be enough.

Expanding Our Definition of Self-care

Spoiler alert: it’s probably not enough. Rigorous daily routines keep us on-the-go 24/7, often sacrificing our well-being for our next paycheck or our pointless journey to perfection. As a result, we’re almost always left feeling drained, fatigued, moody, frustrated and sometimes empty.

When you’re driving a gar on little gasoline, you’re running a great risk. The same can be said for attempting to manage your weight. How can you reach and sustain your goal weight if you’re strapped thin? Healthy food and physical activity might not do the complete trick.

That’s where self-care comes in. Let’s bring it back to its simplest definition. Self-care is recognizing that as a human being, you need more — more attention to all the little details of your life that work collectively to bring you balance, peace, happiness and health.

Self-care Steps You Might be Missing

Long hours spent at work. Countless afternoons running the kids to soccer practice. Home maintenance and renovation projects. Grocery shopping and caring for loved ones. No matter what your “normal” looks like, are you remembering to cultivate your well-being?

Your health is like a garden that needs tending. Beyond the stereotypical “eat less, eat better and exercise more,” make sure you’re doing at least some of the following self-care activities:

Prioritizing Sleep

If you can swing it, go to bed “early” and get in the habit of making it a routine. Aim for at least seven hours each night and make your bedroom space a place for rest. If you’re feeling run down midday, don’t feel bad about taking a short nap. Sleep is fuel, and you need fuel to function.

Allowing for a Social Life

As human beings, even in the chaos of life, we all need socialization. Go out for coffee with a friend every once in a while. Visit a close family member on the weekends. Set aside one night a month for a date night out in public. Among the right people, company can recharge you.

Making Time for a Hobby You Enjoy

All work, with no play or passion, will drain you of your life force. Whether your hobby is gardening, building things, reading books, fixing cars, golfing, scrap booking or fishing, set aside “you time” to do something you truly enjoy and take a load off.

Doing Nothing Once in a While

You don’t have to be productive every moment of every day. Once in a while, make it a point to do nothing at all. Watch your favorite movie or television show. Lay in bed curled up with a book. Cook a meal you’ve been curious to try. Free yourself of commitments, if only for a few moments.

A Few Other Misc. Self-care Steps:
  • Take a walk to ward-off stress and get a change in scenery.
  • Try something as simple as a new shampoo or conditioner.
  • Cook for yourself more often vs buying frozen food or eating out.
  • Draw a sharp, thick line between work life and home life.
  • Take a vacation day if you have some stored up.
  • Spend quality time with your pet without distractions.
  • Visit your healthcare provider(s) regularly.

Remember that humans aren’t meant to “go, go, go” until we can’t go anymore. That old mantra “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is not only dangerous, but ironically counterproductive. You are deserving of self-love, self-care, and even “selfish” moments. When you make self-care a habit, it’s sure to reflect in your weight and health. It’s a part of the total treatment continuum.

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