Taking care of yourself is necessary for a long and happy life. But how can you integrate self-care into your daily routine?
If you're like most Americans, you probably experience some level of chronic stress. The American Psychological Association's (APA) 2017 Stress in America report found stress levels are at an all-time high since the report debuted in 2007, with 20 percent of people saying they experience extreme stress. More than a third of Americans say that lowering stress levels in the next few years is a priority for them. It's an admirable and healthy goal. High stress levels contribute to everything from heart disease and depression, to fatigue and sleep disorders, reports Medical Daily.
A crucial way to lower your stress levels is to practice self-care. While your to-do list may be a mile long, taking time to focus on doing things that you love and that enhance your mood is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can integrate self-love into your daily routine and live a life with less stress.
Balance Your Diet
Eating a nutritious diet that provides an ideal daily intake of vitamins and minerals enhances energy to keep you performing at your best at work and beyond. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports obesity contributes to increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, mental illness and more.
Don't just eat food that's available on the go. Be mindful of the ingredients you're ingesting. You can devote time to preparing healthy meals at the beginning of the week in your kitchen, and freeze nutritious, appropriately portioned meals for good grab-and-go options. Steer clear of saturated fats, high-calorie items, and processed products. Aim to incorporate fresh fruits or veggies in every meal. Chew thoughtfully, and don't rush eating. Stop eating when you feel full, and seek to foster a mindset that views food as fuel, not as entertainment or something to placate emotions.
Work your body
After a busy day of work, the couch and TV remote may seem like your best friends if you feel low-energy. Making time to exercise energizes you, rather than depletes you, though. The Mayo Clinic reports that as you exercise, your cardiovascular system works more efficiently, which gives you more energy. Exercise also boosts moods after only five minutes, plus prevents anxiety and combats depression, according to the APA.
Integrating exercise into a daily routine can be as simple as taking regular 10-minute breaks at work to walk around, or doing some sit-ups while you're watching TV at home. The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercise a week, plus two days of muscle-strengthening activities. If you haven't yet embraced the multitude of benefits exercise provides, keep in mind that the National Cancer Institute found regular exercise increases life spans by 4.5 years. Commit to working out, and look forward to those endorphins kicking in within just a few minutes to keep you motivated and happy throughout your session.
Poor self-esteem has an adverse impact on stress levels, social interactions, and daily mood, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health. Engaging in beauty rituals, whether you take the time to draw an indulgent bath or always make sure your lashes look long and healthy, can help you to appreciate and value your physical characteristics, which boosts your internal state of mind. The Mental Health American Association confirms the link between good hygiene and your self-view.
Using beauty products with essential oils also provides compelling benefits through scent. For example, one study by the British Psychological Society found rosemary can improve memory in adults. Using oils in the shower or bath, or in lotions or other beauty products, can give you a mental boost when you smell them. Experiment with different types to find the products that speak to you.
Lashes by Lash Affair Trainer Allie Williams
Put Yourself first
While participating in self-care acts may make you feel like you're neglecting other people or tasks, taking time to dedicate to your health and well-being makes you more empowered to perform at a higher level in other aspects of your life. If you have people who look up to you, like older children, you'll also be setting a great example that self-care is a vital part of being happy and healthy.
From taking time to meditate, to whipping up an organic, nutrient-packed dessert to enjoy as a treat, engaging in healthy behaviors that also make you feel fabulous can help you live a longer and more vibrant life.