It’s a new year and for many of us it’s an opportunity to reflect and set new personal goals. As we think about how we can be better at work, be a more engaged parent or get better grades at school, it is also important to think about taking care of oneself emotionally, spiritually and physically. We give so much of ourselves each day that we often forget the importance of replenishing our emotional, spiritual and physical cup.
What is Self-Care?
Practicing what is known as self-care can help you recharge and stay well by keeping you physically active, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping you maintain a positive outlook. The first step to self-care is making time for yourself no matter how busy your schedule. Even five minutes of prayer, exercise, reading or listening to music can make a difference.
“Practicing self-care helps people stay healthy by strengthening immunity and reducing the risk of emotional issues such as stress, depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Marissa Leslie, psychiatrist at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Services.
Helpful Self-Care Practices
What each person does to maintain personal wellness will vary. Here are some examples:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables and water
- Find a hobby that you enjoy and make time for it
- Get at least 15 minutes of daylight every day
Good Mental Habits
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, self-care can also include practicing the following good mental habits:
- Recognize the positive moments in your day. This helps keep your mood positive and balanced.
- Rely on your emotional and social network for support when needed. Your network can include family members, friends, co-workers, clergy or neighbors.
- Avoid guilt for experiencing negative emotions. Allowing yourself to notice and understand your feelings without judging them as good or bad will help you decrease stress and feel more in control.