When you think of self-care, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you probably think of diet, exercise, and caring for your physical health. Caring for your body is essential. After all, self-care improves your prognosis for a wide range of conditions, from heart failure to diabetes.
However, there’s more to self-care than just boosting your physical health. To truly take good care of yourself, you need to prioritize total body health. That includes your mental and emotional well-being, along with your physical body.
Here are some of the hidden benefits of self-care, and ideas for how to make time for yourself:
When it comes to prioritizing healthcare, most people focus on physical health. However, mental and emotional health are equally important. As Time Magazine recently reported, “Mental illness can fuel physical disease.” Scientists are beginning to realize that psychological conditions like anxiety and depression might increase your likelihood of developing chronic physical issues, ranging from chronic pain to stroke and autoimmune disorders.
Here are some basic, yet often-overlooked, ways you can boost your mental health from the comfort of your own home:
Get enough sleep. Do you have insomnia or struggle to fall asleep? Try following along with a yoga nidra or meditation video on YouTube to help guide you into slumber.
Relax. If you’ve felt stressed lately, consider taking a weekend stay cation, attending a mindfulness retreat, or practicing relaxation techniques to help ease your mind.
Keep your mind active. Picking up a new hobby or learning a skill does more than occupy your mind. It also increases neuroplasticity, helping protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Say no. When you feel overwhelmed, try practicing healthy boundaries. Saying no rather than over committing helps you reduce stress and maintain productivity.
To help regulate mental and emotional health, many people use alternative healing methodologies like yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. Although these services can help ease the mind and prevent mental health issues, insurance plans typically don’t cover treatments.
Like mental health, many people also overlook the importance of oral hygiene. According to Mayo Clinic, dental health impacts cardiovascular function, your immune system, and even your mental wellness. Because depression and Alzheimer’s are linked to dental health, keeping your mouth healthy is a vital part of self-care.
If you haven't been to the dentist lately, find one that fits your needs and can help you keep your teeth healthy. Ask trusted friends for recommendations, or use online resources to connect you with a local dentist. Be sure to read patient reviews and ratings before scheduling your appointment.
Total Body Health
When doctors can’t pinpoint an underlying condition, they often resort to just treating your symptoms with medication. Unfortunately, just because your doctor prescribes a medicine doesn’t mean it’s safe. Some pills cause harmful side effects or are addictive. Luckily, you don’t have to become dependent upon prescription medication to find relief.
By incorporating the lifestyle changes mentioned here, you can continue managing your health while living a life you love. Reducing your stress and anxiety levels helps you better manage your physical health.
Millions of people find it challenging to make time for themselves, which is why it’s all the more important to prioritize self-care. Although it may seem difficult at first, taking care of yourself can lead to profound improvements in your physical, mental, and emotional well being.
By spending some time caring for your own needs, you’ll understand your limitations so you can set more reasonable goals. When self-care becomes part of your lifestyle, you’ll be able to sustain your health for years to come.
About the Author, Brad Krause
After spending years in a corporate setting and far too long neglecting his own self-care, Brad followed his calling and became a full-time life coach. He spends just about every waking hour helping people find ways to put their wellness above all else.