By: Michaela Caton RD, LDN
In the midst of the holiday season, while you are focused on your busy schedule, you may forget to focus on you! Unfortunately, food and health are topics are often dropped to the end of your list when you are busy or stressed. When one takes care of their own needs, they can be at their best and tackle life’s challenges with ease. Those who routinely engage in self-care activities have improved mental and physical health and manage stress more effectively. Self-care doesn’t have to be limited to one day out of the week, here are 7 tips to include self-care into your daily routine.
- Take time to prepare for bed and get enough sleep. Try to end the night with some light reading, journaling or stretching. Getting adequate sleep increases focus, strengthens memory, helps in managing life stressors, allows skin and blood vessel repair and decrease hunger and sugar cravings.
- Be conscious of your meals and snacks. Don’t skip meals or snacks when you are pressed for time. Try not to multitask while eating so you can enjoy all the flavors of your food. Making time to eat proportionate meals and snacks helps improve longevity and energy. Try to achieve this by planning and packing your meals ahead of time.
- Make time to relax every day, even if it is for 10 minutes. Stretch your body, take a cleansing breath, take a hot bath, engage in guided imagery, journal or listen to soothing music. Relaxing will help you manage your stress in a positive way.
- Recognize when you are getting sick and take full measures to ensure you will recover. When you start to feel a sore throat or a cold coming, increase your fluid intake, avoid dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy and sugary foods. Try eating soft foods such as yogurt or scrambled eggs or try adding one tsp. of honey to lukewarm peppermint and green tea.
- Increase your social support. Spending time with people you enjoy can improve your self-esteem, sense of autonomy, and help you cope with your problems on your own. Seek out social support from friends, family, co-workers, and members in the community.
- Don’t overcommit yourself. Maintain a manageable schedule between work or school, relationships, social life and extracurriculars. Taking on more than you can handle can lead to unhealthy and avoidable stress. Do things that make you happy, put your needs before others sometimes and don’t feel selfish for it.
- Make time to exercise. Taking time to exercise can elevate your mood, decrease stress and anxiety, promote bone growth, strengthen lungs and improve capacity, boost immune function and improve quality of sleep. Exercise can range from walking around the block to taking a fitness class. Consider working out with a friend to stay motivated. Check out our challenge on Holiday Hustle to learn more on increasing physical activity into your daily routine this time of year.
Challenge: Practice self-care this holiday season! Commit to one of the 7 tips each day this week. Tip: It may be helpful to track your progress on paper or with a picture and share with your provider at your next visit to stay on track with meeting your holiday health goals.
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