In today's fast-paced world, it can be so difficult to find the time to look after ourselves. While I am a huge fan of meal planning, I get that it can be a pain to do and something easily procrastinated on... if we get to doing it all!
My hubby and I have often found ourselves scarfing down whatever is convenient, or ordering pizza last minute. This is eating food to survive instead of to thrive. We find ourselves fatigued and wonder what is wrong, where does the day go? (You read that right, even a naturopathic doctor is not immune to these kind of days!)
We must learn to make a habit of making ourselves a priority. This is what self-care is all about. We need to pay attention to how we treat our bodies routinely because it is our health that gives us the quality of life we want. It is essential that in chasing after these things, we do not forget the physical biology that is helping us achieve all these things—our bodies.
Here are 6 of my best self-care strategies that never fail me, and that I aim to stick to 80% of the time:
While it is completely okay to indulge in a favorite comfort food once in a while or bake some cookies to feel all warm and fuzzy, it is important to eat what our bodies really need most of the time. Our bodies need whole, fresh, and home-made foods that include fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy proteins.
Exercise is not scary. It comes in all forms, in all varieties, in all speeds and intensities. Walking, yoga, stretching, jogging, push-ups, jumping jacks. Pack a pair of sneakers with you wherever you go, and you are sure to find more opportunities for be active than you realize. If you find yourself with five or ten minutes, don't just sit there! Dance or do something with your body to boost your mood and re-energize you, and actually have some fun instead of checking your phone. If your body is moving, your muscles are receiving fresh blood and oxygen that will rejuvenate you and release those happy endorphins.
It is imperative that you step back from your technology every once in a while. Some psychologists say that humans are not intended to efficiently process human suffering and experience at the scale that social media allows. In fact, one of the most memorable books I read during my undergraduate degree talked about just that. Try a digital detox for a weekend - take time to reconnect with people in person, practice solitude, and gain some perspective - and shut the screens off for a while!
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For something so often disregarded as irrelevant to our productivity, it's amazing to me how much what we feel has such a huge impact on it. Ask yourself - what do you need? Do you need a run? Do you need a rest? Do you need a quiet night at home, or would your emotional health benefit from a night out with friends having some fun? Your body is always communicating with you, if you can learn to hear it. If you are not making healthy choices, your body will let you know. If you are not feeling like yourself, then it's time to tune into your feelings.
The only constant in life is change and that is a good thing - otherwise, life would be awfully boring! Variety is important to your ongoing health too - it keeps you learning and adapting. Try something new for dinner, or go to a new exercise class instead of pedaling away on the stationary bike. Try a new route to work or pick up a new hobby. Just try something new to keep yourself moving forward. New experiences are like exercise for the soul.
Most things fall into place when balanced with their contrast. Whether it is work and fun, junk food and clean food, staying in bed and going out for a run, practice balance for a more enjoyable journey. While you need both, it that doesn't mean you need equal amounts of both to achieve optimal health! Finding the unique balance of contrasts that works best for you is all part of the fun!
Did this article get you thinking it's time to eat healthier? If it has, and you want to learn more about my simple approach to healthier eating, sign up for my FREE 8-Page Downloadable Crash Course On Clean Eating!
Laura Nurse, BBA, ND
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