A Prescription to Rest Transcript
We all want to stay healthy, happy, and resilient. So, how can we do this? Health and happiness require checking in with yourself to assess your needs. Think: “Am I eating well? Exercising? Stressed? Needing to say ‘no’ to some things?”. Stay tuned for a prescription to REST.
Why do we fail to take care of ourselves? Haven’t we learned our limits by now? Our lives are impossibly busy. We balance jobs, family, and never-ending daily agendas. But self-care shouldn’t feel like a burdening To-Do list item. It’s a GIFT to yourself and helps you love those around you better. And it doesn’t take a lot of time! Here are 12 tips to beginning your journey of practicing self-care:
- Sleep well. Your nightly routine can train your body to know it is time for bed. Being aware of what you consume close to bedtime is important. Sugar, caffeine and distractions like television tend to keep you awake. Checking your email may also awaken stress and a work-mode mindset that can make it hard to fall asleep.
- Heal your gut. While this includes eating healthy, it is even more. This is being aware of your body’s reaction to certain foods. Stomach aches, digestive troubles, fatigue, brain fog, skin issues, headaches, emotional issues, weight changes, and food intolerance are all examples of gut health issues. There are many important elements to this process but knowing your food triggers is a great place to start.
- Exercise daily. We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but exercise has physical and mental benefits. It boosts mood, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps you gain muscle and strength. Exercise doesn’t have to take place at the gym. You can go for a walk while listening to a podcast, dance to your favorite playlist, play tennis with a friend, or practice yoga.
- Eat a clean nourishing diet. The food we eat controls our weight, can cause or prevent disease, and can keep our minds active. The right foods can even prevent memory loss and inflammation which have long term effects on the body. Some of the best foods to eat are fatty fish, blueberries, walnuts, pistachio nuts, green leafy vegetables, and broccoli. Hydration is equally important for your body and brain!
- Learn to say “NO”. In order for you to function at your peak in your job, with your family, or just in your own mental space, you have to be calm and rested. You cannot be your best self if you continue to say “yes” when your plate is too full. You will be irritably working out of stress or obligation and likely find yourself burnt out. Learn how to say “no” politely but firmly and with conviction, and keep practicing until it comes more naturally.
- Take a trip. Even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed, getting away can provide space to disconnect, relax, and reset. This doesn’t have to be far or costly. You can visit a friend, explore a nearby town, or go camping. The goal is to get out of your normal routine and do something that sounds fun to you.
- Go outside. Being outdoors can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, reduce fatigue, and overcome symptoms of depression and burnout. It also helps you sleep better, especially if you do something active such as hiking, walking, or gardening. Nature is one of best resources for healing. Listen to the birds, notice the trees, feel the wind, and appreciate the changes in the weather.
- Spend time with a pet. From companionship to unconditional love, pets bring huge benefit to our lives. Dogs, cats, and horses especially can reduce anxiety, stress, and lower blood pressure. Often, pets are empathetic to our moods and can tell when we are not feeling well. They are called our ‘best friend’ for a reason!
- Prioritize getting organized. Declutter the things in your mind by writing them in a planner or calendar. Keep a running grocery list or to do list so you never again have to stress about what you may be forgetting. (Just don’t forget the list!). Another quick organizational habit is to prepare keys, purses, backpacks, briefcases, and coats to be ready to go for the next morning. This gives your mind more room to be creative!
- Prepare your own meals. Make this an event. Cook. Fast food and pre-made meals lack sufficient nutrients and are often more calorie-dense than fresh meals made at home. Even if it’s once a week, try cooking a healthy meal. The recent rise in meal kits and meal delivery services may help you get started.
- Read a book on self-care. Instead of scrolling a news feed for entertainment, try reading a self-help or self-care book. This can help you slow down, improve your mood, and help you be mindful and present where you are. Listen to a podcast on resilience, self-care, and the science of self-care practices.
- Schedule daily self-care time like an important appointment. You wouldn’t cancel breakfast with your favorite author, would you? Then why are we so quick to sweep our self-care aside? Self-care can help you stay grounded and keep goals at the fore-front of your mind. Start small. Wake up 15 minutes early to have a cup of delicious herbal or green tea and practice deep breathing. Or take a walk around the block on your lunch break. The more you practice incorporating self-care into your schedule, the better you can grow and prioritize the things most important to you. Aim to take 5 minutes 5 times a day to practice self-care. 5 X 5. It’s like rebooting your brain for better health and performance.
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Sheldon, K. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1999). Goal striving, need satisfaction, and longitudinal well-being: the self-concordance model. Journal of personality and social psychology, 76(3), 482.