Take a moment in your day to stop and pause to reflect: how many hours of the day are you contributing to self-care? Whether it’s physically intentional, or has subconsciously become a part of your daily routine, what does self-care look like in your day?
With the need for health care in a society prone to aches and pains, general aging, ailments and illness, what if we re-framed our healthcare system–or simple, daily habits–in order to prioritize more time, energy and maybe even finances: into what is going to care for our bodies and minds in the present day. What if we used self-care: for the physical and mental, as a means to address prevention against those ailments, as well as an overall better quality of life?
Not only are we seeing the decline of health as we age, but is it possible that we are accelerating that rate through the level of overdrive we put our bodies and minds into? Or potentially, we are missing signs of poor health because we seem to be “fine” rather than “well”? Are we overlooking symptoms that can be very clear red flags to declining health? Even slighter symptoms that we might see as “norms” — headaches, fatigue, back pain, or storing excess body fat?
Let’s take a look at a few ways to incorporate physical self-care that are simple and easy:
1) Just get moving. Park the car far in the lot, taking walking meetings, sign up for a fitness class, or hop on a bike. All movement is movement that your body craves and needs to stay supple, strong and in good working condition (even for the lymphatic system!)
2) Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store. Fill your cart with a majority of whole foods–lean protein, vegetables, seeds and whole grains, nuts, fruit and less processed foods. Can you imagine how long some of the boxed, processed foods have been sitting on the shelves for? Those preservatives and food additives aren’t serving our bodies well.
3) Gain more sleep! It’s easy to pass up when we all have to do lists and schedules that seem rigid and inflexible at times, or when people are relying on us. However, make small changes like placing limits on screen time, or replacing downtime on devices like television or phones with downtime relaxing in bed before an earlier bedtime.
What about our mental/emotional self-care? This one can be different for everyone, but here is a start:
1) Keep your circle close, yet open. Take a mental note of the 5 closest people in your circle. Are the supportive, loving, accepting and exchanging positive energy in your life? Do they contribute to growth, and healthy emotions and mindsets that you align with? Keep those people close, and open yourself up to them. You will be surprised as to how much this creates a feeling of security, and sense of belonging; a basic human need.
2) Slow down; sometimes less is best. We live in a fast-paced society, and many of us do CrossFit — what we know well is to move well and fast! However, we also should be able to balance out when it’s time to evaluate that more isn’t always better. Placing quality time spent on tasks, relationships and even work is going to take you further than taking on a larger quantity.
3) Learn to become okay with uncertainty. As advice from former CFDP member Joy Ocampo, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Certified Sports Psychology Consultant, she instructs her clients in understanding that the most certain thing about life is the uncertainty. As we learn to accept this as a truth, we tend to become less shaken up about big changes or life events that may be beyond our control. Gaining awareness of our ability to let go of control in our lives, can allow us to be free to the circumstances that happen to us, while also learning how to react to them.
Wouldn’t it feel good to say that 25-30 years from now, our primary health care methods mainly were and are in our hands? What are you