The struggle is real. To maintain your energy and balance self care with work, family, friends, life! Maybe that seems a bit dramatic. But when I take care of myself I feel like I can conquer the world. When I don’t, everything and everybody suffers – especially me. Self care is
Maybe you struggle with sleep (quality and quantity), eating (the right foods at the right time), exercise (finding the time and energy); know you’re not alone. And sleep is the MOST important. Self care is so much more than a pedicure and a massage, but you need those too.
Taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is a must. Anything less and you simply won’t be able to do all that you do.
Here are easy, all natural and budget friendly tips to include in your daily life for immediate results.
Plenty of sleep
Sleep takes priority over everything else: yoga, meditation, time at the gym, time out with friends or Netflix binge watching. A good night’s sleep is crucial to maintaining mental, physical and emotional health. If you're trying to lose or maintain your weight you must get enough sleep. When you get the rest you need, your body repairs itself and your brain processes memories and learning. Research has shown that quantity and quality of sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health.
Go to sleep and get up at the same time. Getting off of your routine, can make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Turn off all electronics several hours before bed. If that’s not an option, choose the blue screen on your device. Turn OFF or silence your devices when you turn off the lights.
Try breathing, meditation or Yoga Nidra before bed. There’s an app for that! Your body and mind need the chance to wind down, if your nervous system is on high alert, you will be too. Check Google Play or ITunes for what’s available.
Avoid caffeine after early afternoon. You may believe caffeine doesn’t affect you, but once you limit the amount and the timing, your ability to fall and stay asleep improves.
Your body make wake you up in the middle of the night because you’re hungry, especially if you’re a light eater or eat frequent small meals. Try peanut or almond butter before bed.
Avoid over eating. When your stomach is having to work hard to digest your food, you’ll have trouble getting restful sleep. A good rule of thumb is to leave 25% room for digestion, 25% for liquid, so that means you are not eating to be completely stuffed.
If you wake up in the middle of the night – DON’T get up and start doing something. You will signal to your body that this is the new routine. Stay in bed! Meditate, listen to soothing music or even pretend to sleep.
Keep Your Digestive System Healthy
A healthy digestive system is the basis for a strong immune system and lots of energy. Digestive issues usually indicate you aren’t eating the right foods for you. You can try an elimination diet to determine what food is causing digestive distress.
Remember eating hot food will make you hot and eating cold food will make you cold.
Room Temperature Water – Ice water slows down your digestive system by constricting the blood flow to your digestive tract. When your digestive system is sluggish, you feel sluggish and lack energy. Drink plenty of water, herbal tea and other non-caffeinated drinks to keep your digestive system hydrated and to avoid constipation.
Whole Foods – Our bodies don’t run well on processed food. If you feel lethargic, what you’re putting in your body for fuel isn’t working. Replace processed foods with fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy fats.
Mindful Eating – Take time to eat your meal without the distraction of your phone, eating slowly and being aware of every bite.
Ginger Tea – I make my own and save it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. In the winter I have it warm, in the summer I drink it at room temperature or chilled (with a little bit of club soda for a ginger ale type drink).
Emotional and Mental Health
Let’s face it, life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, we all experience dark days. If you’re having more dark days than light, know help is available.
Find a Professional – For the truly bleak times in your life, consult a professional therapist.
Journaling – I firmly believe in writing down your thoughts as a tool to process emotions. I usually journal several times a week. I love looking back at my journals to see how far I’ve come.
Gratitude Practice – Gratitude for small things and big things will help you survive when life is challenging. Gratitude allows you to focus on the good, which in itself is healing. A gratitude practice is anything from keeping a gratitude journal to making a mental list before bed to sharing gratitude with friends or family members.
Meditation – Meditation is any mindfulness practice. It can be as simple as sitting in stillness or taking a walk. Several times per week is ideal, but do what works best for your schedule. Don’t let yourself get hung up on having your mind be perfectly clear during meditation. Letting the random thoughts go is part of the process. Here’s a guided meditation and tips for starting your own meditation practice.
Physical Activity – Yoga, walking, bicycling – any activity that gets the blood flowing and increases your heart rate is ideal. Take the stairs at work or park in the furthest parking place and walk. Science shows exercise increases the “feel good” brain chemicals and helps manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Start with what you can do and build up from there.
Time in Nature – Nature is healing, the colors, the smells, the sounds. Immerse yourself in a bath of nature by walking through the park or simply spending time in your back yard.
Other Wellness Habits
Organic coconut oil is readily available and can do so much for the issues we struggle with after 40. Refined takes out the coconut taste, while unrefined has coconut flavor.
Oil Pulling with Organic Coconut Oil – I practice this every night while watching Netflix. Take a spoonful of oil and swish for 20 minutes. I love this because it detoxifies my mouth, keeps my gums healthy and my teeth white. You can also add a little bit of essential oil if you’d like. Make sure to spit it out in the trash and not the sink.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture opens up the energy channels in your body and reduces inflammation to keep your immune system strong. You can use it to manage chronic pain, allergies, mental health and so much more.
Indulge – Dark chocolate, a glass of wine, a Netflix binge, a good book or whatever you enjoy. Indulge when you need it. Indulging allows us to press the reset button. Know that time on social media is not indulging. It’s a distraction – from responsibility, fear, living.
Take Time Away – Away from reality. Solo or with your best girlfriends. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to change your perspective and in turn, your life.
And of course, use sunscreen, be good to your knees and kind to others and yourself!
Navigating life and staying healthy can feel impossible. By tweaking your routine, you can meet the challenge head on. Incorporate one new habit at a time and watch the magic happen. If you stop and start, no worries, start again.