Chances are you’ve heard of “self-care” before, but have you ever thought about what it really means? The definition of self-care is the practice of taking care of our minds, bodies, and souls by engaging in activities that will reduce stress and promote well-being. Self-care will look different for everyone, but one thing that is true across the board is that it’s a necessity. The problem? Self-care is generally neglected in our everyday lives. Between work, family, friends, and a myriad of other responsibilities, our own well-being tends to be put on the back-burner. But living like that isn’t sustainable. We can’t help others if we aren’t helping ourselves.
September is Self-Care Awareness Month and in honor of that, we’ve rounded up some blogs from the Neighborhood that can help you in your practice of self-care.
Get and Stay Active
In our blog from May of 2020, Physical Activity for Mental Health While Staying Home, we highlight reasons staying physically active is good for mental health. We also give tips on ways to stay active from your home. Originally written as a resource to help people stay active and healthy during the COVID-19 lockdown, the message holds true today.
Exercise releases endorphins which help to minimize stress and promote happiness. It can also increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for things like emotion, learning, and memory. And of course, exercise helps keep us physically fit. Getting active is a great way to practice self-care and stay mentally and physically sharp.
Careful What You Eat…And Drink
We all have our favorite comfort food. You know the one. You can almost smell it right now. That one dish that can make even the worst day better. And let’s not forget that glass of wine (or beer/cocktail) you’ve been waiting for all day. Sometimes there’s nothing better than just indulging in that food or drink you want most. While this can be a type of self-care, it can also be a slippery slope. In a blog from July of 2020 we talk about the dangers of stress-eating and drinking and how it can affect your health in the long run. Comfort foods and drinks are great, but in the interest of self-care, remember that moderation is key.
Try New Hobbies
Hobbies are awesome ways to practice self-care. Doing something you love just because you want to creates joy in your life. If you’re looking for a new hobby, consider gardening. In June of 2021, we talked about the benefits of gardening on the mind and body. This hobby is a great way to get active AND sprinkle your diet with delicious, healthy foods you grew yourself! So what are you waiting for? Grab a shovel and get to planting.
See The Doctor
Mental health is a vital part of self-care, but so is physical health. When was the last time you saw a doctor? Scheduling regular check-ups are important for both men and women of all ages. In addition to staying on top of your health, it can provide you with peace of mind. When you know where you stand with your physical health, you eliminate a lot of worries, wonder, and stress.
Listen To Your Body and Mind
With fall and winter approaching, it’s important to be aware of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a type of depression brought on by the cooler weather and shorter days of fall and winter. This disorder is thought to be triggered by low levels of serotonin and disruption of melatonin in our bodies. Practicing self-care can help stave off these symptoms. It can also make you more aware of what’s happening in your mind and body. Awareness is one of the first steps to treatment. Check out our SAD blog from last year for more information about seasonal affective disorder and how to combat it.
Make The Time
Self-care isn’t selfish, no matter how much it might feel that way. Taking time to focus on your own wellbeing helps to create a full, vibrant, and meaningful life. Remember, you can’t fill another person’s cup if yours is always empty.