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July 15, 2021 • read
Prioritizing self-care for your overall wellness
Self-care isn’t indulgent, and it doesn’t have to be decadent. In fact, small daily actions that are easy to maintain often do the most good. At its core, self-care is everything you do to promote and maintain your own health, without the help of a healthcare worker. This leaves a lot of room for options, but some things give you more bang for your buck than others. Here’s how to prioritize self-care to maintain your overall wellness.
Schedule time with yourself regularly
You don’t have to book a week-long escape at a wellness retreat to benefit from self-care. Regularly carving out a few minutes each day for alone time can do the trick. Whether you spend that time exercising, meditating, or rearranging your closet is up to you. There’s no need for anything elaborate, so don’t worry about giving yourself a facial or making yourself organic, fresh-pressed juice — unless you want to. If you decide to use that time to nap, that’s perfectly acceptable. The point is to do something just for you, free from outside obligations.
Don’t neglect your dental hygiene
Brushing your teeth without flossing is like showering without washing your armpits. Yes, you’ll be done faster, but you’ll have missed a crucial step. If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning about one third of your tooth’s surface. Poor oral hygiene affects more than just your mouth — researchers think that periodontal disease might be linked to arthritis. Also, while it’s unclear exactly why, patients with poor oral hygiene are also more likely to have heart issues than those without, so don’t forget to brush, floss, and go easy on the sugar.
Coffee isn’t a food group. Expecting to get through your day on takeout muffins and limitless cups of coffee is a recipe for burnout — and ill health. If making three meals a day from scratch isn’t realistic, explore other options like batch cooking, or rotating meal duty with your partner or roommates. Your local grocery store likely has some prepared foods as well. If you’re able to shell out a little more, you might want to try one of the countless meal delivery services out there. Don’t scrimp on the water either — make sure you’re taking in enough fluids to keep your pee clear or light yellow. Fueling your body should be deliberate, not an afterthought.
If you’ve been hunched over your computer like a work-at-home ghoul for the past year, you’re not alone! But all that additional productivity comes with a cost. Fresh air and greenery are essential components of a healthy lifestyle, and sitting hunched over a keyboard all day leaves you wanting for both. Spending time in nature is scientifically proven to make you feel better. It can help with everything from lowering rates of depression and anxiety, to improving your working memory and overall happiness. Prioritize your self-care by getting out there.
Invest in yourself
The past few months have been a time of major upheaval — even more so if you’ve experienced a job loss, serious illness, or are mourning a loved one. Take some time to think about the implications of any recent changes in your life. If finances or the need for a career upgrade have you stressing, make time to sit down with a professional to explore your options. A financial planner, a career counsellor, or a grief counsellor can make all the difference depending on the support you need. If you find you’re really struggling, it’s worth bringing in an outside perspective. They might be able to show you options you haven’t seen yet.
Make time for socializing
Whether you’ve gotten both your jabs or not, seeing loved ones is a must. Zoom and other communication technologies are great, but as long as you’re following public health guidelines, in-person is the best. Seeing your friends and families in real life might feel weird or disorienting at first, so take it slow and check in with those around you. Ask them which activities they’re comfortable with, and don’t be afraid to make your boundaries clear. Everyone’s a little rusty, so don’t be surprised if socializing takes some getting used to.
Prioritizing self-care is a must. People lead busy lives, and it’s easy to ignore your own health, but you do so at your own peril. Not making time for your own needs can lead to chronic stress and all its ills, including mental health and heart issues. There are limits to self-care, however, so it’s crucial to continue seeing medical professionals as well. Scheduling a general health assessment allows a healthcare provider to understand any personal risk factors and to help guide you towards a healthier lifestyle. Don’t scrimp on self-care, but make sure to supplement it with medical care when you need it.