Updated: Jan 4
It is an understatement to say that we live a busy life. Some folks are on the go from the minute they wake up to the last breath before bed. Responsibilities never stop demanding time and energy. Whether it is work, school, kids, cleaning, cooking, or even scheduled time with friends and family, there is a constant current moving us through life.
The problem is when we lose track of ourselves along the way. Moms can't adequately take care of their kids if they are tired and ill. Jobs are hard enough without being sick, tired, and loss of brainpower. You see, the energy that takes us through our day comes from the nourishment we give our bodies. When we are too busy to provide for ourselves, the rest of our world will eventually suffer the consequences.
In the beginning, it could just be the feeling of tiredness and grogginess. How many people are guilty of overlooking these feelings? I get it; sometimes we have to. I'm just as guilty. But if it goes on too long, tired and groggy turns into a state of dis-ease. Dis-ease is a broad term that can cover pretty much anything from blood pressure to adrenal fatigue. The results may vary based on the person, but the equation is the same. A fast-paced lifestyle plus neglect of self-care equals someone is going to feel bad in the end.
Self-care doesn't have to be overly complicated. Most people hear the term and start visualizing candles, bubbles, and cucumbers on the eyes. Self-care means feeding the vessel (your body) the proper fuel (nutrients) to survive. Self-care means getting to bed an hour earlier because you know that extra hour makes you function better. Self-care means taking 5 minutes out of your morning routine to take that omega-3 supplement because you know you will not be eating salmon or sardines this week.
Of all of the recommendations I have given to people, there are three that I follow every day or every week that enable me to stay balanced and healthy. Preventing dis-ease is the game, and by starting with these three self-care tips, you can begin your journey back to balance.
1. Stay hydrated
Water is critical for life. Period. The human body is 75% water, so we are essentially like cucumbers with feelings. We lose water every day through sweating, respiration, and excretion. The only way to re-hydrate from that loss is through the food we eat and the water we drink. The theory has it that we would die three days without water, but some folks never drink plain water a day of their life! They merely consume trace amounts through food and other beverages, like soda.
Any degree of dehydration can begin to harm the body, ranging from blood pressure to weight gain or even cognitive functioning (Popkin et al., 2010). Yes, hydration can play a role in how well you think! That is how important water is to our health and wellness. Dry skin, constipation, and migraines can be just a few dehydration signs, but the list goes on. I can not emphasize enough how important it is to drink water.
2. Meal prep
Every week, I take the time to plan my meals based on my schedule and needs. I am a busy person, and if I didn't meal prep, I would have to eat fast food all the time. Meal prepping doesn't seem like a form of self-care, but it is if you consider the alternative. The ultimate form of self-care is feeding our body wholesome nutrients from real food. When you spend the time on meal prepping, you spend the time nourishing yourself. Check out my last entry, 3 Reasons to Meal Prep , for more about how meal prepping is beneficial.
3. Take 30-60 minutes of uncommitted time to yourself daily
Uncommitted time means time spent focusing on nothing but relaxation - not cooking dinner, not washing clothes, not scrolling through Facebook. The goal is to unplug and unwind. Although some people categorize TV or Facebook as a means of relaxation, they can promote stress based on the content and blue light exposure (Figueiro and Rea, 2010).
Taking time to unplug allows us to rest and has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Simply sit still and empty thoughts and worry from your mind. Pick up your favorite book and read a chapter. Grab your journal and write down anything that you need to let go of for the day. These are all great ways to unwind.
Self-care comes in many different shapes and sizes. It all comes back down to taking the time to promote wellness and better yourself as a person. The constant pressure of everyday crunch time leaves us forgetting that nourishment and downtime are essential elements that allow us to function at high speed more efficiently. Take time for yourself, plan your meals, and stay hydrated. These three tips will support anyone in their journey to wellness.
Figueiro, M. G., & Rea, M. S. (2010). The effects of red and blue lights on circadian variations in cortisol, alpha amylase, and melatonin. International journal of endocrinology, 2010, 829351.
Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition reviews, 68(8), 439-58.