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 losing of brain power. 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 tired 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. That term 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. 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 extremely 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 are not going to 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 to 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. They only way to re-hydrate from that loss is through the food we eat and the water we drink. Theory has it that we would die three days without water, but there are folks that 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 have a negative impact on the body. This can range 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 signs of dehydration 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 be forced to eat fast food all the time. Meal prepping doesn't seem like it would be a form of self-care, but if you consider the alternative, it really is. 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 on 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 means of relaxation, they can actually 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 down time are important elements that allow us to function at high speed more efficiently. Take time for yourself, plan your meals in advanced, 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.