Self-care can be loosely defined as the art of taking care of yourself. You’ve probably seen this phrase popping up everywhere in recent months. Self-care can (and should) include all of the other important indicators of health – physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, financial, psychological and relationship.
While it is nothing new to stress the consistency of adequate self-care, the COVID-19 pandemic has served to educate the public on the importance of monitoring our well-being more directly. Investigations by the CDC confirmed that adults in the United States were struggling with multiple mental health issues during the pandemic. Reported rates of anxiety, depression and substance abuse are almost double.
Given these grim statistics, it seems wise to maintain a heightened awareness of our need for healthy self-care. Self-care can become a powerful tool in your mental health arsenal once you know how to implement it. It can help you reduce stress, calm intrusive thoughts, and develop positive habits for a lifetime. You do not know where to start ? Take a look at these six ways to improve (or start) your own personal grooming routine.
1. Lose judgment.
When you’re not used to putting yourself forward – a lot of men are – self-care can feel selfish, too lenient. or as a total waste of time. It may help to remember that âselfâ is not a bad word. Before being a father, brother, or employee, you are as deserving of care and consideration as anyone else.
Still struggling to prioritize your personal well-being? Try to remember that before you can give your best to others, you also need time to recharge your batteries. Maintaining your physical health and a positive attitude is an investment you make in everyone in your life.
Second, it helps to know that personal care is different for everyone. Just because some guys you follow on Instagram love to hike, pole vault, and 5k runs doesn’t mean you have to. There’s no shame in allowing yourself non-Instagrammable self-care acts like the occasional binge of an entire series.
A big part of effective self-care is embracing the freedom you have to choose healthy things that charge you up. The sooner you lose your expectations of what personal grooming should look like, the more freedom you’ll be able to start with something that helps you relax.
2. Treat yourself once in a while.
The key to this takeout is to limit yourself to “once in a while”. One way to add value to your special experiences is to put them on your weekly planner. This way, while you work hard during your work week, you can see that you have set aside time on Saturday mornings to have breakfast at your favorite restaurant, lounge in your favorite pajamas, or stop by the hardware store. to retrieve it. new power tool you’ve coveted for years.
The goal is not to spend crazy. This will only cause you problems further down the road. Instead, the idea is to invest every now and then in a few affordable luxury goods in order to reinforce the idea that you, as an individual, are worth investing every now and then.
Maybe you decide to invest in your sleep and upgrade your silk bedding and pillowcases or take advantage of blackout curtains. Personal care can even be free. Maybe you just need to set aside some time to pursue a favorite hobby that you consistently neglect in the daily rush to get things done.
3. Pencil it in.
With all of life’s distractions, including family and work deadlines, self-care often ends up at the back of the pack. You might know all the steps to take care of yourself, but there’s no point if you never do them. This is why setting aside time to meet your legitimate needs is very often a step in the right direction.
Just like you would for a doctor or dentist appointment, set aside space on your calendar specifically to engage in self-care acts. Whether you plan this daily, weekly, or several times a month is up to you. The key is to get into the routine of prioritizing your needs instead of ignoring them so many times that they never happen. Consider your self-care regimen as important as keeping a doctor’s appointment – try not to reschedule.
4. Practice hard loveâ¦ on yourself.
Taking care of yourself isn’t just about a few rounds of golf or putting off a few. Often times, this involves doing new and maybe even uncomfortable things. To take your self-care to the next level, strive to tackle a difficult task periodically. This could range from sending a text message or an e-mail that you rejected to making an appointment with a specialist doctor.
The purpose of this exercise is not just to get you to take on a task that you need to accomplish. It is also a proven method of making “anxiety about new things” more manageable. When you have a bunch of important real estate tasks on your mind, it’s hard to relax. Just being able to cross a task off your “too hard” list will give you a sense of relief.
If you have a hard time tackling uncomfortable tasks, that’s okay. Start small and build. Break the difficult task down into steps and tackle it one step per day. If you can do more, great, but don’t feel like you have to. For example, you could spend today writing a garage cleaning list and tomorrow getting started.
5. Keep moving.
Whether you’re an exercise fanatic or a couch potato, the pandemic has likely taken a toll on your physical routine. However, keeping your body moving is more important than ever. Countless studies have identified a link between moderate exercise and positive improvements in mood and cognition.
That doesn’t mean you have to commit to running a marathon, but movement is an essential part of self-care. Even 20 minutes of cardio a day is enough to make a positive difference to your health. It will definitely make a difference in your overall level of gratitude.
If you’re not by nature a gym junkie – a lot of men aren’t – start by deciding what kind of exercise you might enjoy. With the restrictions constantly changing, you may not currently have access to a gym. However, there are stacks of fitness videos on YouTube to inspire you. Even a brisk walk outside can be a fantastic way to reap the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. Establish an exercise program and challenge yourself to stick to it.
6. Make your own “happy chemicals”.
The human brain produces several chemicals that help us experience contentment and pleasure. These “happy chemicals” include dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. If you wonder why some people are addicted to exercise, it might be because they know that you don’t need drugs or alcohol to feel better emotionally. Below are a few ideas to help you harness your brain chemistry as an important part of your self-care.
- Dopamine – for motivation, learning, and fun – can be unleashed by working on a to-do list, guided meditation, and creative activities such as writing or home improvement projects. Exercise has also been shown to boost dopamine
- Oxytocin – the âlove hormoneâ – can be released by petting the family dog ââor sitting near a loved one. Socialization (even virtual) helps, as does anything that involves touching, such as a massage.
- Serotonin – for mood regulation – can be increased by sun exposure, physical activity and a good night’s sleep. Practicing mindfulness can also help.
- Endorphins – for a quick high – can be released through exercise, eating spicy food, laughing and (somewhat counterintuitively) even crying.
Taking care of yourself is vital for a long and healthy life, especially in these uncertain times. It’s okay to spend most of your day serving others, but at some point you need to stop putting yourself last. Improve your personal care routine today. Consider the tips listed above and modify them to suit your situation and temperament as you see fit.
This content is brought to you by Awais Ahmed.