Have you thought about your self-care routine lately? With the start of a new season, it’s a great time to revise your day-to-day and make sure your daily practices are benefiting you. It’s easy to fall into bad habits without realizing it and it’s important to combat those bad habits before they begin to really affect you.
According to Healthline, adults should aim for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise each week. Running, walking, swimming and biking are all forms of effective aerobic activity. Additionally, adults should practice balance and stretching activities to enhance flexibility, as well as incorporate strength training workouts a few times a week. Older adults should focus on balance exercises to improve stability and continue to do as much aerobic and strengthening activities as their bodies will allow.
Maintaining a regular workout routine is important to your overall well-being. Regular physical activity boosts energy, decreases unhealthy triglycerides, prevents mental health issues and promotes better sleep patterns.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, following 8 healthy eating goals can make a big difference to your health:
- Half of your plate should contain fruits and vegetables
- Half of the grains you eat should be whole grains
- Switch to fat-free or low fat milk
- Consume lean protein foods
- Avoid sodium rich foods
- Substitute water for high calorie drinks
- Eat seafood occasionally
- Cut back on fats
Including at least 6 of the 8 goals into your self-care routine will create noticeable results in the way you look and feel. If you struggle sustaining a healthy diet regularly, create a meal plan at the beginning of each week that you can follow and use for motivational purposes.
Sleep is an action that helps restore our mind and body and is important to a lot of brain functions. Your brain and body stay remarkably active while you are asleep and recent findings from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you’re awake.
There are four stages of sleep, which determine how well rested you will be. The stages of sleep are affected by your environment, what you eat and drink, how much you exercise, and digital exposure, among others. The amount of sleep that you require varies from person to person and is dependent on age and activity. If you have a difficult time getting adequate sleep try to:
- Follow a schedule
- Exercise a few hours before bed
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine
- Create a comfortable sleep environment
- Avoid looking at digital screens for an hour before bed
- Relax before bed
When trying to revamp your self-care routine, many people overlook their work environment. However, it’s a very important aspect to your well-being, as you spend about 40 hours per week there. A few things you should make yourself aware of at the office are your desk setup in relation to your posture, excessive digital exposure and sedentary positions.
It’s easy to allow certain posture mistakes to creep into your daily activity. However, the longer you allow these mistakes to occur, the more damage they can cause. Poor posture, such as sitting cross-legged and slouching can cause a spinal curve, back pain, poor circulation, nerve damage, a weak lower back, a tight chest and rounded shoulders. Therefore, it’s very important that you are aware of your posture and adjust your desk setup in order to maintain correct alignment and support.
Sitting in a sedentary position for the better part of your day makes you vulnerable to anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression, etc. The lack of movement puts you at risk physically and mentally. Therefore, it’s important to be conscious of your movement throughout the day by:
- Setting timers to remind you to get up and move
- Going for walks on your lunch break
- Taking the stairs
- Doing stretches at your desk
If you’re constantly interacting with digital screens throughout the day, you can experience side effects from the blue light exposure, such as headaches, digital eye strain, retina damage, dry eyes and disrupted sleep cycles resulting in fatigue. In order to prevent negative effects of blue light you should:
- Limit screen time
- Set filters on devices, such as night shift
- Wear blue-light-filtering glasses
An important part of being healthy is staying hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness, confusion, and fatigue. It’s important to drink water everyday and to find the right amount of consumption for you. It’s a common understanding that you’re supposed to drink 6-8, 8 ounce glasses of water a day. However, some people require more and some require less; it depends on your body type. Those with a higher risk of dehydration include people who participate in high intensity workouts, workout in hot weather, have certain medical conditions, are sick, are pregnant or breastfeeding and are trying to lose weight.
Luckily, it’s simple to determine if you’re dehydrated and it’s important to take action as soon as you notice. Some common symptoms of dehydration are: little or no urine, dark urine, dry mouth, and extreme thirst. Staying hydrated can be more difficult for some than others, in which case it’s suggested that you:
- Keep a water bottle on hand at all times
- Drink water before, during and after a workout
- Add lemon or lime for flavor
- Create a schedule (e.g., one glass at the start of every hour)
There are 13 vitamins, all of which contribute to a different function within the body. They can make up for deficiencies you may have and keep you physically and mentally healthy. It has been considered better to gain nutrients through food, rather than a pill because food contributes more than just the single vitamin intake. However, supplements are a healthy option, as well. Whichever route you choose, the goal to increase the intake of nutrients you’re lacking remains the same. If you are unsure which nutrients your body is lacking, if any, you should consult a doctor or determine your symptoms and research which vitamins could benefit you.
All of these components come together in one way or another. One process can affect the other, which is why it’s so important to maintain all of them. It can seem overwhelming to have so many things to maintain however, you can support each function by creating a self-care routine that is specific and right for you.