When you’re feeling the weight of the world, it can be easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. However, many don’t realize that vulnerability factors and self-care can play a HUGE part in your overall demeanor. If you feel physically unwell, you are more susceptible to feeling sad, tired, or overwhelmed. It’s hard to keep your mood up when you aren’t feeling yourself. Luckily, there are easy ways you can incorporate self-care as part of your day-to-day life.

Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness, a type of meditation, can help bring awareness to your surroundings and your feelings. Taking a few minutes during your morning routine to do some mindfulness exercises can help ground yourself for the day. Focus on your breathing, trying to regulate it as much as possible, while also releasing any tension you may be holding in your body, especially in the shoulders, neck, chest, or upper back. Whether you decide to take your mindfulness break in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening, fitting in even a few minutes of mindfulness can greatly improve your mood. Meditation, in general, is a helpful tool for getting more in touch with yourself. Many books, phone apps, and guided instructional videos can help you find the right approach for you.

Sleep

Sleeping plays a big part in recharging and restoring our bodies. The CDC recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. While getting enough sleep is important, the quality of your sleep also influences how rested you feel the next day. Most people don’t practice proper sleep hygiene, and some habits during your nightly routine can actually hinder the quality of your rest. Check out these tips to get the most out of your slumber:

  • Keep a Schedule: Going to bed at the same time each night can help your body establish a routine and normalize your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s “natural clock.” This habit can help reduce sleepiness during the day and reduce the feeling of struggling to wake up in the morning. Your snooze button will appreciate a break!
  • Avoid Blue Light: You may enjoy checking your phone before bed or falling asleep listening to the television but it can actually negatively impact your quality of sleep. Blue light reduces the body’s natural ability to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel tired at night. Try to avoid any direct blue light contact at least a full hour before you plan to go to bed. You can use this time to do a mindfulness exercise, take a warm shower or bath, or read to help you get in that relaxed mood!

Nutrition

Supplying your body with the correct nutrients it needs can help you feel better overall. Eating foods high in fat, sugar, or sodium can make you feel sluggish and lack the protein and nutrients needed for your body to supply energy. When you’re feeling low, it might be helpful to include an extra serving of foods that are rich in omega-3 oils, vitamins B, B12, and D (which can help the body supply energy), probiotics, and iron. So give your body a little extra self-care by planning your meals ahead this week. Page through some cookbooks or look online for templates to help you organize your shopping.

Hydration

Dehydration can sneak up on you and cause a wide variety of negative health effects including headaches, dizziness, or feeling more tired than usual. The recommended amount of water per day is eight 8-ounce glasses. If you have trouble remembering to drink water during the day, set an alarm, or keep a set schedule, like one bottle every hour so that you can maintain a healthy daily water intake. There are also tools like measured water bottles to help you stay on track!

Exercise

Regular exercise is a vital part of maintaining good mental health. While it can be hard to get motivated when you are feeling tired, exercise can provide an endorphin boost that can elevate your mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help relieve additional challenging symptoms like sore joints, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar, all of which can have a direct effect on your vulnerability factors. So get out and take a quick (or leisurely) walk around the block – as long as you are moving!

Sometimes the weight of stress is too great to bear on our own. Be sure to utilize the help of close friends and family, and really lean on your support system when things get a little too crazy. Other times, it can be helpful to talk to an unbiased listener. A quick internet search can yield results for psychologists or licensed therapists in your area who will be able to help you continue to develop your mindfulness skills. In addition, you can always stop into your local Patient First center and talk with a physician 365 days a year.


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