Happy International Self Care Day!
I want to take this opportunity to remind you to take some time out of your day just for you. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the things we have to do or the people that we have to care for, that we don’t feel like we have time for ourselves. But let me assure you, that when you put time into loving yourself you become a better parent, spouse, child, employee, coach, boss or any of your other various roles. When you take the time to listen to your body, to understand what it needs and give yourself care and compassion, you will have more energy mentally, physically and emotionally to put into the things that are important in life. Self-care can look different for everyone, and as long as you feel replenished after, it doesn’t matter what you do. Today, for International Self-Care day, we encourage you to think about how best to care for yourself.
I have provided two great ways to care for yourself if you need help getting started.
Take a break!
- Self Care does not mean having to add something to your to-do list. Sometimes, the best way to care for yourself is by doing less. Take a look at your to-do list and figure out what you’re able to not do today. Maybe your floors can go an extra few days without vacuuming, maybe you can have leftovers for dinner, or maybe you don’t respond to all your emails. Whatever you have to do to make more time for yourself, do it. When we get overwhelmed with activities, our stress hormone, cortisol, is released. High cortisol has both physical and mental consequences, including decreased metabolism, decreased immune function and it can decrease the uptake of serotonin, our “feel-good” neurotransmitter1. Therefore, one of the best ways to care for yourself is by taking a break and reducing stress.
- Exercise does not have to be a chore. There are so many forms of exercise out there, find one you love and work it into your regular schedule. In fact, research has shown that exercise is more beneficial when it is recreational. Exercise plays a crucial role in our health. Physically, it helps keep the cardiovascular system, muscles and lungs healthy. Mentally, it replenishes depleted neurotransmitters, provides oxygen to the brain, and creates new neurons. In my recovery from mental illness, tennis was the perfect balance of exercise, social engagement and exposure to the sun for vitamin D to help me live depression-free. We encourage you to find time today to exercise. 20 minutes of moderate activity a day is a great way to care for yourself.
For more information on self-care, check out our “Self-Care Basic Guidelines“.
We challenge you to take some time for self-care today because you are worth it!
- Tafet GE, Idoyaga-Vargas VP, Abulafia DP, et al. Correlation between cortisol level and serotonin uptake in patients with chronic stress and depression. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2001;1(4):388-393.