Health & Fitness

Do You Actually Take Care of Yourself?


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You take care of yourself, right? I mean, we’re all grown ups here. We feed ourselves. We go to sleep at (hopefully) reasonable hours. We go to work so we can afford to live. We pay all those pesky bills. Wait—those are responsibilities. What about self-care?

Self-care goes above and beyond responsibility. It means loving yourself and treating yourself like royalty. Selfish, you say? Absolutely not. You can’t take care of anyone else in an effective way unless you are mentally, physically and spiritually nourished yourself. It’s the whole “place-the-oxygen-mask-over-your-own-face-before-assisting-others” concept. Hold off your groan.

I understand how difficult it is to prioritize self-care. It can seem like a big waste of precious time—who has time for a gentle, technology-free walk these days? But, turning your full attention towards yourself on a regular basis will make you happier, more productive, less stressed and more helpful to others in the long run. To embark on your self-care practice, try incorporating these simple ideas into your weekly schedule, and be sure to shower yourself with the love and affection you usually reserve for those closest to you:

Meditation

Ugh, I know. Everyone is always recommending mediation as a way to improve yourself. But, guess what! It works! We live in a go-go culture. Anytime you have a chance to quiet your mind or focus alone on a positive mantra, do it. Meditation is wholly about the self and allows you to deepen your understanding of who you truly are. If you can only practice one self-care ritual, this is it.

Homecook healthy meals

It is easy to get take-out or thaw out some frozen pizzas. But, cooking yourself a nourishing meal loaded with fresh veggies once or twice a week is important. If you fill your belly with goodness, you are showing yourself that you are worth it. If you feed it processed junk, that kind of sends the message that you are only worthy of junk. Fuel your body with homemade love a few times a week.

Move your body, yo

This doesn’t have to be an intense and sudden dedication to the Crossfit lifestyle. It can be as simple as walking, some weekly yoga, gardening or taking a gentle bike ride into town. Human bodies are made for motion. Think of all the hundreds of incredible muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints we have that facilitate all sorts of nuanced movements. Appreciate them by working out the creaks and allowing them to do their job. (That being said, show them appreciation with a massage once in a while, too!)

Pack your lunch

When you don’t pack a healthy lunch and/or snacks during the week, two things can occur. A) you get really hangry and feel miserable until you frantically pull into McDonald’s and gorge yourself. Or B) you realize you have nothing to eat so you go spend $20 on a salad, a juice and a latte at that kinda-healthy cafe around the corner. There is no need to feel miserable or waste your money. Take the time to prepare for what you’ll need to make it through the day as easily as possible. Some carrots, hummus, a bit of protein, yogurt or even an old-school PB&J will do. Just be prepared to give your body what it needs and deserves.

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