Self-care involves actively looking after one's physical and emotional well-being. This can come in the form of taking a relaxing bath, practising meditation, or other activities that are calming for both the mind and body. Whatever helps you relax and rejuvenate can be considered self-care.
Kelsey Patel, a Los Angeles-based wellness expert, emphasises the importance of self-care as a way of managing day-to-day stress. The activities which constitute self-care vary depending on individual needs and preferences; one day yoga might help relieve stress, but it might not be effective the next.
According to faculty member Brighid Courtney of the Wellness Council of America, self-care has numerous benefits like increased productivity, reduced stress levels, and improved self-esteem. This is especially essential for busy professionals since work performance relies heavily on physical health; too much stress can impede or prevent effective working. Read further to learn great self-care techniques that can reduce stress.
6 Tips to Improve Self-Care and Reduce Stress
Try Meditating Daily
Aside from scheduling your daily routine in such a way that it creates the least amount of stress, it is still important for you to have a way to relax and unwind. One possible means to do so is through meditation as it can reduce stress, improve focus, and boost overall mood. Set aside a few minutes daily to practise mindfulness or use a meditation app.
Exercise Every Day
Exercise can help you feel centred and happy. According to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, regular aerobic exercises can stimulate and relax your body. Additionally, clinical trials have proved that exercises may also help relieve anxiety disorders and clinical depression. Therefore, it is a good idea to add some physical activities to your daily routine. Some examples include taking yoga classes or spending a few minutes walking around.
Follow Healthy Eating Habits
Your diet plays a crucial role in stress reduction. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are essential in ensuring you have enough energy to cope with stressful events. However, Karen Hemmes, a registered dietitian at Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix, advises that you should avoid processed and sugary foods as much as possible as they can increase your cortisol levels, the hormone primarily responsible for stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Aside from meditation, exercise, and a healthy diet, giving your body time to rest is crucial in recharging your batteries and reducing stress. According to Mark S. Aloia, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver, lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to the effects of stress. Make sure to get at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night and establish a regular sleep schedule.
Practice Having a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Working all the time can be unhealthy for your mental and physical health. Make time for activities that are not work-related, such as having hobbies like painting or hanging out with friends and family. Doing something outside work increases productivity, boosts morale, and reduces stress levels.
Don’t Forget to Take a Break
Going through an 8-hour shift without taking breaks is unhealthy. Breaks are essential for your body to recover and maintain its focus, as well as prevent stress from building up. In fact, regular breaks can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day. You can take a few minutes every hour or so to stretch, go for a quick short walk, chat with your colleagues, or simply take a few deep breaths.
4 Stress Management Techniques
Learn How to Properly Manage Your Time
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty with your tasks, it is possible that you have poor time management. Without it, you can experience high-stress levels. Try using techniques such as the Pomodoro technique or time blocking to manage your time more effectively.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
While it is admirable to be able to do things without the help of others, it is also important to know when you can't do it on your own. Ideally, it is during times like this that you should delegate tasks to others. This can help you reduce your workload and stress levels.
Learn When to Say "No"
Much like knowing when to delegate work to others is important, saying "no" to additional responsibilities is also necessary for maintaining your mental and physical health. Practice setting boundaries and prioritising your own needs.
Seek Support From Colleagues or Professionals
If you're feeling overwhelmed or when the going gets tough, don't be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues, friends, or family. In fact, you can even consider seeking a professional. Talking to a counsellor or therapist, or simply reaching out to a family member or friend can be a great source of support and help.
Self-care is essential for effective productivity and stress management, especially for busy people. Prioritising yourself can have a positive impact on your life. Therefore, you should take time to care for your body and mind, and don't hesitate to seek support if needed.
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