Why You Should Focus on Self-Care, Too (Plus, Ways to Self-Care)

When you give so much of yourself to work, family and life in general, it’s hard to find time for self-care. But it’s this time that you never can seem to find that’s the most important. If you don’t focus on you, you won’t have that much to give others in your life.

self-care
Courtesy of the American Psychological Association

According to the American Psychological Association, extreme stress increased from 18 percent in 2014 to 24 percent in 2015. Stress has also steadily increased generation by generation; millennials and echoes have the highest amounts of stress. Even more, health declines as stress levels increase.

Whether you practice (or need to practice) self-care for a chronic illness or just for your sanity when balancing work and home, here are a few tips:

Externalize your emotions

Whether you journal, talk to a professional, or just talk to yourself aloud, externalizing your problems is a great way to begin self-caring. When you let your anxiety and negativity eat away at you in silence, you’ll only make the problem worse. But remember: try to externalize your emotions in a healthy way.

 

Pet your pet (or someone else’s)

From heart health to social anxiety, pets might be the ultimate medication. Owning a pet means waking up let it out, going on walks, and ultimately, caring for something else besides yourself. Kids probably provide the same motivation, but if you’ve never cared for a living creature before, you should start out with a pet.

This all sounds counterintuitive to “self-care,” but sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to let go and enjoy the company of a companion.

Sleep

It can be a proper nap or going to bed at a decent time. Either way, sleep is a great way to restore the body and mind so that you can be the best you. If you have trouble sleeping and relaxing, try a few of these approaches.

Make time for friends and family

This one is especially important for those who are prioritizing work and school. Even though it may be hard to find time, connecting with loved ones is a huge factor when it comes to your happiness and stress levels.

Eat well and exercise

Finally, and yes you hear this all the time, but eating right and staying active is the ultimate self-care. In addition to doing your part to manage chronic diseases, a healthy diet and exercise will keep you feeling your best. But if you’re in need of some sugary self-care, that’s okay too – just remember to only do that in moderation.

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