The celebrations of the holiday season are a joyous time for many of us, and the new year is now upon us! As winter settles in, January brings us back in check with our daily responsibilities. Now it’s time to get back to work, prioritize our regular or improved diet and exercise routines, and recover from all the parties. It can be a bit overwhelming if we don’t work at keeping things in balance. As we kick off the new year, it’s a great time to remember the importance of self-care. Of course, self-care means different things for each of us, but the key thing to keep in mind is that self-care is by no means selfish!
People often believe that, by investing the time and effort in caring for themselves, it takes away from the ability to care for others. On the contrary, self-care is essential to physical and mental well-being. It enables us to be the best version of ourselves. If we are always feeling run down, stressed, and exhausted from taking care of others, we aren’t going to be the best caregiver, parent, employee, spouse, or friend.
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start! Here are some easy, natural, and low-cost suggestions to help you take care of yourself:
- Drink up. Make sure you stay hydrated and up your fluid intake during the colder months. Think beyond H20—additional ways to hydrate like coconut water (jam-packed with electrolytes and vitamin C) can help you get there.
- Calm down. Meditation helps lower stress levels, which can rise in the wintertime. Do your mind and body a favor and take some time to decompress. Close your eyes, count to five as you inhale, hold your breath for a count of five, then exhale as you count to five. Repeat!
- Move your body. It’s easy to feel symptoms of depression during the winter months. Regular exercise helps remedy this by releasing endorphins and serotonin in your brain, which help decrease stress levels and fight those gloomy feelings. Try to get some sort of movement in every day, and don’t pressure yourself. It does not need to be a vigorous workout. Taking a brisk walk can do the trick.
- Go nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are your friend all year long, but they’re your best friend come wintertime! Found in walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed oil (to name a few), Omega-3s can help protect your skin this time of year.
- Juice your veggies. Try a blend of carrot, beet, spinach and lemon for a one-two punch of zinc and vitamin C to keep your immune system in fighting form.
- Party on. Social interaction reduces stress and is imperative to human happiness. Instead of bailing on your friends because it’s too cold outside, down that carrot-beet-spinach juice and bundle up! You’ll be happy you did.
- Get outside. Even if you live in a cold winter climate, bundle up and take a walk or hike in nature. Studies have proven that being in nature boosts mood, sharpens thinking, and makes you feel calmer.
- Sleep in. We all know the benefits of a good night’s sleep. As we move into winter, remember that lack of sleep can take an even bigger toll in the colder months. The combination of chilly weather with lack of sleep will make you more vulnerable to getting sick, so get that beauty sleep!
Self-care is not an indulgence. It requires discipline and respect for both yourself and those around you. It’s not something that should be done once in a while when things seem to be a bit crazy. It’s an important daily practice that will help restore balance into our very full everyday lives.
For more information on the importance of self-care, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/care-for-yourself/index.html