Making Self Care A Priority In The New Year
With the new decade just around the corner, you might begin thinking up some potential resolutions that you can make in order to put your best foot forward as the year kicks off, which can help you to improve your physical and mental health.
Rather than follow the crowd or buy into fake concepts, deciding on some self-care focused practices will do you a world of good, and making yourself a priority can really better your wellbeing. So, if you want to know more about how you can take care of yourself and look after your mind and body in the new year, then read on to uncover some of the best steps that can take to start feeling the benefits in no time.
Assess & Improve Your Diet
The building blocks that provide you with the energy you need to thrive are made from the foods that you eat, so existing on a diet of unhealthy meals and snacks filled with fat, salt and sugar will have a negative effect on both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you're unsure about the quality of your current diet, it’s a good idea to write down each item of food that you eat in a diary for around a week or so – when you reach the end, read through what you consumed to make an honest assessment compared to the government recommended allowance.
When following a healthy diet, you aim to consume around 2000 calories if you are female, or 2500 calories if you are male, and these should be made up of four major food groups: complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and small portions of beneficial fats. To convert this into a sample meal, you might have brown rice, salmon and avocado, or wholemeal bread, poached eggs and grilled tomatoes. Replace crisps with raw nuts, and opt for sweet berries over candy to ensure that you keep your energy levels and mood stable in between meals.
Drinking enough water is something that many people struggle with, as you should aim for more than 8 glasses each day. However, water is essential for all bodily functions, and being dehydrated can have some really negative effects on your mind and body. Always carry a bottle of water with you, and set a regular reminder on your phone that tells you to take a sip. Mix things up and increase the flavor by adding fresh herbs like mint, or sliced fruit such as orange and lemon.
Learn To Love Exercising
Too many people have a negative relationship with exercise and are completely unaware of the masses of benefits that can come from regularly working out. Don’t throw yourself in at the deep end and go from not exercising to hitting the gym 6 times a week, as this is simply not sustainable and will not provide you with long-lasting positive results. Find a sport that you enjoy – this could be outdoors, like hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, or sailing, or something more gentle such as yoga or swimming.
Being within a group is a good motivation, so finding a friend to attend classes with or seeking a team sport can encourage you to get a little more involved. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (which are often referred to as ‘happy chemicals’) that give you a boost of energy and a feeling of positivity. Working out can also be a great way to reduce stress, as getting the chance to release some aggression through boxing or clear your head on a long walk within nature can really transform your day.
Take Hygiene Seriously
It’s likely that you’ve been guilty of skipping the odd shower when running late to work, but realistically making time to take hygiene seriously is an essential part of your day. Failing to care for yourself properly will leave you open to infections and illnesses, and no doubt your confidence might be lacking if you don’t feel as though you are at your best.
Taking a long hot bath is a relaxing treatment that can help to soak away the day's worries as well as the dirt, and adding some scented or moisturizing foam can take the experience to another level. Be careful, as some douches may cause irritation in personal areas, leading to a couple of common issues that can be extremely uncomfortable – yeast infections and UTI’s. There is one or two key difference between yeast infection and a UTI, however, ensure that no matter what you stop using the product that caused the problem immediately after feeling negative side effects.
Another important step that shouldn’t be skipped or ignored throughout the day is washing your hands, as the bacteria that you pick up can easily make its way into your system whenever you touch your face or eat food. If you could see the infections and diseases that lurk in public places such as bus seats and door handles, you would surely think more than twice about laying even a finger on the surface, never mind tucking into a snack straight after without cleaning your hands.
Making self-care a priority in the new year will allow you to become the strongest person you can be, both mentally and physically. Paying more attention to yourself and your own needs will improve your health quite dramatically, and hopefully help you to realize your true worth and gain a more balanced outlook on life.
Start by addressing the quality of your diet, and identifying whether you might be able to make some positive, healthy changes to include more fresh and nutritious food and less fatty, sugary and salty products to increase your energy levels and keep them stable. Take part in more regular exercise, starting off with something gentle such as yoga and making use of team environments to boost your motivation and make the experience more fun.
Make an effort to take your hygiene seriously by showering daily and taking part in indulgent self-care activities like face masks, and wash your hands regularly throughout the day to reduce the chances of you ingesting any bacteria or infections.