This summer my husband and I welcomed our third child into the world. Although having a third precious little guy to love has been so wonderful, it is easy to get overtired, impatient, and overwhelmed with the demands of a busy household. It is easy to forget about myself as I prioritize the needs of my family. This summer I came across the following quote at the perfect time! It is a beautiful reminder of the importance of taking time for myself and in doing so, it has allowed me to be a better mom and better doctor.
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”
– Katie Reed
Self- care is an essential daily practice! Self-care is taking steps toward caring for your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. In doing so, it allows you to better cope with daily stressors, reduce anxiety and depression and improve overall wellbeing so you can be healthy, do your job, and care for others without becoming burnt out and exhausted.
Whether you are a new parent, a businessperson working long hours or simply wishing to improve your health, the following 5 simple tips are for your self-care.
- Move Your Body
At least 20 minutes of physical exercise a day is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Among improving cardiovascular health, regular exercise improves mental clarity and focus, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves sleep and energy. If you are finding it hard to fit it in, try going for a brisk walk at lunch. Not only will you get your 20 minutes of exercise, but you will also have more energy for the afternoon.
If you are postpartum, the Pregnancy and Postpartum TV channel on YouTube is a wonderful resource for appropriate physical activity to help you feel like yourself again.
- Stay Hydrated
The brain requires adequate amounts of water to make energy. Chronic dehydration leads to fatigue and poor concentration. Dehydration also leads to muscle stiffness and pain. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Your body will thank you!
Prayer and meditation increase serotonin, achieves relaxation, and reduces the amount of time your body is in the sympathetic nervous system/fight-or-flight state. Furthermore, prayer/meditation strengthen spiritual health which gives a sense of purpose, happiness, and joy.
Write down 3 new things each day, for at least 21 days, that you are grateful for.
This helps the brain transition to automatic positive thought instead of focusing on the negative or what went wrong.
- Eat Well
Eating good quality food allows nourishment for energy production, reduced inflammation and improved mood.
Avoid processed foods and eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, protein, and whole grains. A good rule of thumb is ½ your plate should be veggies, ¼ of your plate protein and ¼ of your plate whole grains.
If you are having trouble transitioning to whole foods from a processed food diet, the 100 Days of Real Food website is a great resource.