Bianca Paola Gonzalez
Covering Three Bases of the Self-Care Game
Let’s dive into how we can take better care of our physical, emotional, and mental health.
Hello friends and happy Monday!
Last week we learned about five areas where we can start decluttering in order to have a clean slate for this new year. Today, our topic is health. We’re creating new habits, right? Well, caring for ourselves in every way, shape, and form is vital for a long and happy life filled with purpose. Let me make clear that I’m not an expert in all-things self-care or health, but I’m trying to get better at it because that’s the area in my life where I need to work on the most. That’s why, in an attempt to create awareness, today I’m using a Baseball analogy to cover three types of self-care: physical, emotional, and mental. You’ll find tips on how we can better care for those three areas and knock the ball right out of the park and hit a home run. (P.S. I don’t like Baseball but, as I was researching, the image popped into my head, so I thought it would be appropriate for this week’s topic. All I know is what I’ve played in Wii Sport. Haha!) PLAY BALL!
But First, Rule #1
Just as there’s no I in team, there isn’t one in self-care either. Raphailia Michael, a Counselling Psychologist defined self-care as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” She clarified that self-care is not a selfish act. On the contrary, by knowing how we can take care of ourselves we can learn how to take care of others as well. Now that that’s clear, let’s cover the bases.
Base 1: Physical Health
We all know that eating a well balanced meal and exercising our body are two main components for taking care of our physical health, but that can sometimes be easier said than done for a number of reasons. However, what we put in our bodies play a huge role in how our bodies feel and how they perform, so it’s important to know what it needs. If you don’t know, I suggest you research or talk to a nutritionist. Also if you need to take vitamins or supplements, know what your body needs and take them regularly.
As for exercising, gyms ARE NOT the only option. They’re great if you enjoy that type of workout, but if you don’t, it’s not worth forcing yourself to like it (been there, done that). There are different ways to exercise your body such as hiking, doing Pilates, CrossFit, Zumba, cycling, yoga, kickboxing, you name it. Just make sure that what you choose works for the goal you want to accomplish and that you enjoy it.
Aside from healthy eating habits and exercising, Mental Health America highlights the importance of resting and sleeping well to prevent or reduce stress, anxiety, depression, impaired memory, weight-gain, and a weak immune system, among others. As well as avoiding alcohol and drugs. It’s better to fuel your body with things that will result in long-lasting benefits rather than the temporary illusion of benefits.
Base 2: Emotional Health
According to FamilyDoctor.org, being emotionally healthy means being aware of our emotions and being able to control our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In order to do that, Tanvi Patel, a LPC-S psychotherapist states that we should know the exact emotions we’re feeling, what is causing those emotions, and how we’re reacting to them. For that, experts agree that it’s important to check-in with ourselves in a compassionate and kind manner without neglecting our emotions.
Not to mention, they also recommend: learning ways to manage stress, creating a balance between work and play, engaging in activities that bring you joy and calmness, highlighting the positive instead of the negative, and caring for your physical health.
Experts also agree that surrounding yourself with people who love, care, and support you is important in order for you to openly talk about your emotions with people you trust. If you don’t have that support system, therapy is also recommended. Alicia Hodge, Psy.D, a licensed psychologist said that “Therapy with a licensed professional allows you to engage in a trusted relationship to explore and improve your emotional health.” She highlighted that therapy does not have to be crisis based, but a form of prevention and maintenance.
Base 3: Mental Health
Maintaining a stable mental health is often hard when we become overwhelmed, overworked, and preoccupied with things in our lives, like relationships, school, work, finances, and our weight, among others.
Let’s not forget the impact social media has as well. As the social beings that we are, we crave companionship, attention, a sense of belonging, and fitting in. The article Social Media and Mental Health, which I highly recommend, states that having those connections eases “stress, anxiety and depression, boost self-worth, provide comfort and joy, prevent loneliness, and even add years to your life.” However, our connections through social media can never replace our face-to-face human interactions. Studies have shown that too much of it can cause depression, loneliness, anxiety, self-harm, insecurities, narcissism, addiction, and even suicidal thoughts.
Some tips to care for your mental health includes: limiting the time you spend on social media, spending quality time with loved ones, engaging in activities you enjoy, meditating, saying positive affirmations to yourself, staying active, eating healthy, having down time, expressing gratitude, laughing, and spending time outside.
As you were able to see, physical, emotional, and mental health are connected to one another. Keeping each of them in their respective bases creates a balance that increases our chance of hitting a home run and achieving a better overall health.
Take a moment to reflect. How are you taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health? What areas do you need to work on the most? What are you doing to improve it? Are you keeping your health balanced?
Being healthy requires mindfulness, intention, commitment, and discipline. So, it’s important that we prioritize it. I’m on that journey too and it’s difficult but, as we face the challenges of life, we must find the right way to care for our health to keep dancing to the rhythm of life.
Have a happy and healthy Monday everyone!
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