Wake up, feed the little one, let the dogs out, feed the dogs, make coffee and eat breakfast, get dressed, go to work, pick up the little one, go back to work, go to the grocery store, feed the dogs, make dinner, do the dishes, feed the little one, go to bed.
Do you see anything on that list that made you think I did anything for myself that day? Neither do I, but you can guarantee that I am working towards making sure that I take care of myself to be sure that my emotional health stays in check.
Our February Wellness Challenge is all about self-care. Making sure that we dedicate 5-10 minutes a day to unwind, destress and pay attention to #1….yourself.
What are some activities that you think you could incorporate on a daily basis to help take care of yourself? More importantly, why is it important to take care of yourself? The answer is that self-care helps to decrease stress. When stress builds up it can wreak havoc on your body and increase your chances of contracting a chronic illness or disease. One of our goals at Performance Health & Fitness is to help you be the best version of yourself. We don’t want your body to be the limiting factor as you continue to age.
Stress can contribute to several emotional and physical health issues over time. Some examples are autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, depression, headaches, immunosuppression which can lead to infections, GERD and even Parkinson’s Disease.
Stress causes disruptions in your body’s natural function and can make your organs work twice as hard by stimulating the fight or flight response. This type of response is to be only used when we are in danger and for short spurts of time rather than a longer duration. Our heart starts beating faster, our blood pressure skyrockets, our digestive system doesn’t absorb the nutrients it needs because food moves so quickly in our GI system, our muscles tense and our breathing starts to become rapid. It requires a lot of energy to have your body in this overdrive state – which is why we tend to feel lethargic or tired after a stressful day.
Healthy ways to decrease stress would be to meditate, listen to music, talk to a loved one, laugh, read a book, exercise or eat a healthy meal. PRO TIP: For more self-care suggestions, read my 2019 Self-Care article. I go into more detail about particular meditation apps I have found useful and highly recommend.
Unhealthy ways to decrease stress include smoking, overspending, drinking to excess, increased caffeine consumption, negative self-talk, poor nutrition or emotional eating.
If you already have a bad habit to deal with stress, this month I challenge you to focus on incorporating a healthy coping mechanism on a daily basis. Achieving your best health is a long journey so enjoy the process and love yourself as you only get one life to live.
Do one thing at a time to increase the chance of success. You’ll thank yourself later 🙂
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