Guest blog by Julie Morris
We are meant for more than work, yet finding the time for everything can often seem extremely daunting. Between our careers and staying on top of fitness, we tend to let other aspects of a healthy life fall by the wayside. However, self-care is more than just exercise and our work — it means looking after every aspect of our well-being.
When was the last time you had a good laugh? Not just a chuckle, but a full-on belly laugh that made your eyes water? If it wasn’t today or yesterday, then it was probably too long ago. There are many health benefits to laughing, including lowering your blood pressure, a reduction of anxiety and stress, an increase to your physical health, and even a boost to your mood. With so much going for it, there is no reason not take advantage of big laughs every single day. You could try laughter yoga, watching your favorite comedian on your lunch breaks, or guffawing your way to work. The more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you.
If stress seems like a natural part of your work-day cycle, it’s a sign that you need to focus on relaxing. When we’re anxious or in a heightened state of stress, we wear down our hearts, get sick more often, become increasingly forgetful, and even raise our chances of developing depression. Thankfully, making a concerted effort to relax every day may fight the effects of stress. It can be hard to let go of in the moment, so start a list of things that bring you joy, and experiment until you find something that works well for you. For instance, you could try muscle relaxation and use a weighted blanket to give you comfort as you do.
Stomach and Mental Health
Are you feeling drained, tired, or like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster? The answer might lie in your gut, with something called the microbiome. The good bacteria in our stomachs not only help us digest food and stay healthy, but they actively contribute to how well our brains process stress. In fact, those who suffer from depression or mood swings are likely to have a less diverse variety of gut bacteria. Luckily, we can alter our diets to improve our health. Eat more vegetables, add plenty of fiber, and get your probiotics to keep your stomach happy.
Staying on Top of Nutrition
Eating healthily goes beyond keeping our gut microbiome in shape. It comes down to taking time each day to make eating well a priority, which can seem challenging when work exhausts us. Gadgets, like pressure cookers, can help with that by getting us nutritious meals quickly. You can make breakfast oatmeal in minutes, and have tender Moroccan chicken with sweet potato for dinner. If you’re craving comfort food, you can make a protein-packed version of mac and cheese to keep guilt away while satisfying your desire. There are so many recipes you can try with ease, and some are as effortless to clean up as they are to cook.
Investing in Sleep
We all know how awful we feel when we don’t sleep well. It can become difficult to focus, we’re tired, crabby, and we may find ourselves getting sick. Over time, the effects of those sleepless nights can worsen and perhaps lead to health conditions like heart attacks and strokes. Thankfully, you can improve your slumber by adopting a predictable sleep schedule so that you can get habituated to a daily routine. Also, consider removing technology from your nightly unwinding, especially in the bedroom, as the light can keep your brain alert.
Don’t let time be an excuse to not live your life to its fullest. Your health, mental, physical and emotional, is worth the world. Make how well you live be your first and most important priority.
Image courtesy of Pexels.