When it comes to caring for ourselves, physical health most often comes to mind. But emotional health is just as important. When we neglect those needs, our physical health suffers, too.
Neglecting self-care can leave us vulnerable to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders and low self-esteem. Many studies also suggest that stress increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, immune illnesses and some cancers.
Often, our emotional care is set aside or forgotten amid the rush of daily life. Creating that time and space is necessary for one’s emotional well-being and overall happiness. Start the new year with these six tips:
1. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a balanced diet. Current research has shown that seven to eight hours of sleep per night, exercise, and a healthy diet significantly improve concentration, cognition and help lessen depression and anxiety.
2. Tune into your emotions. Schedule regular times for self-reflection. Keep a journal or try meditating regularly. Self-awareness is key for making effective changes.
3. Give yourself permission to say no. Take time to think about your decision before saying yes. Responding with phrases like, “I need to look at my schedule and get back to you” gives you room for reflection before deciding.
4. Make self-care a priority. Honor the commitments to yourself, and remember that you matter.
5. Create self-care rituals. Take time to define which are important to you, and implement them into your day. Some may want to make time for silence and solitude, while others may prioritize socializing with friends.
6. Be mindful of how you spend your time and whom you spend it with. The activities we choose and the people we choose to share our lives with are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Schedule time for the things you enjoy.