The ABCs of Self-Care

On the surface, self-care can seem a little selfish — especially when your days are focused on important things like caring for your family, doing your job and trying to stay healthy. But research has shown self-care can be a key part of a person’s health and well-being.

What is self-care?

Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve your own mental, emotional or physical health. It can be as simple as taking a walk or as complex as learning a new skill.

What’s good about self-care?

Self-care is a healthy way to cope with today’s demands. It can help boost self-confidence, create a healthy work-life balance and decrease stress. According to Mental Health America, it’s an important part of staying healthy.

Here are 3 easy ways to practice self-care in your own life:

1. Set work/life boundaries

By being available to your co-workers 24/7, you’re putting your health in jeopardy and making it harder to cope with stress.

To stay balanced and avoid burnout, give yourself regular breaks from work, whether that means turning off your phone in the evening, telling your colleagues you won’t be checking email on the weekends or committing to getting out of the office at least 3 times a week for a mid-day walk.

2. Cut down on stress

Whatever your personal triggers are — whether it’s the news, finances or a project at work — you can work to reduce stress by identifying and dealing with those triggers.

  1. First, acknowledge your feelings.
    Understand that you have a right to feel anger, pain and disappointment.
  2. When you get frustrated, give yourself a break.
    Take a walk, make a cup of tea or take 5 minutes to meditate. Knowing you have a plan and an outlet can help reduce stress.
  3. Make a plan.
    Whether you can eliminate or reduce your stress trigger or you simply have to learn to live with it, having a proactive plan to manage your stress going forward puts you in control.

3. Look on the bright side

It can be difficult to see the forest for the trees, but life is too short to dwell only on the negative.

Next time you feel sad, frustrated or angry, take some deep breaths and take some time to focus on the positive. Whether it’s looking through a photo album of a happy time or reading a chapter of your favorite book, having activities at-the-ready to help you think good thoughts can turn your day around — and it can improve your health since optimistic thoughts are healthier than pessimistic ones.

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