To me, self-care is not just about manicures and affirmations. It’s so much more. It’s all that stuff we know we should be doing for ourselves but don’t—the things that we always have an excuse not to do.For me, that most challenging aspect of self care is physical self care.
Physical self care is doing activities to ensure we are in good physical health. It has everything to do with how we take care of our bodies. Our bodies are our vehicles, which allows us to perform our daily tasks from the day we were born to the day we die.
We have a duty to take care of our bodies, to make sure that we have the highest possible quality during our life. It is necessary to keep our bodies active and provide them with high-quality energy. And rest and recharge our bodies when necessary.
Physical self-care does not have to be a titanic task. You don’t have to sign up to run a marathon or start a restrictive diet—a few changes to your daily habits will improve your well being tenfold.
“The greatest wealth is well-being.”― Lailah Gifty Akita
Fueling Your Body
Have you ever put cheap oil in your car, only to find it chugging along after? The same thing happens with our bodies when we feed it unhealthy foods. But physical self care is NOT about dieting; it’s about eating more natural food in the right portions for our bodies.
Don’t over complicate things. Here are a few things to get started,
- Drink more water. Drinking more water is the easiest thing you can do for yourself. Simply keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times. Check out this post on how to drink more water.
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- Decrease the consumption of soft drinks and sweets.
*If you need more help with nutrition, seek help from a certified dietitian.
Keeping your body optimal as possible also means getting regular check-ups, taking subscribed medications and supplements, and being your own advocate for your health.
Storytime: My husband had always had high blood pressure. He knew he had it for years but never did anything about it. Before we had kids, I told him that I wanted him to get his high blood pressure managed. Let’s face it; I didn’t want to be a signal parent. He hadn’t been to a doctor for years but reluctantly went.
This single doctor’s appointment resulted in years of trying to figure out the reason for his unusually high blood pressure. The doctor was able to manage it, but could never find a reason for why his blood pressure was so high.
About two years ago, my hubby was referred to an internal health specialist. He didn’t want to go to the appointment and thought he was fine. But I said, “just go and see what the doctor says.” The internal health specialist ended up founding a lump in his throat, which ended up being thyroid cancer.
Move your body
You don’t have to go to the gym for several hours to move your body. Simply move your body more. In good weather, you can take advantage of the opportunity to go for a walk around the block. On rainy days, you can try doing yoga, pilates or gentle stretching in your living room. It could even be chair aerobics.
Growing up, I always remembered driving passed this older gentleman, who every day walked up and down a small section of our street with his cane. He would slowly shuffle down the road, turn around and do it all again. He went every day, even in the rain. And I remember thinking that it was inspiring that he was so dedicated to moving his body, even when his health was against him.
Taking care of your health doesn’t have to be associated with weight loss, either. Think of it more as becoming more active and living a vibrant life. Nowadays, there are many free online resources available to you. You don’t even have to leave your house or drop a dime on an expensive gym membership.
“What the gym does for the body, meditation can do for the mind.”― Laurie Buchanan, PhD
Rest and Recharge
You must not underestimate the number of rest hours your body needs to recharge. Everyone’s bodies are different, and you should expect your rest hours to be different.
Most experts recommend sleeping between 7 and 8 hours. But for some people, more or less hours are needed to give their body and mind the rest they need to recharge themselves with an adequate level of energy. And be able to face a day with a positive attitude. I know for myself I am not a happy camper if I don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep.
I get that life gets in the way sometimes, but even if you have the opportunity to take a short 20-30 minute nap during the day, you can also help your brain function much better.