Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself | Self-care practices | AMS

With everything going on in 2020, self-care has never been more important. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting millions of people, and all of the stresses it’s producing, many of us are understandably feeling a little worn down. 

Fortunately, there are a few things we can all do to help support our health and well-being. Even better, none of the following tips require a trip to the doctor, expensive equipment, or hours of research. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the best 5 tips for self-care. 

1. Prioritize Sleep

If you’ve had long nights working or studying, or regularly find yourself waking up very early, you may not realize that adequate sleep is as important as it truly is. But, did you know that your well-being and health absolutely depend on good quality sleep?

In fact, getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors that determines your physical health, mental health, safety, and overall quality of life. 

It may even impact things you don’t really realize—like your relationships, your job performance, and your memory. 

Furthermore, poor sleep has been associated with a range of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and stroke. 

So, for adults, we recommend that you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. 

2. Find an Exercise Routine that Works for You

Many of us know that exercise is important, yet very few of us actually put this advice into practice. Did you know that only 23% of Americans get enough exercise? If you’re someone who could do well to incorporate some more physical activity into your life, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Determine your baseline. Think about how much exercise you get already. If you haven’t done any physical activity in months, you probably don’t want to jump into a heavy exercise routine right away! Think about your flexibility, muscular and aerobic fitness, and body composition. Then, you’ll know what sort of exercise routine will work for you. 
  • Design an exercise routine. Think about your goals and your time restrictions to determine a plan that works well for you. Even small amounts of exercise are better than nothing so don’t be afraid to start small and slowly progress. Either way, try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine. 
  • Determine what resources are needed. For most people, you’ll just need a pair of athletic shoes to get started. Beyond that, you might want to get a pass to a gym, invest in a yoga mat, or recruit a friend to be your work-out buddy. If your finances are limited, there are free ways to do everything, it might just take some research on your end.
  • Monitor your progress. Try to keep a journal or have discussions about your exercise routine with other people. When you’re able to record or share what you’ve been able to accomplish, you’re more likely to stick to it. 

3. Listen to What Your Body is Telling You

Your body is much smarter than you give it credit for! It’s likely that you’ve ignored your intuition for years or decades, but don’t worry, that knowledge is still there. 

If there are any aches or pains that you notice, they’re likely a sign that something is wrong. Don’t ignore these signs. Do what you can to alleviate them, or see a healthcare professional if you need to. 

Similarly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or totally stressed out, then take some time to rest. Rest is a critical and many times overlooked part of self-care. Don’t be afraid to take a day off or cancel plans if your body feels like it needs some R&R. 

4. Make Time for a Hobby

Hobbies are a great way to enjoy life to the fullest. All of us have something that we’ve always wanted to try but have just never had the time! Well, if you’re looking for a way to better take care of yourself, picking up a hobby is one of the best (and most fun!) things you can do. 

Hobbies will help you connect with new people, they’ll help you reduce stress, they’ll help you develop skills like patience and confidence, and they’ll allow you to learn something new! Don’t waste any more time, pick up that art class, join that running group, or schedule that online book club.  

5. Stay Hydrated 

Hydration is absolutely crucial to survive, and it’s pretty important for your health and well being, too. All of the tissues and organs in your body require adequate hydration to thrive and being dehydrated can impact all areas of your life. 

Most of us have been told that we should consume eight eight-ounce glasses every day. This is good advice to use as a starting point, but some of us will require more, and some of us will need less. 

This is where listening to your body comes in! If you feel thirsty, chances are that you’re already dehydrated. Also, if you’re more active, you should drink more water, too. It’s a good idea to always have a bottle or glass of water handy! 

Well, there you have it—5 tips for self-care. These suggestions are easy for anyone to incorporate into their lifestyles. Even if you’ve never considered self-care, it’s never too late, this is the perfect time to start!

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