What does self care mean to you?
What, if anything, do you do to care for yourself on a daily basis?
Have you tried different activities to help bring yourself relief?
To pick up where we left off, self care is anything that helps you to slow down, relax, draw inward and be still, and regain your energy for life. The practice of self care looks different from person to person so it’s essential for you to determine what works best for you.
In Part 1 we talked about the importance of taking care of yourself so that you are available and able to be the best version of yourself for those around you. Not only does tending to ourselves benefit us, it benefits everyone around us too.
As previously discussed, calming and quieting our minds is highly advantageous. Breathing helps to center us and ground us, pulling us out of the chaos in our minds and the emotions in our bodies.
In addition to breathing and managing our emotions (both of which are indeed good for our body and soul too), let’s explore ways to practice self care for our bodies. Heck, our bodies are crucial to our experience on earth!
What comes to mind when you read the word movement?
What about the word exercise?
I’m guessing that movement sounds kinder and gentler than exercise to some of you, but both words speak to taking care of your physical body.
For some of you, exercise might be a part of your daily routine. For others, that word alone may make you cringe (or you may have limited physical capacity or a negative belief around exercise). Regardless, moving your body will help reduce anxiety in whatever capacity you are able to move.
It is widely known that exercise produces a chemical called an endorphin. Endorphins do two amazing things: 1) they reduce our perception of pain and 2) trigger a positive feeling in our body.
Because of the connection between our physical health and our mental health, moving your body is highly valuable for your overall well-being.
If you already incorporate physical movement into your life I’m guessing you know why it is important to you and the purpose it serves.
If you’re new to this idea, or would like to begin moving your body more, I encourage you to identify your ‘why’. (You can read more about goals in a previous blog post- check it out!)
Commit to adding movement to your life and moving your body daily.
You might choose to care for your body by standing at your desk rather than sitting for a period of time. Or you may decide to take a walk down the hall between meetings instead of responding to emails (which will still be there but you’ll be better equipped to respond to them since you’ll be coming at them fresh). Better yet, take a walk outside!
If you do not already have an exercise system in place, start small (or consult your physician if needed) and determine one way you can include movement in your day today.
Here are a few suggestions:
Find a way to move your body that is uplifting, realistic and positive for you. And, importantly, give a big shout out to your body for it’s ability to carry you, sustain you, and enable you to move and take care of yourself. Thank yourself from head to toe!
Moving your body will not only benefit your physical health, but it will in turn help to boost your mental health, creating a win-win relationship.
Diet plays an important part in anxiety treatment. Fueling you body with good nutrition and fresh food will help to make a big difference in how you feel overall. Aim to eat whole, fresh, non-processed foods every single day. Ideally everything you put into your mouth would be a whole food, but sometimes that’s not possible. Just do your best and remember fresh is best.
Here are foods to avoid if you’re struggling with anxiety:
Here are foods to eat help reduce anxiety:
Nutrition wise, what is one healthier choice you can make today?
Maybe an anxiety-reducing choice could be to cut back on your sugar intake. Perhaps you could take nuts and dark chocolate to work to eat during the afternoon slump instead of indulging in the usual sugar laden pastry.
Whatever it is, map it out and make a plan you can commit to. Choose a way to include a healthy, and maybe new, habit into your day. Not only will the good nutrition do it’s job on the inside of your body, but you will feel empowered by having made a healthy choice for yourself.
One small change leads to more changes. The domino effect is pretty cool.
Whatever change(s) you consider making in your movement or your meals, remember to start small and do not aim to overhaul your exercise routine or diet all at once. The small wins lead to big successes in time.
In Part 3, Soul, the 30 Self-Care Strategies to Relieve Anxiety will all come together.