On airplanes, parents are instructed to secure their own oxygen mask before assisting others.The same idea holds true for self-care. It’s up to us to realize when we need to pause and put ourselves first, especially when we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Because when we take the time for ourselves, we show up better for those around us.
Self-care sometimes gets the rap of being indulgent or selfish, but it’s not. It’s your self-administered stress defense mechanism, and you know best when it’s time to turn it on.
The consequences of not pressing pause? Stress, exhaustion and burnout.
The antidote? Putting yourself first on a regular basis. Now more than ever, it’s essential to take time to do the things you love, and the things that keep you replenished and grounded. Below, we outline six self-care strategies guaranteed to help you recharge.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors of our overall health and wellness. And getting enough of it is crucial to ensuring key components of our health are optimized. Sleep is the time our bodies need to heal and replenish themselves for the next day, and most of us need seven to eight hours of it per night. Think of sleep as a self-care mechanism, one that’s critical to your emotional and physical health.
2. Head Outside
Just 20 minutes of Mother Nature can significantly lower stress hormone levels. Visit your nearest park for a stroll. Or just enjoy sitting on your front porch or in your backyard.
3. Boost Your Serotonin with Exercise
Exercising helps us feel energized, while also relieving stress. Find a routine you love and stick with it. In our new normal, that might mean joining an online exercise class and working out at home. On days when even the thought of exercise sounds too exhausting, take a casual walk with your dog or a loved one.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is a simple way to reset when you’re in the middle of a marathon meeting day or are feeling like you’re constantly on the go without any breaks. To reduce stress try taking a few minutes to breathe, focus and be present in the moment.
5. Get Some “Me” Time
Often, we feel “on” when around other people, whether that’s at our job, with our families or our friends. Flying solo gives us the guilt-free time we need to recharge, even if it’s only for a few minutes. For a busy parent with children, “me” time might mean five minutes locked in the laundry room alone or spending an afternoon doing a favorite activity. For an introvert, it may be cuddling up on the sofa and reading a book. Whatever it is, take the time to take care of you. You deserve it.
6. Focus on Prevention
One way to take care of yourself is to stay healthy through prevention. You can prevent sickness through lifestyle choices, such as a healthy diet and exercise. You can also make prevention a priority by maintaining your health screenings and participating in proactive programs like Ochsner’s Concierge Health, a new program centered around a holistic approach to health and wellness. In addition to having a dedicated concierge physician, you also get access to a full team of health and wellness clinicians, including dietitians, health coaches and exercise physiologists, that will serve as partners in your health and wellness journey.
Concierge Health launches in spring 2020 at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. Join today and get the latest updates about the program.