Article originally posted July, 2021.
Our lives are full of challenges and obligations that can often become overwhelming. When you feel like you are low on energy, unmotivated or like you just need a break, taking some time for yourself to recharge can have positive effects on your physical, mental and emotional health.
Below are things you can do every day to care for yourself:
- Get the right amount of sleep. Not getting enough sleep will not only make you physically tired, but will have ill-effects on your decision-making skills, focus and emotional health, as well. Make sure that you have an established nightly routine with good habits, such as avoiding food and drink right before bed, limiting distractions (like television or cell phone) and using calming techniques to settle your mind.
- Maintain a healthy diet. In addition to making sure that you are eating enough during the day – even when you are busy – try to choose a varied diet with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Consume red meat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol in moderation and be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Do some physical activity. Daily exercise can help to lower feelings of stress and anxiety and improve your overall mood. Even if you don’t have an established fitness routine, just walking for 30 minutes every day can have a positive impact.
- Do something that you enjoy. Set aside specific time to practice a hobby or activity that you enjoy. This could be something relaxing, like reading or journaling, or something active, like hiking or swimming.
- Get organized with goals and priorities. Determine what is important to you and what needs done right now, versus what can wait. Find a method that works for you for tracking your responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you feel like you have too much on your plate.
- Pray, meditate or relax. It can be hard to make time for relaxation during your day, so try scheduling a specific time each day. Any calming activity can work – knitting, baking, yoga, walking – whatever works for you. Focus on taking deep breaths and quieting your mind.
- Focus on what you did well. At the end of your day, think about what you have been able to get done, not about what is still left to do. Recognize thoughts that are negative or unhelpful and refocus on the positive. Take some time to practice gratitude and write down or think about what you are thankful for.
- Connect with your loved ones. Whether virtually or in-person, spend some time with your family and friends. Share how you are feeling and ask them about their day. Perform an unexpected act of kindness, like baking cookies or mailing a card.
If you are experiencing severe or concerning symptoms that last longer than two weeks, it may be time to seek professional help. Talk to your healthcare provider or contact FHP Psychiatry and Health Psychology at 740-689-6600.