Self Care in 2021

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Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you. – Katie Reed

If there’s one thing I have learned from 2020, it would be the importance of slowing down and taking better care of myself. Having spent most of my career in healthcare, I know how important it is to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest. I haven’t always practiced what I preached and I will be the first one to admit just how difficult it can be to practice self-care. Meeting deadlines at work, running the kids to after-school activities, getting the housework and laundry done. Did I mention I have a lot of laundry? All of these things have a tendency to consume most of my time and energy. I don’t know how many times I have said “there’s just not enough hours in the day”. It’s time for me to make some changes.

What is self-care? Self-care is a general term that describes everything you do deliberately for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. As simple as it sounds, many of us pay little attention to self-care. This is why ‘deliberately’ is one of the most important words in the definition. You must be aware of your behaviors and make a deliberate effort to make some changes like limiting your time on social media, walking on your lunch break or going to bed 30 minutes earlier.

Many misconstrue self-care as being selfish, it’s far from that. When you pay adequate attention to your well-being, you’re not considering your needs alone. You’re strengthening yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for the people around you.

Here are some self-care tips to improve your wellbeing:

  1. Take care of your physical health. Physical health is a core part of self-care. The body and mind have a unique connection and it’s impossible to be in high spirits when you don’t feel good. Exercise really is the best medicine both for physical and mental health.
  2. Get enough sleep. Too many adults are sleep deprived. Not getting enough adequate sleep can take a toll on our overall health increasing your chance for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Sleep scientists recommend adults get 6-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
  3. Be a healthy eater. We really are what we eat. If you fill your body with processed foods filled with fat, salt and sugar, you are increasing your chances of developing chronic disease and inflammation. Make a decision to start reducing processed foods and eating more nutritious, ‘whole’ foods.
  4. Identify things that matter to you. What is going to motivate you to start taking better care of yourself? For me, it’s my children. I want to stay well so I can enjoy their milestones.
  5. Change your mindset. Too often we focus on all the negative things in our lives. If you’ve been on social media this year or have listened to the news then it’s not very hard to be overwhelmed with negativity. Negative thinking causes your body to release stress hormones which damage your body. Reduce your time on social media, listening to the news or choose to avoid it all together. Start focusing on the positive things in your life and practice “gratitude”.
  6. Learn to say no. It’s easier said than done but we really are limited in what we can do. It is better to commit to one or two things and do them really well than to spread yourself so thin that you feel in a panic. Everyone suffers. You know the cliché, ‘when momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy’. It’s so true.

2020 has certainly been a year to remember or maybe forget. Either way, despite the challenges of the past year, I am grateful for all of my blessings. I am grateful for my health and intend to start doing more to improve it. Who’s with me? Check out our website each week as I will be posting self-care ideas in my “Get Well, Be Well, Stay Well” series.

For more information, contact Kim Terrell at Kimberly_terrell@ncsu.edu or 828-349-2047.

selfcare

Written By

Kim Terrell, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionKim TerrellExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Kim E-mail Kim N.C. Cooperative Extension, Macon County Center
Posted on Jan 4, 2021
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