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Self-care means being able to take care of one's physical and emotional health. This could mean taking a relaxing bath or practicing meditation. Essentially, whatever relaxes you, your mind, and your body can be considered self-care.
According to Kelsey Patel, a Los Angeles–based wellness expert, self-care is important to help you cope with life’s daily stressors like long work hours and high amounts of responsibilities. Since your needs and preferences change often, so does the list of activities that you can count as self-care. For example, you might find yoga an effective stress reliever, but not so much the following day.
Brighid Courtney, a faculty member at the Wellness Council of America, says that taking care of yourself leads to various benefits like increased productivity, lower stress levels, and even higher self-esteem. All of them are important for busy professionals as their work performance relies on their bodies. If there’s too much stress, it can slow you down or even prevent you from working. So read on to learn some self-care tips you can use to reduce your stress.
6 Self-Care Tips to Reduce Stress
Aside from scheduling your daily routine in such a way that it creates the least amount of stress, it is still important for you to have a way to relax and unwind. One possible means to do so is through meditation as it can reduce stress, improve focus, and boost overall mood. Set aside a few minutes daily to practice mindfulness or use a meditation app.
Exercise can help you feel centered and happy. According to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, regular aerobic exercises can stimulate and relax your body. Additionally, clinical trials have proved that exercises may also help relieve anxiety disorders and clinical depression. Therefore, it is a good idea to add some physical activities to your daily routine. Some examples include taking yoga classes or spending a few minutes walking around.
Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits
Your diet plays a crucial role in stress reduction. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are essential in ensuring you have enough energy to cope with stressful events. However, Karen Hemmes, a registered dietitian at Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix, advises that you should avoid processed and sugary foods as much as possible as they can increase your cortisol levels, the hormone primarily responsible for stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Aside from meditation, exercise, and a healthy diet, giving your body time to rest is crucial in recharging your batteries and reducing stress. According to Mark S. Aloia, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver, lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to the effects of stress. Make sure to get at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night and establish a regular sleep schedule.
Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Working all the time can be unhealthy for your mental and physical health. Make time for activities that are not work-related, such as having hobbies like painting or hanging out with friends and family. Doing something outside work increases productivity, boosts morale, and reduces stress levels.
Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
Going through an 8-hour shift without taking breaks is unhealthy. Breaks are essential for your body to recover and maintain its focus, as well as prevent stress from building up. In fact, regular breaks can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day. You can take a few minutes every hour or so to stretch, go for a quick short walk, chat with your colleagues, or simply take a few deep breaths.
4 Stress Management Techniques
Practice Proper Time Management
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty with your tasks, it is possible that you have poor time management. Without it, you can experience high-stress levels. Try using techniques such as the Pomodoro technique or time blocking to manage your time more effectively.
Know When to Ask for Help
While it is admirable to be able to do things without the help of others, it is also important to know when you can't do it on your own. Ideally, it is during times like this that you should delegate tasks to others. This can help you reduce your workload and stress levels.
Learn How to Say "No"
Much like knowing when to delegate work to others is important, saying "no" to additional responsibilities is also necessary for maintaining your mental and physical health. Practice setting boundaries and prioritizing your own needs.
Seek Support From Colleagues or Professionals
If you're feeling overwhelmed or when the going gets tough, don't be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues, friends, or family. In fact, you can even consider seeking a professional. Talking to a counselor or therapist, or simply reaching out to a family member or friend can be a great source of support and help.
Self-care is key to productivity and stress reduction, especially for busy individuals. If you prioritize yourself, it can lead to a more fulfilling life. So remember to look after yourself physically and mentally, and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.
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