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5 Self-Care Essentials

Self-care may sound very selfish — but is that the whole story?

On social media, you may see #selfcare all the time. It can be under a picture of a person with a face mask, getting a massage, or even of a book. It gives you the impression of indulgence, but taking care of your mind and body is anything but. If you don't take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else, or even just have a long, enjoyable life?

Start with Sleep

The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Now, this means good quality sleep. Not reading, or playing on your tablet while in bed. Deep sleep allows your body to recover and heal. A bad night once in a while is one thing — or if you have a newborn baby in the house — but eventually your mind and body are physically affected by poor sleep.

Good Nutrition

Food is fuel — and some is better quality than others. Now, this does not mean you can never have a donut or eat pizza again. However, the majority of your food intake should be from fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grains and legumes and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. These foods provide the nutrients your body needs to function properly. So, balance it out and give your body what it needs, and enjoy the occasional indulgence

Get Moving

When people hear this, many think they need to hit the gym. And that's a great way to get your body moving and really improve your health and fitness. But, most people have very sedentary jobs. They sit at a desk or at a computer for hours and don't realize how long they are actually sitting. So, set timers to get up and move around. Take the dog on a daily walk, or go out when the kids ride their bikes. Just move your body.

A Little Alone Time

Sometimes you just need a little alone time. You can use this time to unwind with a book, take a walk, get in a workout, take a nap, meditate or anything else that lets you recharge. It doesn't necessarily need to be a whole day, maybe just an hour.

Do the Things that Make You Happy

Don't discount activities that make you happy as irrelevant. Your happiness is important and makes life enjoyable. Make time for those things — whether alone or with your family. It could be watching a movie, going to a play or to a museum, a concert or just having a picnic in your backyard with your family. Whatever it is, try to make it a priority.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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