You have a project handed to you at work. You think of the other items on your to-do list at home and start to feel overwhelmed with it all. You decide that by skipping lunch, and your gym workout, and your chiropractic appointment other health treatments you might be able to catch up. When we get stressed, our self-care is likely the first thing to fall by the wayside. And that makes things worse for you.
Self-care. The term gets snickered at sometimes who don’t understand the true meaning of it. It is truly just a few basic habits that are crucial to your functioning. No pain, no gain. The more you sacrifice the bigger the reward at the end, yes? Actually no.
By taking the hard work adage too far, we are counterproductive. Our abilities are worn out. Skills aren’t as sharp as they could be. We lose focus and productivity.
You may think and feel you are working hard. What you are doing is spinning your wheels. Productivity has a shelf life. There is a tipping point – which is different for each of us. But if you are working too long over time without a break, your body and mind will stop working at optimal levels.
Self-care actually helps you make progress faster for a few reasons:
- Self-care prevents ‘overload burnout’: When you’ve pushed to the limit – for too long – you feel you can’t take it anymore and give up. Self-care helps you decompress along the way and helps you avoid getting to this point.
- Self-care reduces the negative effects of stress: Little bits of stress are healthy and have purpose, but if there is too much, it breaks down your body and mind.
- Self-care aids refocus: Take a break. Go for a walk. Breaks are the epitome of self-care and studies have shown they are great for helping you perform better. Clear your mind.
Keep in mind that self-care is not a reward, it is a process. For keeping a strong body and mind.
Treating your Body Well Reduces Stress
Chiropractic, massage and acupuncture are all important self-care necessities. By relaxing your body and easing the daily stress from it, you are maintaining its health.
Just like exercise and sleep, your body needs adjustments and alignment from time to time. It is not a luxury to visit a practitioner. Daily living can be hard on bodies. Stress brings out some of the issues that have been hidden away.
When our bodies start breaking down due to stress, it is past time to see a massage therapist, chiropractor or acupuncturist. Don’t let your body get to this point. Treat it as the machine that holds you together. Take care of it.
Make Time to Eat Well and Exercise, Even If You’re Busy
It’s easy to neglect exercise when you’re overextended because, well, exercise requires time, energy, and often a change of clothes or trip to the shower. It’s daunting, messy, and uncomfortable.
It’s important, though, so you want to make time for it in your daily routine. Consider teaming up with a workout buddy or a group to hold yourself accountable. Or, find a gym that’s close to work, or better yet, along your commute. This way, you get a workout and you beat traffic.
It’s hard to eat healthy in a world filled with processed food. It’s best to start small. Do you want to eat less sugar? Control your carb intake? Focus on one area at a time rather than trying to overhaul your entire diet at once.
Also, sometimes eating junk feels like self-care. Nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but in contrast, some think of healthy food as the enemy, so don’t eat it as much of it as you should. This really involves changing the way you think about eating well entirely, but you can start by experimenting with healthy foods you might actually like, and not trying to force yourself to eat stuff you hate just because it’s healthy.
Practice Good Emotional Hygiene
The physical aspect is obviously important, but when a lot of people talk about self-care, they’re talking about emotional health: dealing with stress, anxiety, sadness, depression. And that’s probably because we tend to ignore it more. As psychologist Guy Winch asks, “We brush and floss but what daily activity do we do to maintain our psychological health?”
When you’re feeling any kind of intense emotion—stress or anger, for instance—it helps to take a quick break to process it. What exactly are you feeling, and why? It might help to run down a list of feeling words to help better pinpoint your emotion.
Try to set aside a minute to acknowledge your feelings, even if it’s just admitting to yourself that you feel rejected. Stop what you’re doing, walk away for a second, and pinpoint your feeling. Acknowledging it serves a practical purpose. For one, it forces me to slow down and think more rationally. It’s like taking a break. It also keeps emotions from taking over even more.
Keeping a journal is a good idea, too. It’s cathartic. And in a study from the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment researchers found that journaling for 15–20 minutes helped study participants cope with traumatic, stressful, or emotional events.
It sounds very touchy-feely, but that’s sort of the point of emotional hygiene. You want to take time to deal with your feelings, so you can control them and get back to work. Controlling them means acknowledging and understanding them.
Balance your whole body
Self-care is balance. It brings your body back into alignment to run more efficiently and productively. And it feels good to know you are taking care of yourself. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Call for an appointment at Shimer Chiropractic today.