Stressed out? Try improving these 3 areas of self-care –

Posted: April 29, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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SALT LAKE CITY Its easy to forget or neglect our own basic self-care needs during times of stress. However, its during these times of increased stress, difficulty and uncertainty that we need to stay connected with ourselves and care for ourselves the most.

Thats when we most need to move our bodies, get enough sleep, not skip meals, reprioritize, scale back, allow for rest, reassess expectations and protect our boundaries. Its not the time to put these things on the back burner.

With that said, I want to offer suggestions for how to get back to the basics of self-care. Id even call these basic "hygiene" routines things that could be equated with brushing your teeth and taking a shower. These are self-care essentials that will make sure your basic needs are being met.

Youll feel better physically, mentally and emotionally if you are eating regularly and adequately. While it might be easy to forget, put it off or question the importance, I promise that you will feel more resilient to all that life is throwing at you if your body and your brain are well-fueled.

Anticipate hunger every two to four hours, depending on the size of your last meal or snack. A meal will likely keep you full for close to three to four hours, while a snack will probably be closer to two hours. Choose three to five food groups for meals and two to three food groups for snacks.

Think through a typical day starting with breakfast. What time do you usually get hungry? From there, think about what time to anticipate being hungry for lunch. If youre going longer than three or four hours between breakfast and lunch, you may want to plan for a snack. And so on throughout the day.

Stress and anxiety can often overwhelm you and decrease appetite or make hunger and fullness cues feel less reliable. But just because you dont feel hungry or dont have an appetite doesnt mean you dont need to eat. If your emotions are causing eating patterns to become irregular and inadequate, you may want to establish a flexible structure for yourself to make sure you are eating in predictable ways. This can help you avoid chaotic and haphazard eating patterns.

Its often because you arent eating regularly and adequately that your hunger/fullness cues and appetite feel unreliable or muted. When you are eating adequately and at regular intervals, your body can actually communicate its needs more effectively.

Physical activity will look differently for everyone. As such, basic hygiene for exercise would be to find a way to move your body each day in a way that you enjoy. It doesnt need to be a certain amount or a certain intensity, just enough for you to gain the mental, emotional and physical benefits of physical activity.

This might mean taking a walk, playing with your kids, gardening, stretching, a favorite exercise video, online class or anything else that would feel refreshing to you. Anything "counts"!

Instead of exercising to manipulate your body or to compensate for what you ate, look at it as an opportunity to connect to your body and support its overall well-being. That will make it more enjoyable and rewarding for you and youre more likely to be consistent with it when done with positive intentions.

Just like youll want to establish predictability and rhythm with food, basic hygiene would encourage you to do the same with sleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, current sleep recommendations are as follows:

Commit or recommit to getting in bed at a time that allows for the full recommended amount of sleep. You may need a little time before to start winding down and preparing for a good nights sleep.

While its not necessary to do more than whats essential during stressful times, it is wise to make sure your basic needs are being met. Prioritizing consistent nutrition, enjoyable movement and adequate sleep will allow you to support your health and wellbeing and increase your mental, emotional and physical resiliency during difficult times.

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Stressed out? Try improving these 3 areas of self-care -

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April 29th, 2020 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Self-Help