Boost your health with self-love and self-care

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Self love and slef care

Loving and taking care of yourself are essential to your health and happiness. We give our attention and energy to people in our lives, sometimes forgetting to take a moment to be kind to ourselves. This puts a drain on our emotions and physical fitness.

Self-love and self-care (SLSC) help us to be the best person that we can be. Whether you’re single or in a relationship — it is not selfish to engage in SLSC. It is vital. After all, when we choose to practice SLSC, we improve our own well-being. This makes us better able to support those we love when they need us most.

Here are ten simple SLSC practices you can start incorporating into your life today:

Sleep better

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important SLSC tips. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Adults who sleep less than 7 hours a night may have more health issues than those who sleep 7 or more hours a night. If you are not well-rested, the remainder of your day will be spent feeling groggy, sluggish, and even unhappy. On the other hand, proper sleep can reduce negative tolls on the body, such as stress, depression, and even the risk of heart disease.

Journal your inner life

Journaling offers the benefits of SLSC by allowing us to delve into our minds and explore the root causes of why we feel the way that we do. PositivePsychology.com recommends journaling as a way to deal with stress. They say it can support coping and reduce the impact of stressful events — potentially avoiding burnout and chronic anxiety. When you write, be honest with yourself, openly jotting down your thoughts, emotions, and reasoning behind your actions.

End toxic relationships

If you want to embrace the necessary steps of SLSC, ending toxic or harmful relationships is extremely important. It is sometimes difficult to see that a relationship is toxic. VeryWellMind.com explains that while some signs of a toxic relationship are more obvious — like physical abuse, repeated infidelity, and inappropriate sexual behavior — others can be harder to detect. It may involve disrespectful, dishonest, or controlling behavior. For example, your partner cuts you down frequently. As a result, your mental health may begin to suffer. Whether they are friendships, sexual partners, or even family members, do not hold on to relationships that cause you more harm than good. You don’t deserve the stress, negativity, or self-doubt that unhealthy relationships can breed.

Eat well

Do not underestimate the significance of healthy eating in terms of SLSC. Being mindful of what you put into your body to nourish it is vital to how it will function. Eating healthy will enable you to operate much more easily and happily. It helps us look and feel our physical best. Further, the benefits go beyond the physical. SutterHealth.org says that good nutrition significantly affects our mental health, too. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help us think clearly and feel more alert. It can also improve concentration and attention span. Conversely, an inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impaired decision-making, and can slow down reaction time. In fact, a poor diet can actually aggravate, and may even lead to, stress and depression.

“If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” RuPaul

Exercise regularly

This is important to SLSC for many reasons, both physical and chemical. While exercising releases endorphins (the ‘feel-good’ hormone) that boosts your mood and reduces pain, it also improves your sleep, increases self-esteem, and overall reduces stress. Keeping fit and looking your best also boosts your confidence. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. Moreover, everyone can experience the health benefits of physical activity — age, abilities, ethnicity, shape, or size do not matter.

Take a walk outside

WebMD lists several benefits of being outside: It's free. It helps you get vitamin D which is important to your bones, blood cells, and immune system. It also helps your body absorb more of certain minerals, like calcium and phosphorus. It lessens anxiety. It can make you feel less angry and stressed. Sunlight helps keep your serotonin levels up. This helps raise your energy and keeps your mood calm, positive, and focused. Sunlight also seems to energize special cells in your immune system called T cells that help fight infection.

Walking outside can be a social experience. You connect more with the people and places in your community. Human contact and a sense of community are important to your mental health.

The outdoors help set your sleep cycle. Cells in your eyes need enough light to get your body’s internal clock working right. Early morning sunlight in particular seems to help people get to sleep at night. It helps you feel better about yourself. As little as 5 minutes of outdoor activity can help improve your self-esteem. This is especially true if you’re near water or green space.

Studies show that time in nature improves your focus and can boost your creative problem-solving abilities. It boosts your creativity.

Many plants put substances, including organic compounds called phytoncides, into the air that seem to improve immune function.

Do something you love

So often, we find ourselves thinking about the things we’d rather be doing while engaged in the stuff we ‘must’ do (like working, cooking, cleaning). However, it’s just as essential to make time for doing the things that you love. Take on a hobby. It will alleviate the strains placed by life's mundane activities. According to Self.com, the psychological benefits of engaging in a hobby include immediate effects on your mood, and long-term boons to your resilience skills and sense of self. Biological effects can take the form of better physical performance via, say, sports and exercise as well as improved immune function and less pain. Some hobbies unlock a wealth of social benefits, including combating loneliness and supporting sharper social skills. Other hobbies have behavioral benefits, meaning they can lead to building good-for-you habits and routines such as hobbies that get you outside, encourage mindfulness skills, or make you stick to a schedule.

Take a break from social media

Social media is an excellent place to network, keep in touch with or make new friends, gain creative ideas, or even to kill time, but it can also be a toxic environment. Give it up for a few days, longer if you can, and you’ll notice a positive difference. This is one of the SLSC techniques you can truly benefit from. According to researchers at Hackensack Meridian Health, unplugging from your social-media accounts may be restorative. A one-week social-media break may significantly reduce anxiety and depression. Your social media break doesn't have to be all or nothing. Some people scale back their social-media usage, while others unplug periodically.

Recognize your own beauty

Celebrate your radiance. You are beautiful. In the practice of SLSC, you see yourself as the lovable, sex-positive being that you are. Take this on and your world will shift for the better. HerCulture.org blogs in essence: It’s hard to feel confident in our media-saturated society, regardless of your age or gender. We are bombarded daily by images of ostensibly flawless models wherever we go, and we so often feel the urge to compare ourselves. We devalue our own beauty. The first step to self-love is to recognize your own beauty as intrinsic and highly individual. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror. Every time you look in the mirror, try to find something new to fall in love with. Remind yourself out loud of your beauty. How many times have you told yourself, I’m ugly? I’m fat? How about, I'm beautiful? I'm charming? I'm witty?

Reach out

A true testament to understanding SLSC is to reach out when you need help. Whether it’s something small, like having your partner run downstairs to get the paper towel because your knee hurts, calling a friend to talk to when you’re feeling down, or asking your mom to babysit the kids while you go on a date with a promising person. There is no shame in asking for what you need. The people who care about you will be glad to be there for you.

In a nutshell...

The benefits of SLSC are paramount to being your best self. By taking care of and loving yourself to the fullest extent, you will be healthier physically and mentally, your confidence level rises, you improve your ability to take on life’s challenges, and be better equipped to be there for the people you love.

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” —Lucille Ball


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