Combat Stress with Self Care
By: Tiffanie Herring, BTTF Member
Wellness is a big topic of conversation these days. A term we’ve been hearing more often is “self-care,” but many people may not know what that means. Self-care, simply put, is doing something to take care of yourself. It could mean taking time out to do something you enjoy. It can also be tools that you implement into your routine to help you stay well. For example, one tool is to focus on your breathing when you notice yourself becoming anxious. Along with breathing, there is an easy-to-remember acronym that helps with overall self-care. MEDS – Meditation, Exercise, Diet, Sleep – can help us live a healthy and happy life:
Meditation - Meditation is mind-body medicine that helps with focus and attention. It can help people gain insight and clarity when they experience intrusive thoughts. Fifteen to twenty minutes of meditation a day can help individuals feel less stressed throughout the day. One of my favorite FREE tools is “Insight Timer.” It’s a great meditation app with the world's largest library of more than 130,000 guided meditations. You can download the app on your phone by visiting your App or Play store.
Exercise - Thirty minutes a day is all you need. It doesn’t have to be a grueling workout. Take a nature walk. Do some gardening. Find any physical activity that helps you move your body in a fun way. Find a good podcast or playlist. Talk on the phone with a friend while you walk, or invite a neighbor to be a walking buddy. It makes exercise so much easier and helps pass the time more quickly.
Diet - This doesn’t mean “be on a diet.” It means maintaining a healthy diet. We all know the foods that are unhealthy that we need to avoid. It’s ok to indulge at times, we’re human. However, most of the time we need to make better choices when we eat. It’s about balance. Everything we consume becomes a part of us. Food is fuel. The better the fuel, the better we feel.
Sleep - This is very different for all of us. However, humans are set on circadian rhythm. Our brains usually want us to sleep at night. Therefore, many people who need to sleep during the day tend to experience more health issues. On average, we need about seven to eight hours of sleep a night. However, it’s not just the number of hours that are important, it’s getting into a REM cycle of restorative sleep. REM sleep is deep sleep and is the most important when it comes to feeling rested and staying healthy. It may be worth investing in some type of app or tracker to monitor sleep cycles as you rest. Restorative sleep is key.
By focusing on these four areas we can create preventative self-care. As its name implies, preventive self-care is designed to prevent or mitigate pain and distress before it fully develops. Essentially, self-care promotes a healthy mind, body and soul. Try implementing MEDS into your routine and notice how your overall health improves.