What does it really mean to take care of yourself? Contrary to what Instagram shows, it’s not a spa day, an exclusive yoga camp or a weekly detox with squeezed juices. The basis of self-care is listening to our needs and signals and the determination to give our body what it longs for. Not just on our birthday or during two weeks of summer vacation. Every day!
How do we move self-care from deadlock? How can we make it more than just a mere phrase, to find everyday, sustainable ways to practice it and thus preserve our health? Since we will never have more time than now and since life will probably never be slower and simpler, we present you with five habits that can find their place even in the thickest of schedules.
1. GO FOR A WALK
Every step is significant. Even if we don’t take the time to train regularly, it’s hard to find a good excuse for not being able to include at least a half-hour walk on the way to work or back home. The ideal goal, doctors say, is about 10,000 steps a day, that is, about 7 kilometers or an hour and a half of walking. If you find this task boring, try to change the location every time and explore different parts of the city. If you feel like you’re wasting time, download a podcast, an audio lecture or a book to listen to along the way. And if you are the type of person who draws additional motivation from numbers, there are many applications that will count your steps and thus encourage you in your daily goal.
2. BRING LUNCH
Even the birds in the sky know that a varied diet and intake of all macro- and micro-nutrients are key for our body to get everything it needs for normal functioning. However, it is one thing to know it and quite another to practice it. Studies have shown that lunch at work is the meal when we most often slip opting for fast food. That is why it is best to bring it from home. Even a quick meal that can be prepared while you are getting ready for work in the morning – like boiled vegetables, a roasted piece of meat or boiled eggs – is better than any piece of pizza.
3. ADD ADDITIONAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Supplements are a great way to give your body all the necessary vitamins and minerals every day. The most common supplements are vitamin D3, which we almost all lack, followed by zinc, selenium, vitamin C and magnesium, because they strengthen the immune system and the flu season is around the corner, as well as iron, since this mineral is most often in deficit. Be sure to check your blood count and find out where you need extra support and protection.
4. NOWHERE WITHOUT A BOTTLE OF WATER
We all know the advice repeated a thousand times that we should drink a lot of water, yet quite often the day passes by with us having only drunk two or three glasses. One way to prevent this from happening is to always have water with you. We suggest that you get a handy reusable bottle so that you can always top it up and also use it as a hydration reminder. It is proven that we take in more water when we have water in front of our eyes.
5. GO TO BED BEFORE 11 PM
Yes, this old advice from our grandparents is actually scientifically substantiated. Professionally, when we talk about harmonizing habits with the clock, we are talking about the Circadian rhythm – the internal biological rhythm of harmonizing day and night functions in the human body. This rhythm is key to regulating blood pressure, temperature, brain functions, hormones and many other processes in the body, and the discovery of molecular mechanisms controlling its functioning was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize. Aside from the importance of aligning with the Sun and Moon, the chances of you sleeping the recommended seven or eight hours are drastically higher if you go to bed before midnight.
These are just some of the small healthy habits that can improve the quality of your health in the long run. They seem tiny, but self-care is recognizable by the small things.