As we all seem to struggle through the days of high stress, unhealthy fads, and pressure to be our best selves, taking care of ourselves has brought on a whole new meaning in today's world.
Every day, we are confronted with choices; we have to choose between using "natural" deodorant that may pose a threat to your bodily odor or chemical-ridden deodorant that may pose a threat to your health, all while deciding if drinking coffee has positive benefits on your health or not. While these choices are important, and being aware of how we treat our bodies and what we put in them is equally important, I feel that taking care of yourself these days might have just as much to do with other aspects as it does our antiperspirant tendencies and caffeine consumption (or lack thereof).
As a society, we are starting to see mental health as a meaningful component to our overall well-being, but the connection between our mental and physical health is astounding. As much as the typical exercise, sleep, and eat guidelines still stand, it is becoming more and more widely accepted to supplement our daily lives with a variety of health options. We are realizing that to survive in today's world, it is taking more attention to our health and understanding that we may need support when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With the demands of our current lives, we may not be able to do all that we would like to do to be the healthiest we can possibly be, however, part of taking care of yourself may simply be realizing that we need a little extra assistance in these areas at some points.
While junk food and nasty chemicals have been proven to impact our bodies more negatively than positively, true health does not simply mean avoiding things to stay healthy. Staying away from the "bad" things can help our overall health, however, if we are not incorporating the "good" things into our lives, we will likely suffer just as much. Taking care of yourself can look more like getting out of bed early and going for a walk, or sitting down to enjoy a meal with your family. Maybe it means incorporating healthy foods that you know will make you feel good, because you care about your body, or taking a supplement that will boost your health even just a little bit more. As the pressures of this society become more and more burdensome every day, getting back to our roots and channeling the simplistic sides of our lives can be truly beneficial, but we may still need extra support to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps, this could even look like supplementing a stressful task at work with a fun one; for example, scheduling a movie night with friends after a long day at the job. Of all the lessons I have learned in this lifetime, one of the most important things for me has been realizing the importance of finding balance with all things.
When you think of "taking care of yourself," you may think of taking medication when you are sick, or getting an extra hour of sleep when you are exhausted. However, you must take care of yourself in your day-to-day life, so that it does not reach the point where you have to take care of yourself because you are ill. This maintenance could mean unplugging from technology one day a week, or cooking a healthy meal with someone else, but regardless, what I have come to realize about self-care is that it has to be intentional. If it means sitting down across from a therapist once a week, then so be it. Our culture has come to criticize mental health issues, forcing many of us to suffer independently. Through this, we have not been taught the appropriate ways to truly take care of ourselves emotionally. This epidemic proves that we would rather seem to have our whole lives put together than reach out for help when we really need it. Taking better care of ourselves in today's world could simply mean learning coping skills or allowing ourselves to need help. Scientists have proven that stress and anxiety can impact us in a physiological way and these impacts can last for an incredibly long time. If we cannot simply admit that we need to take better care of ourselves, we may never do so.
As we progress into busier lifestyles with added stressors and challenges, we will need to be consciously aware of our own health and needs. As often compared to a cup of marbles, we have to ensure our own cup is filled, and make adjustments to our lives when it is lacking. Our marble jars may look different than the jars of those around us, but only we can figure out what we need to fill them. When they begin to deplete, it is up to us to reassess our lives and determine when we need support, supplements, or rest. Working to find things that benefit us can be a long process, but ensuring that we are adding what we truly need into our lives is monumental. As is true with our mental health, it is okay to ask for help with the physical thing we need help with.
Choosing wellness in our lives is a choice we each have to make, and I think it is time we start making better choices. Being intentional about our deodorant choices, morning beverages, and cups of marbles will only help us to live longer and more prosperous lives. Taking care of ourselves may be a completely different idea than what our grandparents had to deal with, but it does not mean we cannot make choices that will benefit us long term. Whether it is a break you need, or supplemental medication, understand that putting yourself first and listening to your body will help you find exactly what you need to progress, grow, and thrive.
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