What It Means To Take Care Of Yourself
Taking care of yourself can be often difficult when we are under a lot of stress in our daily lives. Especially in the time of the coronavirus, that can be a whole another set of problems.
I have come to a revelation that I have been under high stress for about three years now. I was working at multiple child care centers through a child care agency. When I wasn’t working, I was going to grad school to pursue my master’s and my teaching credential at the same time. I graduated and moved to a small town, which was about an hour from my hometown, as a special education preschool teacher. The workplace was stressful enough as it is, given the circumstances. Few months before the coronavirus took over our lives, I moved back to my hometown, and I got a new job.
The Energizer bunny was the best representation of me because, quite frankly, I didn’t stop. I just kept going and going, banging those drums. It didn’t matter how tired or exhausted I was, as I dragged my feet to get from one place to another. Sometimes, all I wanted to do was take a lot of naps.
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But I believed that at some point, all the running around and the stress I took undertook a toll on me.
Since they issued the stay-at-home order, I was getting the throbbing headaches more than usual, as if someone was hammering at my head. Sometimes, I couldn’t sleep, and I would stare at the ceiling at midnight. I had a few anxiety attacks, and they literally came out of nowhere. I was bawling as I kept muttering to myself, “I’m stressed out” and my thoughts overwhelmed me as I was preparing myself for what the new normal will look like now in this day and age.
Something is wrong, my body would say. I knew I couldn’t ignore the symptoms I am getting and I need to do something about it. And the fact I haven’t been to the doctor for three years is bad enough. The next day, I made an appointment with my doctor to get an annual physical exam. I want to be sure I am healthy and if something is wrong with my body, I will take care of it immediately. That is what it means to take care of yourself.
In the physical sense, yes. But my emotional and mental health is just as important as the physical component. One of the strategies I used to manage my emotional and mental health is doing emotional check-ins daily. They help me analyze how I am feeling and why. Often when I’m feeling a negative emotion, such as irritation, frustration, or being upset, I have to do a deep-analysis into my own feelings and why I reacted the way I did. However, being able to identify those emotions while stressed out is difficult.
We know that when we are under a lot of stress; it affects the body much more than you realize. There are symptoms that can signal the effects of stress. These can be: headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, low sex drive, and much more, according to Healthline. Sound familiar?
I must emphasize that having some stress in our everyday lives is healthy, and it’s beneficial to our health. However, if the ongoing stress is interfering with your daily life and your relationship with your loved ones and friends, it’s time to take a good look at yourself and analyze where the stress is coming from.
And that’s what I had to do.
More than ever, practicing self-care should be a habit that every single one of us should do. Doing so is crucial to manage your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, according to Forbes Magazine.
Here are two simple ways in practicing self-care.
1. Eating Healthy Foods and Exercise
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Runner GIF via GIPHY
I’m sure you heard this over and over again, but it’s true. Eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding carbs and sweets are one of the many ways to take care of yourself. When you eat more fruits and vegetables, you are giving yourself natural vitamins and minerals into your body. Your body will thank you. When you exercise, you release endorphins, in which they trigger positive feelings in your body, boosting your self-esteem.
2. Meditate and Sleep Well
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Meditation helps you bring awareness of your emotions and your well-being and gaining a healthy perspective. I recommend using Headspace app to practice meditation as well to help you sleep better. As for sleeping, studies have shown that over time that having a good night’s sleep has its health benefits, such as reducing stress.
Of course, there are plenty of other strategies that can help you practice self-care, and you might know what that is.
I’m a firm believer that the more you take care of yourself, the better you feel. In fact, if you practice these simple self-care strategies daily, it might help you learn how to love yourself. Taking care of myself is what I strive to do everyday, and I hope every one of you reading this now should do this too.
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