BY BRAD KRAUSE
Self-care has become a buzz word for modern times, but the fact remains that putting yourself first has plenty of benefits. For both your mental and physical health, adopting these self-care strategies can make a huge difference. Plus, you don’t have to take up meditation or move to a deserted island to start de-stressing. Since self-care is a very personal choice, you can adapt any number of ideas that make sense for your daily needs. Here are a few ideas.
Remember to Exercise
Evidence suggests that exercise might be an often-neglected component of mental health. That’s because exercise can reduce anxiety, bust negative moods, and enhance your self-esteem. The best part about adding exercise is that you can stay fit and reduce stress at the same time, and tech like fitness trackers can provide motivation and help you reach those goals. The Apple Smartwatch, for example, offers features like step counts, workout monitoring, and even heart rate statistics; if you’re an Android user, you might check out the Galaxy Watch Active 2, which is lightweight and can do everything from track your walking route to keep up with your caffeine consumption.
For seniors looking to boost their physical activity, some Medicare Advantage plans—like the ones Humana offers—also include the Silver Sneakers fitness program. Silver Sneakers helps older adults access memberships for fitness classes like yoga, team sports, and outdoor activities, plus it’s usually included in your healthcare coverage.
Snooze a Bit More
Research suggests that getting more sleep can promote your physical and mental health. Harvard Medical School notes that inadequate sleep alone can cause stress, irritability, and even mood disorders.
Therefore, getting a few more hours of sleep can do wonders for your overall well-being. Per Healthline, older adults—ages 65 and up—require seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Adults ages 18 to 64 should aim for seven to nine hours for optimal health.
Spend Time on Your Own
Studies show that people who enjoy more “me time” can concentrate better, enjoy higher productivity, and think more creatively, Psychology Today explains. Shutting out the world occasionally helps you remain independent and clear your head, which are crucial steps to supporting your emotions and mental health.
Enjoying hobbies is another facet of me-time that’s beneficial for everyone. Whether you enjoy creating art, reading, watching TV, or playing a sport, these outlets can help you to ignore outside pressures and focus inward.
Say No When It Serves You
When it comes to taking care of yourself, learning to say no increases your self-confidence and keeps you from committing to things that don’t serve you. After all, wasting your time can be more stressful than environmental or other influences.
Plus, doing things that make you uncomfortable is harmful to your mental state. Sticking up for yourself is crucial. Saying no helps you do that. Whether it’s internal, like urging yourself to complete a workout when you’re sick, or external, such as a colleague piling more work on you, acknowledging your limits and honoring them is essential.
Get Outside More
Of course, when you pair exercise with getting outdoors for fresh air, the benefits increase. Getting into nature helps restore energy, cut down on negative feelings, and reduce stress. Even without exercising, spending time in nature can help ground you and provide a calming effect.
Try Natural Remedies
While many adults require prescription help to overcome mental health challenges, there are non-traditional options to support conventional treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends “complementary health approaches” to treating mental illness. Among their suggestions are the addition of omega-3 and folate supplements to your diet, as both nutrients have proven mental health benefits.
Yoga, tai chi—and yes, meditation—are also among the Alliance’s recommendations for natural techniques to reduce mental health stressors.
Whether you have significant mental health challenges or are simply overstressed, there are accessible solutions that can help. From getting nutrition boosts to incorporating downtime into your routine, getting healthier in both body and mind is possible no matter your health status or age.
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