The Proactive Path to Self-Care

Do you only think about self-care when you’re already in trouble? You want to eat healthier because your doctor says you need to lower your cholesterol, or you decide to start meditating because job stress is keeping you up at night.

Self-care is more effective when it’s an ongoing part of your life. Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to catch up, and you may increase your risk for many serious health conditions.

Almost 80 percent of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes could be prevented with positive lifestyle changes, according to the World Health Organization.

Start being more proactive about self-care. Adopt new habits that will enhance your physical, social, and psychological wellbeing.

Self-Care Habits for Your Physical Wellbeing:

1. Lose weight.

Obesity puts a heavy strain on your heart and joints.

Take off excess pounds by eating nutrient dense food and reducing your portion sizes. Preparing meals at home instead of dining out will give you more control over the ingredients.

2. Eat more produce.

Plan your daily menu around vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods.

Most plant foods provide fiber and important vitamins and minerals with relatively few calories.

3. Cut down on salt and sugar.

The average American consumes 3 times the recommended amount of sugar, and almost 90% consume too much sodium.

Avoiding most processed foods will help you to stay within safe limits.

4. Exercise regularly.

Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or a combination of intense and moderate workouts.

Train for strength and flexibility too.

5. Sleep well.

Your body and mind need adequate sleep to function well.

Darken your bedroom and block out background noise so you can get 7 to 8 hours of quality slumber each night.

6. Quit smoking.

Tobacco causes cancer and damages your heart. Most smokers need five attempts or more to quit permanently so keep trying.

Talk with your doctor about medication or other tools that may help.

Self-Care Habits for Your Social Wellbeing:

1. Eat family dinners.

Eating together strengthens family connections. In addition to enjoying the conversation and shared experience, you’re also likely to eat a more balanced diet.

2. Cultivate friendships. Supportive friendships enrich your life by building your confidence and resilience.

Schedule standing dates for coffee and lunch. Call a friend when you’re upset or when you want to share happy news.

3. Join a club.

Some experts believe that loneliness can be just as hazardous to your health as smoking.

If you’re searching for a sense of community, do volunteer work or join a club where you can find others who share your interests.

Self-Care Habits for Your Psychological Wellbeing:

1. Live mindfully.

Meditate daily or engage in other practices that help you to focus on the here and now. Slow down and concentrate on one activity at a time.

2. Find a hobby. Fill your leisure hours with rewarding projects. Learn to play a musical instrument or study a foreign language.

Cook gourmet dinners or build wooden furniture. There are many inexpensive hobbies or pastimes where you can earn some income to cover the costs.

3. Laugh it up.

Find the courage to laugh at yourself. Brighten up a tough day by watching a funny video or listening to your coworker’s jokes.

4. Manage stress.

Enjoy deep breathing or other relaxation methods that work for you.

Take frequent breaks throughout the day to relieve tension and restore your energy before tackling your next task.

Replace anger and sadness with forgiveness and gratitude.

Life is full of challenges.

You’ll deal with them more successfully if you practice healthy lifestyle habits consistently.

The proactive path to self-care will help you to look after yourself and keep enjoying the activities you love.

7 Ways to be Your Own Hero

Do you need a hero?

You’ve made mistakes. You’ve made a few bad choices. You’ve had some bad luck. However, the game isn’t over yet. There is a hero that will come and rescue you from your current life: You.

Everyone has the capacity to be the hero in their life story.

See how you can be your hero:

1. Fully embrace the idea that no one else is coming to save you. It would be nice if someone saved you, but you can’t count on it.

◦ If you want to be a hero to yourself, you have to take all the blame and responsibility. When you blame others, you give up the power to change your life in a positive way.

◦ Heroes are able to get things done, even if help is scarce. A hero doesn’t care if they have to do it all. They relish the idea of taking on a big challenge by themselves. It makes the victory that much sweeter.

◦ Many of us learned to play the helpless card in childhood. Our parents would rush in to save us from the mess we created. At some point, it’s necessary to manage your own messes.

2. Make a plan. A hero needs a plan. Doing something amazing requires thought and planning. And heroes have big, bold plans. Throw caution and sensibility to the wind and make a plan worthy of a hero. Just avoid being too ridiculous,

3. Take action. Thinking and planning are essential, but nothing happens until action is taken. Take action as soon as possible. Take the biggest action you can.

◦ For example, if you need a job, why apply to three jobs per day when you have time to apply to 10? Forget about what the average person would do. Heroes aren’t average.

4. Reject excuses. Excuses are for average people. Heroes ignore excuses and make things happen. Obstacles are overcome. Naysayers are ignored. The urge to quit is denied.

5. Think. Sometimes, people in dire straights get busy, but fail to make adjustments. They’re so focused and determined that they miss opportunities to refine their approach. Avoid being so single-minded in your purpose that you stop thinking and evaluating.

6. Raise your standards. Why do people get stuck and fail to make progress? In many cases, they simply don’t care. When your standards are met, you get satisfied and lazy.

◦ For example, if you think to yourself, “$50k/year is good enough. It’s a decent salary, and I can comfortably pay my bills,” you’re not likely to ever earn $250k/year.

◦ Higher standards lead directly to better results. Heroes must have high standards.

◦ Your life will stabilize at the level of your standards. Take a look at your life and prove it to yourself. Someone who’s satisfied with carrying an extra 40 pounds has a different appearance than someone with higher standards.

7. Be true to your values and preferences. A hero is able to go his own way. You have values and your own way of doing things. A hero respects those things about himself and refuses to sacrifice them to appease others. A hero lives his values and reaches his goals without sacrificing those values.

Imagine that you knew someone in your situation. What advice would you give them to turn it around quickly? That’s a great place to start! Be bold and create a plan.

Imagine that you’re the hero in the movie of your life. What would a hero do in that situation? Figure it out and do it.

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