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Healthy Balance

How Self-Care Helps Your Health: 7 Tips to Find Time

woman in a hammock practicing self-care

With so many things competing for your attention, self-care may be at the bottom of your to-do list.

Child care, work, family commitments, and household responsibilities can often occupy the bulk of our time and energy. This makes it difficult to find time to take care of yourself. You may also feel like it’s too indulgent to take time out to focus on yourself when there are so many other things on your plate.

Unfortunately, delaying self-care may affect your physical and mental health. It may also make it more difficult to care for your family or excel at your job. That’s why it shouldn't be at the bottom of your to-do list. These self-care tips should be a priority.

How You Benefit from "Me" Time

For generations, women have shouldered more of the burden of caring for family members and managing their households, often while working full- or part-time jobs. Although men contribute more these days, women still spend more time on household and family tasks.

According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of women with children prepare family meals. The center also notes that women devote six hours more per week to childcare than men do. And UN Women reports that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more women than men said they were spending even more time on unpaid domestic work.

When your life is all work and no play, you’re bound to feel exhausted, frustrated, and stressed, at least occasionally. In addition to causing headaches, insomnia, and upset stomachs, stress may affect your immune system. This can make it easier to catch colds and other viral illnesses so it's important to use self-care tips to stay healthy.

Over time, stress may increase your blood pressure and even be a factor in depression. Without regular self-care, your health may suffer. You might not have the energy you need to take care of yourself and your family.

That’s why it’s important to take time to care for yourself – no matter how busy your life may be.

Find Time For These Self-Care Activities

Feeling overwhelmed or stressed? That’s a sign that you need some “me” time. Self-care doesn’t require hours, although the more time you can devote to it, the better. In fact, all you need is a few minutes per day to relax and recharge.

Try to find time each day for any of the things on this list.

Too Much Stress?

Chronic stress can lead to anxiety disorders and make daily activities harder. Consider seeing a mental health provider.

  1. Escape from reality. Give yourself a break from your usual routine by visiting a museum, scheduling an afternoon at a spa, reading a book, taking a nap, or playing a video game.
  2. Make a date. One-on-one time with your spouse or partner is crucial for a healthy relationship. Getting out of the house for a few hours is ideal. But you can also enjoy an at-home date night after the kids are asleep or after work.
  3. Find time for friendships. Friends make life more rewarding and offer much-needed support and companionship. Regular get-togethers, whether they’re in-person or virtual, can provide laughs, a shoulder to lean on, or a way to feel connected to life outside your family.
  4. Educate yourself. It’s never too late to master a new language, learn how to paint, or take up snowboarding. Find something you’ve always wanted to do and then give yourself the time to learn how to do it – or do it better.
  5. Get moving. Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve your health. Walking, biking and running are inexpensive forms of exercise that help reduce stress. These activities will also give you some alone time to recharge and regroup.
  6. Improve your diet: Prepared foods and packaged snacks will satisfy your hunger pangs, but these foods can make you feel sluggish. Swap convenience foods and sugary or salty snacks for foods with more staying power. This include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats.
  7. Take care of your health: Women often make their family’s healthcare needs a priority while neglecting their own health. In fact, 78% of women surveyed by Healthy Women and Working Mother magazine reported putting off healthcare appointments because they were too busy managing their family’s needs. Making (and keeping) well-visits, dental, vision, therapy, and other healthcare appointments is essential for maintaining your physical and mental health.

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