More specifically, self-care means identifying and meeting your needs, something women often struggle with. We tend to put others first – children, spouse, parents, friends, even pets. We feel obligated to be the caretakers.
Shifting the balance from everyone-else-care to myself-care is uncharted territory for many women, and can feel uncomfortable at first. However, it is important to do so. If you don’t properly care for yourself, your body will let you know.
The toll of chronic stress
Chronic stress wreaks havoc on our health. It weakens the immune system and inflames the body, making us more susceptible to colds, weight gain, sleep issues, stomach ulcers, depression, diabetes and heart disease. The physiological changes that result from prolonged stress are compounded by the poor choices we make when at the end of our rope.
Reacting to stress with numbing activities — like zoning out in front of an electronic screen, and bingeing on junk foods and alcohol — contributes to obesity and disease, poor sleep and ultimately, an unhappy existence.
Make a pause in your day
Start by taking some time each day to pause. We all need activities that promote inner peace and calm, that allow us to unwind from stress and get in touch with our needs.
You may enjoy spending time in nature, gardening, or walking barefoot in the grass or sand, a practice called grounding.
If you’re especially tired, make an effort to go to bed early. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes a day for some simple yoga poses, an Epsom salt bath, or a guided meditation.
These stress-relieving practices quiet the mind, balance hormones, including cortisol (the stress hormone), lower blood pressure and improve brain health.
Cleveland Clinic, 2018: https://health.clevelandclinic.org Contributor: Sandra Darling, DO, MPH