What’s your favorite way to pause and give yourself a break during the day? It might be taking a short walk around the office building or enjoying a healthy snack and a bottle of water. Or, you might also be asking, “What exactly do you mean by a break?” To be honest, we’re busy people. In fact, an article in The Economist states that we have an ailment called “time poverty.” We have so much on our plates and not enough hours in the day to clear it all off.
And it’s not just tasks from our jobs that keep us busy. Those of us with children need to get them to their sports practices, music lessons, or doctor appointments. Sometimes, we have social engagements that we need to rush home from work to attend. Then, at night, we relax in front of the TV, scroll through social media posts on our phones, and make mental notes of everything we didn’t accomplish so we can add it to tomorrow’s list of things to do. After fewer than five hours of sleep, we get up and do it all over again.
Long story short, we truly don’t take care of ourselves. We’re stressed and sleep deprived, and we eat poorly. When we are given the chance to relax, we probably can’t because we immediately think of a dozen things we need to handle. But if we’re mindful of the things that cause our stress and find ways to take care of ourselves, we can get around their effects and generally be happier and healthier. In fact, Dr. Peter Borten refers to taking care of ourselves not as a part of health care, but as health repair.
Find Ways to Eat Well
How we choose to fuel our bodies plays a major role in how we feel. Food can be powerful medicine, helping to improve gut health, treat diseases, and heal your body and mind from the inside out. A holistic health consultation can help you learn about your body’s relationship with food, and cooking lessons can help you harness the energy and balance well-prepared food can provide.
If, like so many Americans today, you are just too busy to shop for groceries, there are shortcuts. Meal delivery services combine the convenience of delivery and the benefits of healthy eating, like portion control and quality ingredients. Just make sure you choose a meal plan that aligns with your health goals. Some services offer organic produce and vegetarian or vegan options, while others do not.
Be Aware of Stress at Work and Unhealthy Ways of Coping with It
A big part of repairing our health and taking better care of ourselves is dealing with stressors at work. In fact, the American Institute of Stress states that occupational pressures and fears are the leading source of stress for American adults. This high level of stress can cause us to turn to excessive alcohol use (and possibly other substances) to make the stress go away. Instead, you should combat that stress by asking for help (or, if you’re a manager, delegating more often) and taking a 15-minute break when you feel overwhelmed.
One additional way to reduce a great deal of stress is to learn how to say no. We often take on more than we can at work because we want to appear accommodating and productive. The truth is that there’s lots of stuff we should take a pass on, but we don’t. Saying no simply means you cannot take on a task and still do a good job on it, or it’s something that someone else could or should do. When you say no, though, do so with tact and make clear your reasons why.
Get Better Sleep
For some of us, our idea of getting better sleep is dozing off in front of the TV after all of the late-night talk shows have finished, then dragging ourselves to bed (but not before we check our email and see who’s posted what to social media), and finally getting jarred awake by an alarm just a few hours later. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries, and loss of productivity on the job.
The key step in getting better sleep is to follow your body’s natural sleep instinct called the circadian rhythm. Dim your home’s lights earlier to create an atmosphere of relaxation, stop drinking caffeine six hours before your set bedtime, and stay off all smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The blue light from these devices tricks your brain into thinking there’s still daylight.
Getting better sleep and dealing effectively with stressors at work are the two big ways you can take care of yourself and do wonders for your mental health. And that can sometimes be the best care there is.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Post Written by guest author: Brad Krause