Are you practicing physical self care? Do you take the steps needed to be at your best, so that you can be at your best for others? The phrase, “take care of yourself” has been around for a long, long time, of course. But it wasn’t until fairly recently that self-care became a hot topic. A lot of people have written a lot of words about not only physical health self-care, but also mental self-care and emotional self-care.
But what, exactly, is physical self care? What does it involve? If you want to live the healthiest lifestyle possible, and feel as good as you can, it’s worth it to learn more.
What Is Self-Care?
The term “self-care” is, well, pretty self-explanatory. It basically means doing what it takes to support your physical health, as well as your emotional health and mental health. It’s not about going out and spending hundreds of dollars on a spa treatment, or buying a library full of self-help books. It just means engaging in activities that result in the best you that you can be, in a nutshell.1
Physical Self-Care – The Basics
When you think of physical self-care, you might immediately think about heading to the gym for intense workouts seven days a week. While this is certainly an exercise component, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start lifting weights for hours or running yourself ragged on a treadmill.
Basically, physical self-care is about strengthening the connection between the body and the mind. It encompasses a lot – such as eating well, getting enough sleep, taking your medications as prescribed, and much more. Physical self-care can help you get a lot more satisfaction out of life, giving your overall health a major boost in the process.2
Why Is Physical Self-Care Important?
You could make a pretty compelling argument that, out of all the forms of self-care that exist, physical self-care is the most important. After all, does it really do a lot of good to be emotionally and mentally healthy if you’re not physically healthy? Of course, emotional and mental well being are incredibly important. But if you’re not practicing physical self-care, you might find it challenging to work on the other components of self-care.
There’s a lot of truth to the statement that you can’t really be good to others if you’re not good to yourself first. Some may see that as being selfish. But that’s not the case at all. You’re taking care of yourself so that you can be able to take care of those you love. You’ll have so much energy, and you’ll be such a joy to be around, that those people will benefit as well.3
Here are just a few of the ways you can start a physical self-care routine — one that will deliver huge potential advantages for years to come.
It sounds so simple – eat healthy to stay healthy. But, if you’re not used to following a healthy diet, it could actually be a bit challenging. If you can accomplish this goal, however, it might be one of the best things you can ever do for yourself. These are some of the ways you can start eating healthier. Remember to talk to your doctor first before you make any sudden, significant changes to what you eat.
- Try to stay away from as many processed foods as you can. That basically means anything that’s frozen, comes in a can, or has been made in a way that has changed the composition of its nutrients.
- There are a few exceptions to this rule, because there are some foods that have been just slightly processed, yet are still nutritious. These include hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna, and apple slices that have been pre-cut.
- You’ll definitely want to avoid the heavily processed junk foods, such as potato chips, sodas, cookies, candy, and donuts.
- Try to eat the “mainstays” of a healthy diet: fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
- Eat as many natural foods as you can, and prepare and cook your own meals – instead of relying on pre-packaged meals.4
You know that physical activity is key to good health, of course. But how much do you need? If possible, try to shoot for anywhere from three to five times a week. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, start out slowly and gradually. Talk to your doctor, as well as a physical trainer. You want to be sure that you won’t risk injury by trying to go too far, too quickly. Once you get started, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.5
Sleep Is Also Important
Quality sleep is just as important to physical self-care as regular exercise. Getting enough hours of sleep is beneficial for your body, and it may help keep your mind sharp.
You’ll want to establish a regular sleep routine, if possible. Try to shoot for anywhere between six and eight hours of sleep each night if you can, so that your body has enough time to renew itself for the next day.6
Don’t underestimate the importance of staying hydrated. Water is critical to the regulation of a lot of body functions, including temperature. It also helps to keep your joints lubricated, and it even protects the spinal cord. How much water you need every day is a matter of debate. Generally, experts recommend that women drink about 90 ounces, while men drink about 125 ounces.7
Your doctor knows your body a lot better than those experts, however. They can tell you the amount that’s best for your specific needs.
Connect With Yourself
If you follow all of the steps above, you’ll be well on the way to practicing incredibly effective physical self-care. But there’s one more step you might want to consider – one that has nothing to do with eating correctly, getting more exercise, or getting enough sleep. It’s forming a connection with yourself.
What does that mean? It means finding a way to cope with whatever kinds of stress you might be experiencing or emotional challenges you face. Once you can do this, you’ll feel better – both mentally and physically. You’ll have the motivation to take on the challenges that are keeping you from reaching your peak.8
One way to connect with yourself is to keep a journal of your emotions throughout the day. You’ll learn a lot about what makes up your personality, and you’ll discover what you’re feeling. It’s also a great way to write out potential goals you might have for your physical self-care routine.9
Put Your Plan Into Action
So, now that you know the importance of physical self care, and you know how to go about practicing it, the time has come to execute your plan. Good luck, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a medical professional or a mental health professional if you have trouble sticking with that plan.