Girl, one of the true markers of health is resilience, AKA the ability to bounce back after any major or minor stressor.
The regular practice of self-care to “fill your well” helps to increase your resilience and boost your overall health long-term. Listed below are some fundamentals of self-care that will help you create healthy rituals in specific dimensions of your wellness.
Eating properly is essential to good health and spending the time to really assess what your nutritional requirements are is key. All of us are different, and it’s important to remove any foods that cause inflammation, allergens, or even mild food sensitivities. You can also spend time assessing the appropriate levels of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates that makes you feel your best, and place emphasis on eating whole unprocessed foods.
Your body needs water to function properly and to encourage proper elimination. To determine the amount of water that is adequate for you, divide your body weight in half and drink that many fluid ounces of water. For a woman weighing 140 pounds, 70 fluid ounces of water would be ideal for keeping her hydrated and the metabolic processes in her body functioning optimally. There is a thing as too much water though, so try not to exceed 128 fluid ounces or one gallon of water daily.
This is the pillar of health that is the foundation for all other aspects of wellness, like diet and exercise. Sleep deprivation increases our insulin resistance, influences the hormones that affect our cravings, decreases our memory recall and retention, and can decrease our alertness and motor skills while driving or at work. The sleep requirement for you is going to be unique to your body, but a general rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum of 7 to 8 hours.
When practiced regularly, mindfulness can change the course of your entire day for the better. Taking in deep breaths brings oxygen to your whole cellular structure and relaxation skills can help you counteract the effects of prolonged or chronic stress, and also to help you to respond rather than react to stressors in your environment. Some of the most accessible forms of mindfulness include: meditation, prayer, meditative walks, journaling, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi gong, and deep breathing.
Time in nature
Researchers are becoming more and more aware of the value of light on our psychological well-being. Sunshine can improve your attitude and boost your resilience. In tandem with this, nature bathing, the practice of spending prolonged periods in natural outdoor environments like forests, has also been shown by scientific research to accelerate healing, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mood. Even if you are in a city environment, it’s important to find ways to occasionally engage with nature, whether it is exercising in a park or visiting your local Botanical Gardens.
Exercising regularly helps sustain physical energy, reduce physical, mental and emotional stress, and improves flexibility. It has been proven that those who exercise look and feel, on average, 10-20 years younger than their non-exercising counterparts. One study conducted at the University of Birmingham in the Institute of Inflammation and Aging found that avid cyclists as old as 79 had healthy muscle and immune function equivalent to people 30 years younger than them. Researchers also reported the 79 year olds looked similar to people aged 20-36 who did not exercise.
Keeping an appropriate balance of those things which are important in our lives can renew our sense of well-being. A positive attitude and outlook on life is key to maintaining emotional balance and boosting our overall resistance. Other things you can do to promote balance is to stay vigilant of your time spent working. If you spend weeks pushing super hard at work with no rest, you will eventually burnout. Learning how to add some rest and play, even in a busy season, is very important for maintaining balance.
Pursuing Your Passion
One way we take care of our well-being is to pursue work and hobbies that make our hearts sing.
It is essential to have engaging personal goals and objectives. The ability to accomplish our objectives provides us with a sense of accomplishment and reinforces an attitude of well-being.
Avoiding mood altering substances, especially in excess, is key to emotional and physical resilience. Besides the fact that overeating processed foods, doing drugs, or drinking excessive alcohol can wreak havoc on your health, these activities also keep you from tuning into your true emotions. You cannot maintain a lasting sense of happiness if you are constantly using substances to avoid difficult emotions. This may be a signal that you need to make some changes in your life.
Find time to engage in activities that reduce stress or just make you feel good. This aspect of self-care is best to engage in when you have covered the previous fundamentals (getting adequate sleep, water, and proper nutrition). How you choose to pamper yourself will be unique for each person, but can include activities like massages, facials, manicure and pedicures, colon hydrotherapy, acupuncture, eating gourmet meals, taking extended or mini vacations, and more. Find what feels luxurious to you, and schedule in regular time to splurge on yourself, because Chile, you are worth it!
-XO Esosa Edosomwan, MS, CNS, LDN, AKA The Raw Girl