In a results-based society like ours, taking measured steps toward self-improvement is an important goal both personally and professionally. Some of these steps might include starting a new career or seeking a new challenge at your current place of work, going back to school, or another of a number of monumental life changes. While these changes may be important and highly impactful on your life and success, the quest onward and upward can be a stressful one. It’s essential to attend to your own self-care in the process.
First and foremost: what is self-care? Self-care boils down to applying the Golden Rule to ourselves. Too often, we treat others well but neglect ourselves. In the short-term, that may sound admirable – doing whatever it takes to get a project done. At least, we’re conditioned to think so. In the long run, withholding self-care is a recipe for burnout and harboring resentment toward others.
Scheduling specific windows of self-care for yourself and your team will go a long way in helping you reach your goals and build and sustain relationships. Some examples of self-care might include meeting up with friends, accepting help from others, allowing yourself an occasional treat, and making sure to pencil in time for relaxing and hitting the gym.
Proper diet and exercise are also pivotal in becoming the best version of yourself. Yet, while it sounds great, eating well and exercising are surprisingly challenging and uncommon in our country. Despite more and more research showing the positive impact of a balanced diet on things like attention and performance, according to a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey from 2016, 97 percent of Americans don’t lead a healthy lifestyle. In this case, a healthy lifestyle means not smoking, having a low body fat percentage, and engaging in moderate to vigorous exercise at least 150 minutes per week.
Diet is particularly important for those recovering from an addiction. Drugs and alcohol damage your vital systems, whereas proper nutrition repairs your organ tissue, improves your outlook, and helps prevent you from relapsing. Moreover, withdrawing from a drug often causes gastrointestinal issues, leading to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, all of which deplete your body of nutrients. A good diet is one of the best ways to fortify your system when it’s steeling itself through waves of pain.
Two exercises that are often recommended for personal growth are yoga and meditation. Yoga has promotes many health benefits, including increased patience, self-acceptance, and mindfulness, among others. Meditating for just 5 to 10 minutes a day can help to clear your mind and put your life in perspective. Although it often seems like we’re told that nonstop work leads to personal growth, it’s crucial to slow down occasionally in order to feel centered.
Everyone can benefit from therapy. Therapy can be especially helpful when life feels overwhelming, you’re seeking additional perspective to understand yourself better, you’ve been given a diagnosis that feels daunting, or you want to work through issues or relationships that have been causing you trouble. Putting your past, present, thoughts and feelings into words with someone who is trained to facilitate your self-discovery is a worthwhile investment.
So, what does all this add up to? A life that’s a little bit more calm, an outlook that’s gradually more compassionate toward others, and a plan based on long-term, sustainable growth rather than transient immediate gratification. Here are tell-tale indicators that you’re growing:
The main takeaway? Self-care is crucial. Making decisions that foster your physical and emotional health will help you achieve the goals you’re already working toward.
Thank you, Brad, for sharing your perspective and journey with our community today. We appreciate your tips and creativity in the quest for wellness.
Questions, thoughts, or feedback? Keep in touch at [email protected] We'd love to hear from you.
(1) Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash; (2) Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash
Brad Krause, this week’s guest writer and creator of selfcaring.info, has devoted his career to self-care. Today, he shares with our community more about what self-care is, why it’s so important, and how you can integrate more self-care into your life to achieve your goals.
About the author: After college, Brad Krause jumped straight into the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. What started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling: helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created selfcaring.info to share his perspective and the resources he’s accumulated with others.