Category Archives: Self-Care

Is Lack of Self-Care Ruining Your Mental Health?

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Hello Everyone,

The following article has been generously submitted by Brad Krause, who left the corporate world to help promote the simple notion of self-care. He is the writer and owner behind SelfCaring. A link to his site can be found at the end of this article.

Enjoy!

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When you don’t take care of yourself, your mind and body are left vulnerable. The good news is that you don’t have to drastically change your life in order to reap the benefits of self-care.

A gut feeling

You already know that eating the right foods can make you feel good. The reasons for this are many, including fueling your body well. But one lesser-considered benefit of paying attention to what’s on your plate is gut health. Your intestinal system doesn’t really belong to you. It belongs to the billions and billions of tiny bacteria that live inside your stomach, bacteria like lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and akkermansia. These and other microorganisms need a healthy diet, too. Once you understand all the things that affect your gastrointestinal system, you can add – or take away — foods that help or hinder your health.

The US National Library of Medicine posted a study in 2017 on the gut-brain connection. It’s a long and interesting read, which can be found here. The write-up offers lots of great information, including study results, charts, diagrams, and in-depth explanations, on how the stomach affects the brain. If you don’t have time to read it, a good summary is this: gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of good bacteria, along with systemic inflammation, is linked to severe mental illness.

While there is no simple fix to achieving internal harmony, it starts with the food you eat. For the good bacteria to thrive, it has to have a food source. This comes in the form of prebiotics. Reader’s Digest contributor Charlotte Hilton Andersen explains that foods such as cold potatoes, green bananas, and garlic have gut-boosting properties. These foods and many others should be added to your diet if they’re not already stable menu items.

Sleep away stress 

Even if you get your eating habits under control, there’s still work to be done when it comes to your overall self-care plan. Sleep is another area that tends to get pushed under the rug and neglected due to work, family, and social obligations. But sleep – and especially a lack of it – has significant effects on your mental health, and can cause or worsen anxiety disorders and stress.

Getting enough sleep is one simple and free way to reduce stress and wear and tear on the brain and body. This is crucial for your well-being as well as for your relationships with yourself, friends, and family. Stress is one of the largest contributors to more significant mental health problems in the US, and is undeniably linked to drug and alcohol addiction. Most experts agree that healthy adults should strive for seven hours of sleep every night.

Know your limits

Another important facet of your health is the load you put upon yourself. If you’re a caregiver, you will put everyone else’s needs before your own. You must learn to redirect your energy to places where it matters most, and that starts with you. The simplest way to do this is to get up close and personal with the word “no.” These two letters can empower youto take control of your time so that you can best focus on your health.

Wave goodbye

Finding time to relax is an essential part of your self-care strategy, but you have to relax the rightway to reap the benefits. When you’re on vacation, for example, don’t try to squeeze in every little attraction, but domake a point to sleep in when you can. It doesn’t matter what kind of vacation you take. However, the most relaxing places in the US are usually located near beaches and mountains. Take your vacation time from work. Even if you can only get away for a few long weekends each year, the mental and physical break you receive will offer an opportunity to refresh and recharge so that you can be more efficient upon your return.

The point is that self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s little actions you take each day – eating well, sleeping, and prioritizing yourself – so that you can achieve and maintain physical and mental wellness.

Thank you so much, Brad! Self-care is so extremely important. It reminds me of being on an airplane and how the flight attendant always reminds the passenger to administer the oxygen mask to oneself first before anyone else. Besides, without adequate sleep, exercise and healthy foods I simply don’t feel and work as well. Thank you again for sharing this excellent article with my readers! 

Here’s a link to Brad’s website: http://selfcaring.info

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