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Care About Your Self-Care
Incorporating acts of self-care into your routine can help alleviate stress.
The stress response is part of a healthy brain. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that cause your brain to become more alert. When your body is exposed to these hormones in short bursts, it can be helpful to complete tasks, such as meeting deadlines or problem- solving. But when no immediate danger is present and your body stays alert, it can damage your health in the long run.
By practicing self-care, you are training your body and mind how to respond to stress. You are working to avoid the long-term health complications chronic stress can cause, and you are building resilience for difficult situations you may face in the future. No one can avoid life’s challenges, but everyone can learn how to take care of themselves when they happen.
Prioritize rest. Sleep helps repair your cells, blood vessels, and tissues, and eight hours a night can help boost your immune system. Before bedtime, try taking a few moments to relax with a warm shower, a cup of caffeine-free tea, or a moment of journaling to reflect on your day. Reading before bed can also help reduce stress levels by up to 68%, according to a British study. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, including weekends.
Other physical acts of self-care include, eating healthy comfort foods, going for walks outside, practicing yoga, tai chi, or other mindful movement.
Forget FOMO. Roughly 75% of young adults report feeling fear of missing out (FOMO) when using social media. Constant phone checking can also cause envy, heightened stress levels, and loneliness. Taking time to unplug can help you stop comparing yourself to the people you follow, and it may encourage you to pursue other screen-free activities, as well.
While FOMO usually applies to social media, you may find it happens with the news, as well. Constantly checking news headlines can lead to increased anxiety. Try choosing one time during your day to check the news, and avoid refreshing your feed for the rest of the day. Other acts of mental self-care include maintaining a regular routine, practicing meditation or mindfulness, scheduling time each day to do something you enjoy.
Build resilience. Psychologists describe resilience as the ability to adapt to the changes that occur after life- changing events. Everyone’s lives have changed since the outbreak of COVID-19, and in many ways, there is no going back to the way things were. Resilience does not mean ignoring that fact. Instead, learning to thrive despite your circumstances and focusing on the things you can change, while also acknowledging the things you can’t, helps increase your resilience. Other spiritual acts of self-care include connecting with community or faith-based organizations, finding support from a friend or family member, or keeping a gratitude journal.
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