Knowing your worth. You know what it means in the workplace or in a relationship. But what does it mean on a personal level? When you recognize that you have importance and value as an individual and as a woman, the idea of self-care makes a lot more sense. You deserve special attention because you are worth it.
Physical self-care is obvious: Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep. But caring for yourself emotionally and spiritually is just as important. Here are some “outside of the box” health tips you can practice in 2020 from local wellness pros.
Decompress for 10 minutes every day. It’s really important to steal away and do absolutely nothing for awhile. Start early before the kids wake up or wait until the end of the day, but give yourself a chance to just … be. Turn off the TV and put away all your electronic devices. Meditate. Stretch. Relax.
Connect with others. How often do you say you’re going to call that old friend or that relative you’ve lost touch with? Do it. Find time to nurture your relationships. Choose one Friday night each month to have dinner with a friend. Ask a neighbor to join you for a walk on Saturday mornings. Set aside an hour each weekend to call someone you’ve neglected … an elderly aunt, an old college roommate? Then make it a habit.
Journal your way to joy. Can simply being more grateful bring more joy and health? Yes, absolutely. One of the most popular ways to give thanks (other than just being nice to others) is by keeping a gratitude journal. Studies show impressive benefits that range from better sleep, increased health markers and more joy. To reap the full benefits, try putting some thought behind what you write … record eventful moments (or how someone made you feel) rather than focusing on things. Journaling helps you see the meaning in your experiences when it is so easy to take them for granted in this fast-paced, high-tech world.
—Jheri Corb, regional vice president for American Healthcare Staffing Association,
certified exercise physiologist and corrective exercise specialist
Start a new hobby or activity. If you’re bored, it’s time to get busy. If you’re busy, it’s time to unwind. Do something that keeps you active and engaged—something that focuses on you. Join a gym or fitness center. Study a new language. Learn a new skill. Explore your creative side—start trying new recipes to expand your cooking skills, or take a class in painting or drawing.
‘Weight’ a minute. To create a sense of wellbeing or calm, and to restore a sense of centeredness, try out a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are made with soft material and are filled with small discs, poly pellets or plastic beads to give them a noticeable heaviness. A few minutes in your favorite chair covered in a weighted blanket or a full night’s sleep under a weighted blanket is a great wellness tip for anxious and restless feelings. The restorative and calming effect—similar to a hug—is amazing.
—Jennifer Zimmerman, health coach at Woman’s Center for Wellness,
national board certified health and wellness coach,
Duke certified integrative health coach
Volunteer. You don’t know it yet, but your community needs you. Do a little research to find an organization that fits your personality and talents. Indulge the animal lover in you by volunteering at a shelter. Tutor a child. Greet guests at a fundraiser. Studies show that volunteering relieves stress, increases self-confidence, and provides a sense of purpose.
It’s all part of the plan. A new year brings new hope and goals, but even the best intentions go unfulfilled if a solid plan is not in place. Whether your goal is personal, social, economic, or career-based, planning is the step-by-step pathway to reach your goals. So try the following:
—Consider potential obstacles and how you will work around them to push forward.
—Allocate resources and be realistic as to the time, materials, finances, etc. needed to reach your goal.
—For accountability, share your goal and plans with others.
—Establish checkpoints along the way and use them to adjust your plan as needed.
—Terri Keller Nelson, MS, RD, LDN, Well Consulting LLC
Travel. Nothing improves your outlook like finding a new perspective, and sometimes, that means getting away from it all. Whether it’s a daytrip to a historical site, a long weekend at the beach, a holiday visit with friends, or a special vacation you’ve saved up for all year long, travel is a great ingredient for emotional health. Learning more about the world makes you a more adventurous, interesting, outgoing person.
Start small. Don’t take on too much at one time. Make manageable and achievable goals for yourself, so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. If you want to incorporate more walking into your day, park further away at work or take the stairs instead of the elevator. If trips to the gym are too time consuming, work out at home or start a fitness group in your neighborhood.
Making conscious, smart choices every day is not easy. Give yourself a little grace to make a mistake every now and then. Make a better decision next time and go from there. Remember—each little step adds up to making a healthier you in 2020 and beyond.
—Kate Freeman, MD
Ochsner Primary Care & Palliative Medicine