Kimberly Hayes of Public Health Alert is a guest contributor covering the topic of self-care and wellness.

Self-care is a term you hear often, but you might not be entirely sure what it means. Put simply, it is about treating yourself well and putting your needs first. However, it’s also about knowing when your cup is running low and making an effort to replenish your resources. We all know what it’s like to run on empty, but thankfully, there are many opportunities available to refill that draining cup.

Learn Something New

When you were in school, the thought of learning something new, such as fractions, might have made you groan, but as an adult, you have the ability to explore your interests and learn something you’ve always wanted to understand or master. When was the last time you were so focused on a fun task that you lost track of time? Your mind might have been exhausted, but you were filled with happiness, relaxation, and a sense of achievement.

The best part is that learning is easy now that you have the internet on your side. You can relax on the couch and learn a new language, how to code, how to play a musical instrument, or how to cook a top chef-approved meal. Or, if you want to get moving, you can learn yoga and/or meditation. With the internet and great services at your disposal, just look into whatever suits your fancy, and dive into learning—just for you!

Make Your Weight a Priority

In our rushed world, fitness and eating right often fall by the wayside. In fact, CNN reports that if the current trends continue, half of all Americans will soon be obese. If you struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, find ways to make that part of your self-care plan. Slip some extra walking in during your lunch break, play with your dog outside, or exercise along with a fitness video.

Meals-wise, it’s obviously easiest to hit up a drive-through on the way home, but that’s not your healthiest choice. If you lack the time and energy to invest in cooking elaborate, healthy meals, you can have yummy, health-focused meals with pre-portioned ingredients delivered to your home.

Make Your Home a Place of Relaxation

After a long, hard day, where is it you return to at the end of your day? Your home should be a place of relaxation, not a source of stress, and U.S.News explains clutter can get in the way of your relaxation and mental health. Start by getting rid of the clutter so that your mind can be at ease rather than the same state of chaos that your home is in.

Speaking of your home, where we live is one of our greatest assets, but it’s also usually our largest expense. To implement self-care with your finances, consider finding ways to cut costs. Maybe that’s installing a smart thermostat to lower your energy bills (and usage!) or refinancing your home with a lower interest rate. Cutting down costs wherever you can will free up money to put toward other self-care options like retirement savings or paying down debt.

Put Yourself First and Say “No”

According to PsychCentral, saying “no” is a critical aspect of self-care. It’s about setting boundaries that put your needs and priorities ahead of others so you’ll have the energy and ability to do and be your best.

It’s okay to say “no” to that work project if you are already swamped and won’t be able to give it 100 percent. It’s okay to say “no” to going out with friends if you are tired and need some time by yourself. It’s okay to say “no” to commitments if you are already overextended. Saying “no” is the best thing you can do for yourself if it means you will be happier and less stressed.

It’s time to focus on yourself, and self-care is the perfect way to do it. Do some learning, maintain a healthy weight, relax, and say “no” when you should. You’ll enjoy a better quality of life as a result.

 

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