“How do I take better care of myself?” is a very common concern, and although I find that my male clients rarely ask this question, I believe the answers apply equally to both men and women.
So how do you take better care of yourself?
The answer is simple! You make the conscious choice to do so.
I have found that there are three distinct areas of self-improvement: body, mind and spirit. The order in which I am addressing these components is purposeful and makes implementing the needed changes much easier in order to move forward, take better care of yourself and be most successfully treated.
The body has daily needs, which when not taken care of cause it to not function well. Consequently, staying healthy is extremely important, because a poorly functioning body makes life much, much harder to endure. We will address four main components of nurturing a health body: hygiene, diet, exercise and rest.
Let’s start at the beginning with daily personal hygiene. You would be shocked to find out how many women I have worked with that tend to overlook daily personal hygiene and must be taught the importance of this step. Daily personal hygiene is not just so we smell and look good, it’s so we improve and encourage our overall physical well-being. The positive side effect of good hygiene is that when we smell and look good, this helps us feel good. If we feel good, we tend to take better care of ourselves and have healthier bodies.
Furthermore, as we dedicate time each day to our personal hygiene — showering and cleaning all of our body; shampooing, conditioning and styling our hair; shaving and moisturizing our skin; flossing and brushing our teeth — we are doing self-caring acts, which are teaching us how to be good to ourselves, leading us down the road of self-love.
When discussing diet, I prefer to use the phrase “healthful food choices” instead of diet. More often than not, I believe the word diet immediately elicits an image and feeling of deprivation and lack, which is certainly not what we are going for here! Healthful food choices are simply about nurturing your body and making a choice: each and every time you reach for something to eat — instead of grabbing potato chips or sodas — you choose to reach for something healthy and beneficial for your body. It’s really that simple! Each time you choose to put something healthy in your body, your body feels good and you feel good in return.
Before you take on any type of exercise regime, please consult with your physician to make sure what you are choosing is right for your body. Hiring a personal trainer to guide you through your workouts or enrolling in an exercise class with a professional instructor can help provide the structured and correct approach needed to ensure you are exercising effectively and safely. If you are not financially able to purchase a gym membership or hire a personal trainer, you can make a point to get outside to take walks or go running. You can also do stretches and sit-ups in the comfort of your home. Most importantly, when you choose to lead an active lifestyle, not a sedentary one, you must find an exercise regime that is healthy for your body.
Finally, the last physical element is making sure you get as much rest, relaxation and sleep as you personally need. When we deprive our body of rest, we actually do harm to ourselves, since we aren’t providing our bodies and minds the time needed to rejuvenate. Have you ever noticed how your brain feels foggy and less sharp when you are sleep deprived? The amount of rest we have in life directly impacts our overall well-being, and we must not ignore this fact!
Each person requires a different amount of sleep in order to feel rejuvenated. Some of us need a solid eight hours of sleep while others may need much less or much more. Either way, ensuring you have enough rest and relaxation in your life is all about making it a priority to receive the amount of rest and sleep you personally need to function well.
Although caring for our bodies will improve our physical health, we must also focus on our emotional and psychological well-being. If you feel you are unable to handle or deal with this aspect on your own, there is professional help available. Conducting research and finding the right professional to help you is essential, as a well-matched therapist-client relationship can help you find the exact guidance you need.
If you are able to nurture a healthy mind on your own, here are some simple steps to assist you on your way:
- Spend at least 15 minutes a day in a quiet space where you can be alone to focus on what you are feeling and dealing with in your life.
- Each day, use a journal to write down all the things you discover in your alone time.
- Stay alert and aware of any negative feelings and self-talk you may be experiencing.
- Focus on changing your negativity into positive, affirming and loving affirmations.
- Create the time to give to yourself emotionally. Provide for yourself whatever will enable you to feel emotionally centered and balanced. These emotional provisions could be loving, supportive words you say to yourself; reaching out to a trusted friend; or even taking a hot bath to feel calm, relaxed and reawakened from your internal place of well-being.
The spirit component of taking better care of yourself deals directly with your personal relationship with your spirit and your understanding and faith in God. Just as you take time to become quiet and discover your feelings, nurturing your spirit takes time as well. On a daily basis, providing for yourself the time and space to meditate, pray and connect with your spirit and your God is essential. The way you connect with your spirit and God is unique to you, for this is the place where you reach out and foster a relationship with your innermost self — the essence of who you are. Taking the time to enrich your spiritual relationship will result in positivity permeating into all the other areas of your life.
Caring for your mind, body and spirit is a daily commitment that may seem challenging during busy or frustrating times. But, as long as you remain dedicated to nurturing and taking care of your mind, body and spirit, you will find yourself on the path to not only taking better care of yourself, but becoming the best person you can be today, tomorrow and the rest of your life.
Even though few men have asked this question directly to you, I feel as though this information would still be beneficial to both men and women.