Treat Yourself: 5 Critical Self-Care Practices
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they realize they need to start taking better care of themselves. For some it’s a health scare, or the fact that they’re creating new life, for me it was a milestone birthday when my husband told me that he was worried about me. “Worried about ME?” I thought. Impossible. I take pretty good care of myself – I don’t smoke, I try to avoid processed foods and I exercise quite often. However, there are other things I do that were better suited for 20-year-old me than 40-year-old me. I eat “whatever is delicious” according to said husband, I am on my phone more than I would like to admit and I don’t get as much sleep as I would like (/need). So, on second thought, yes now is probably a good time to start engaging in some self-care activities.
Self-care is everywhere these days, but what does it really mean to take care of yourself? Indulging in all the wine and chocolate you want followed by a massage? Not necessarily (I know, I wish). Self-care is really about making small changes in your life to take better care of your mind and your body, but it’s easier said than done. We’re always so busy with work, with kids, with who knows what, that we often forget to take care of ourselves. And if you’re not going to take care of yourself, who is? Me. Just kidding, but I am here to tell you about some critical self-care practices that are essential to maintaining your physical and emotional well-being.
1. Get your daily dose of Zzzs: Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your physical well-being (and sanity). Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of ailments, like heart disease, and can affect your immune system by making you more susceptible to viruses. Yes, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to finish everything you need to get done, but there are some measures you can take to make sure the sleep you get is a restful one. For starters, you can cut down on caffeine 7 hours before bedtime and put down that phone, laptop or tablet at least 1 hour before bedtime.
2. Go walking in sunshine: For years, we’ve been told to stay out of the sun and yes, we should be doing that for the most part, but (as fate would have it) many of us are now deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical for maintaining healthy bones and teeth and a stronger immune system. Soaking in the sun is also a natural mood booster (Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing!). Interesting, but little-known, fact - only people living in the southern half of the United States get enough sun exposure to produce sufficient levels of Vitamin D year-round. So Northerners, like myself, have to make sure we’re getting enough Vitamin D the new-fashioned way – through vitamin and dietary supplementation (think milk, eggs, salmon).
3. Put down your phone: And pick up a good book. Too much screen time has been associated with anxiety, depression and (as we said before) poor sleeping patterns. It is also associated with annoying your loved ones and alienating those surrounding you at a party. Carve out moments in the day where you put your phone away – meals, bedtime, etc. – and find new activities to engage in that don’t involve a screen, like reading a book (Kindle Paperwhite doesn’t count as a screen 😉), playing a board game, practicing yoga or going for a walk. It’s a challenge, but eventually you will get to a point where you won’t even miss your phone (and it certainly won’t miss you).
4. Make a clean beauty swap: Go through your bathroom cabinets and toss out those toxins! Your skin is your largest organ so it’s time to start taking better care of it. Treat your body to the plethora of newly launched clean beauty products that are not only safe, they actually work well to boot. And, while you’re at it, it’s also time to switch to an aluminum-free deodorant. Aluminum in antiperspirants plugs up your sweat ducts and may prevent your body from releasing toxins (see self-care practice number 5). There’s also a lot of negative buzz on the impact of aluminum on your health, so why risk it? Our safe deodorant is not just aluminum free, it’s also free from parabens, phthalates and other known toxic ingredients. Plus, it actually works!
5. Work up a sweat: While we work hard to combat sweat at type:A, not all sweat is created equal. There’s the embarrassing stress-sweat that happens when you’re on an interview and then there’s the I-just-crushed-that-HIIT sweat. Sweating is so good for you! It helps your body to release toxins and boosts your endorphins to make you feel, well, happy. The American Heart Association recommends 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (or double that if you’re into a more moderate workout) - that’s just 15 minutes per weekday of sweating it out. Try running outdoors, spinning or jumping rope and don’t forget to swipe on that aluminum-free deodorant before you get started.
When it comes to adopting better self-care practices, it’s better late than never. So step away from the tiny screen you’re reading this article on and step outside for some fresh air (and hopefully sunshine). Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Ready to make a clean beauty swap? Then toss out your antiperspirant and try our safe, aluminum-free deodorant.