Have you noticed your overall health declining recently? You’re not alone. Millions of other people have found themselves in the exact same situation over the last year. Luckily, improving your overall health is possible (although it may not be easy) with the proper self-care routine. In this post, we’ll explore some of the benefits of self-care along with a list of our favorite self-care tips. You can use these ideas to develop your own self-care practice.
What is Overall Health?
It’s important to understand what overall health is before we dive too deeply into our self-care tips. According to Roger Williams University, we can divide overall health into five categories:
- Physical – probably the simplest category of health. Physical health refers to anything that affects your body’s well-being.
- Social – a little more nuanced than physical health. Social health requires interaction with other humans and a sense of community.
- Emotional – anything that positively affects your mood can contribute to emotional health, like maintaining a positive attitude and relieving stress.
- Spiritual – this category seeks to understand your place in the universe, synthesizing personal beliefs, religious practices, and more.
- Intellectual – an often-overlooked aspect of overall health. You need intellectual stimulation to excel – don’t neglect your brain.
Benefits of Self-Care
The “iceberg of illness” concept helps us understand the relationship between self-care and health.
In the analogy, poor health is like an iceberg. Although one symptom may peek up out of the water and make itself known, there’s a whole mess of variables under the surface that aren’t nearly as apparent to an observer.
According to the iceberg of illness analogy, focusing on this single visible symptom without addressing the rest of those variables doesn’t get to the root of poor health. Instead, it lets the problem continue to grow.
One of the main benefits of establishing a proper self-care routine is addressing the underlying issues that may exacerbate the iceberg of poor health in the future.
4 Self-Care Tips for Improving Overall Health
And now, the main event! Below, we’ll break down 4 of our favorite self-care tips. You can use these ideas to form your own self-care routine according to your individual needs.
Maintain Healthy Eating Habits
Your body is a precision machine. Much like any supercar or airplane, it can only excel with the right fuel. That’s why diet is such a critical aspect of any self-care routine.
Different people may have different specific dietary needs. But there are a few general rules that everyone should follow when it comes to healthy eating habits. First, make sure you’re eating well-balanced meals. The proper combination of carbs, fats, protein, and more can have a surprising effect on wellbeing.
Proper hydration is also a critical component of self-care. Hydration affects nearly every one of your bodily functions – after all, we’re mostly water. If you feel lethargic, dizzy, achy, and your pee is dark yellow, you need to get more hydration!
Socrates, perhaps the most famous philosopher of Classical Greece, had an early hot take on exercise. One of his star pupils, the great general and historian Xenophon, recorded Socrates as he chastised a fellow philosopher for poor fitness. Socrates said that “it is a disgrace to grow old… without seeing what manner of (person) you may become by developing your body and strength.”
Ok, that might be fairly straightforward. But then he goes on to make another point: “even in the process of thinking, in which the use of the body seems reduced to a minimum, it is a matter of common knowledge that grave mistakes can be traced to bad health.” That’s pretty spot-on for someone who lived 2,500 years before the internet.
Socrates was touching on something that we now take for granted. Today, we recognize that physical exercise can boost overall health, including emotional and mental well-being. Don’t neglect exercise as an important aspect of any self-care routine.
Everyone experiences stress daily. According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 2 out of every 3 Americans (66 percent) say they have experienced increased stress over the last year. Stress can lead to problems like mood swings, short temper, and tightness within your body.
But stress doesn’t have to be negative. In fact, it can be a powerful motivator. One of the most important self-care tips you can follow is to channel your stress into a positive outcome. For example, you can harness that stress energy to finish some extra reps at the gym or go on a run. And nearly every great work of art involves some level of stress on the artist.
Whatever you do, don’t let stress beat you. Instead, channel it to become better.
Get a Full Night’s Rest
Here’s one of the most often overlooked pieces of the overall health puzzle. In today’s fast-paced world, getting a good night’s sleep often takes a backseat to completing a personal project, clocking extra hours at work, or even staying up late to watch one last episode of your favorite TV show.
It’s a trap. Don’t do this. Sleep is an essential bodily function that gives you time to rest and recharge. During sleep, you form new memories, heal faster, and more. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. If they don’t get it, they may suffer from impaired physical and mental abilities. If your self-care routine doesn’t involve getting enough sleep, you’ve got the wrong idea!
Craft Your Own Self-Care Routine
The benefits of self-care may not be obvious at first. But if you can craft a proper practice, your overall quality of life can increase without you even realizing it. Use this list of self-care ideas to create your own routine and live a more healthy lifestyle!