Just over a month ago, I wrote a post about the different types of self care where I discuss nine different kinds of self care that are all important for wellness. Having good self care is more than just occasionally taking an evening off to binge your favorite show, or taking a luxurious bath. It is a mindset. It is a collection of small habits that you do on a regular basis to maintain your health and happiness.
My approach to improving myself care is to make small changes, on a weekly basis, to help me form habits that will help me feel healthy, energized, motivated and happy. Of course, I use my bullet journal to keep track of these changes, and to reflect on my progress.
This week, I am focusing on improving my physical self care.
What is Physical Self Care?
To quote my own blog post:
“Physical self care is one of the more obvious categories [of self care]. It is likely when you think of ‘self care’ at least one of the first things you think of will be in this category. This is the care of our physical bodies. This can include things like: exercise, nutrition, hydration, sleep, skin care, beauty, stretching, rest, medical and dental appointments, medicine, and pain management.”
Take a moment to reflect on your own physical self care. Are there any obvious gaps in how well you are presently taking care of your body? Do you need more sleep? More movement? Better nutrition?
For myself, I take a 25 minute walk several times a week and I do a 12 minute stretching/yoga routine three times a week. I also pack my lunch everyday and I eat most of my dinners at home. I try to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into my daily meals. I frequently floss, and I see the dentist every 6 months. I see my doctor at least annually, if not more often. I try to maintain a somewhat consistent sleep schedule too.
There are definitely many ways I can improve my physical self care routine, but it’s also important to acknowledge the good things I am doing! So…yay for all of the above! I feel like there is room for improvement in all the areas of my physical self care with the exception of perhaps making and keeping routine appointments. However, there is one thing in particular that I’ve been wanting to work on lately.
My New Physical Self Care Habit Goal
As I said before, good self care is a collection of small everyday habits that make you feel better. This week I’ve added one new goal to my to do list- form a better hydration habit!
I do drink water and I typically have water with me. However, I don’t drink as much as I’d like to. Drinking a certain amount of water a day (such as 8 glasses) or trying to drink as much water as you can isn’t useful or healthy despite the common myths surrounding it (https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/how-much-water/). My problem is that I’m not always drinking when I’m thirsty.
I check-in with myself often throughout the day to record my brain state, emotions, etc… as part of my work with EBT. One of the things I record is physical states or body sensations such as hunger, thirst, feeling too hot and anxiety symptoms. I’ve noticed I record “thirsty” quite a bit. I think I need to do a better job of noticing, acknowledging and responding to thirst.
I’m currently testing out an app that tracks water intake, but I might come up with another way of working on this habit. Mainly, I just need to remind myself to drink more often.
Other Physical Self Care Ideas
Hydration might not be an issue for you, but there’s likely something else you can do to improve your physical self care. Here are some other ideas:
Keep a record of what you eat for a couple days. Also record how hungry you were before you started eating and any other activities or emotions. Make some observations about your logs.
Track how many servings of fruits and veggies you eat daily for a week. Average it. The following week aim to get that average one higher than it was the week before.
Look up what a serving of fruit and veggies looks like.
Make a list of fruits and veggies that your really enjoy. Use it for inspiration when you go shopping.
Find a few new healthy recipes to try, or start a healthy recipe board on Pinterest.
If you track your steps, look at your average daily step count. Try to increase that next week by 500.
Start taking an extra 20 minute walk each week.
Find an exercise you can do at home (hula-hooping, an exercise machine, etc…) and schedule a weekly session.
Increase your normal exercise routine by 5 minutes.
Think of something you enjoy doing that requires movement (playing basketball, swimming, geocaching, playing Pokemon Go) and make plans to do that.
Track and/or log your sleep. Make some observations.
Establish a bedtime.
Setup an evening routine that helps you fall asleep.
Try meditating before sleep to increase your quality of sleep.
Adjust your thermostat settings so that you are cooler when you sleep.
Make a doctor’s appointment- either an annual check-up or for an ongoing problem you’ve been having.
Make a dentist appointment.
Refill a prescription.
Ask a doctor for suggestions on treating an ongoing problem such as allergies.
Make an appointment to get a massage.
Floss every day.
Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush heads.
Ask your dentist for suggestions on how to improve your dental hygiene- perhaps getting an electric toothbrush or using a flouride mouthwash.
Start a skin care routine.
Get your haircut.
Change your hairstyle.
Find time to rest- take a relaxing bath, sit on the porch or take a nap.
Replace an item of clothing or shoes that no longer fits or isn’t comfortable.
Make your own list of physical self care activities.