Personal growth is a marathon. Though you hope the reward at each mile marker is worth it, it’s a strenuous, lifelong process that takes a toll on your mind, body, and soul. When you’re making life-changing decisions, such as going back to college, dropping out of college, moving to a new city, or switching careers, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the weight of it all. And if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll only wear down faster and achieve a fraction of what you hoped to achieve. Here are some tips for finding self-care when you need it the most.
We really are what we eat. It’s not always easy or convenient to eat healthfully, but our bodies and minds depend on it. If you follow a nutritious diet, you’ll see and feel the benefits in no time. You’ll generally be in a better mood, have more energy, and be more productive at work. You’ll be healthier overall and live a longer life. Start eating a diet that consists mainly of lean meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Cut back on processed foods, as well as foods with added sugar and sodium. When you have carbs, make sure it’s whole grain. When you have dairy, make sure it’s organic.
During this figurative marathon of personal growth, it goes without saying that you have to keep moving — literally. As you work out, you’re cutting fat, building muscle, strengthening your heart, lowering your blood pressure, reinforcing your immune system, boosting your brain power, and improving your health in countless other ways. Whether you prefer running, swimming, brisk walking, yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or another kind of exercise, the important thing is that you stay consistent. Find workouts you enjoy and set challenging but doable goals. Along with the physical health benefits, following a consistent fitness routine will improve your mental well-being in several ways, such as reducing your stress levels, enhancing your mood, and boosting your self-image.
Meditation is another great way to reduce stress in your life. It can also improve concentration, slow ageing, alleviate anxiety and symptoms of depression, and increase feelings of well-being. Meditation incorporates mindfulness into its practices, which basically means being present and aware in the moment. This helps to foster self-awareness and acceptance of circumstances and personality traits, which can lead to a desire to make healthy lifestyle changes. You can start by sitting down, closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and focusing on your breathing for five minutes. You can meditate anywhere when you need to relax — at your work desk, in your parked car, in your backyard, etc. Some people find that setting up a meditation room in their home goes a long way in reducing their stress.
Last, but certainly not least: The search for personal growth begins with enjoying life. While eating a healthy diet, working out, and practising relaxation techniques are all important, remember that you should be enjoying yourself. Otherwise, what’s the point? Here’s the catch: Once you start eating well, you may learn to enjoy — even crave — healthy foods. Once you experience the benefits of working out consistently, you may start to look forward to it. Nonetheless, you need to take breaks every now and then. Take the family out for a splurge meal or take a week off from the gym. Say no to working overtime so you can lounge and binge Netflix. Go on vacation, kick up your feet, and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Self-care is vital for any person who wants to live a full and happy life, especially when making big decisions for personal growth. You can only be at your full potential when you’re taking care of yourself. So, remember to feed your body and mind the nutrition they need, follow a consistent fitness routine, and give meditation a go. And, oh yeah, enjoy life!
by Brad Krause
Photo Credit: Unsplash