The Foundation To Self-Care and Self-Love


Let's get real... you make sure your children, your spouse/partner, and probably your parents get the medical care they need. But are you doing the same thing for yourself?

Health Care

Before we dive into self-care and self-love ideas we need to get practical, starting with the foundation of what it means to take care of yourself - basic health care. How often should you visit the doctor? It will depend on your general health and a number of other considerations. Generally you should visit your primary care physician once a year, or more if you have high blood pressure or other chronic conditions. For the Dentist, every six months is the recommendation for everyone unless you are having pain or another dental emergency. Optometrist, you should get your eyes checked once a year. Obstetrician/Gynecologist you should visit once a year, but depending on age or other health matters more visits may be necessary. Visits to a dermatologist, orthodontist, allergist or other specialists are on an as needed basis. Mental health professionals should be seen as often as necessary. For a more extensive discussion see https://www.healthresource4u.com/how-often-should-you-visit-the-doctor.html

Just like you take care of your phone, laptop, tablet/iPad, car, your fur baby or whatever device or item is precious to you - your body needs regular maintenance. When you make appointments for your children, make an appointment for yourself while you are already making calls or online.

The first step to self-care and self-love is to make the commitment to keep your body operating at its best at all times, by seeing your health care professionals. Once you take care of your basic health care needs regularly, you are in a good place to start a consistent practice of self-care and self-love.

Sleep

Seven to Nine hours is the recommended amount of sleep adults should get every night. Here are some tips to help you get those important Zzzs.

  • Follow a regular schedule: Going to bed at the same time each night helps regulate your inner clock.

  • Create a calming bedtime routine: Finding a relaxing routine before bed can help you get in the mood to sleep.

  • Create a comfortable environment: Turning your room into a quiet, dark place at a comfortable temperature can help you sleep better.

  • Minimize caffeine, alcohol and nicotine: Studies have linked caffeine, alcohol and nicotine use to poorer sleep quality.

  • Reduce your use of electronics: The excessive use of cell phones and electronics has been associated with poor sleep quality.

I can never get to sleep at a decent hour and it's all my fault. Once I get home from work, there's dinner to cook, then cleaning up after dinner, finally I get to unwind. By the time I get to unwind it's the time I should go to bed, but I'm not ready yet. So I stay up watching TV and playing on my iPad "unwinding" or taking care of things for the household for way too long. End result is I go to bed too late so I miss out on the sleep I should get. So the next morning I'm tired. Sound familiar or is it just me?

Diet and Exercise

Eating right and exercise are fundamental, at least that's what my doctor keeps telling me. Sure the advice is correct. Can I get a show of hands of how many times you've started a diet and exercise routine only to fall short and find yourself starting all over again several times during the year? I stopped making it a New Year resolution years ago because it's always my goal. I'm a work in progress on this issue.

You can start small by taking a 20 minute walk in your neighborhood and watching what you eat. From there you can build up to 30, then a 45 minute walk. If you're up to it then add in some light weights for weight training. Pay attention to your body and your health and adjust accordingly.

You don't have to go on a diet to lose weight, watching what you eat and making smarter food choices can really do the trick and make a world of difference. Making sure you finish dinner three hours before bed is important to losing weight, as well as drinking 64 ounces of water. Water is good not only for your body, but also for your skin, hair, and nails. In this article it details how water is the elixir of life. We can go without food, sure we'll be hungry, but we cannot go without water. https://www.emedihealth.com/drinking-water-benefits.html

Self-Care and Self-Love Practices

Family comes in many different versions - single mother, married with children, married no children but co-parenting your partner's children, and some of you have the additional responsibility of caring for elderly or ill parents. No matter what your family responsibilities entail, it is important you make a regular practice of taking care of yourself because when you do, you are better able to handle all of your responsibilities.

Self-Care is important for every area of your life - mind, body and spirit. The following article is a good reference for showing how self-care is for your entire self. Five Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life by Elizabeth Scott MS https://www.verywellmind.com/self-care-strategies-overall-stress-reduction-3144729.

I've talked about the importance of self-care, but neglecting self-care also has effects such as causing your health to deteriorate. You may experience a lack of sleep, a decrease in relationship satisfaction, along with problems of self esteem. Prolonged neglect of self-care can lead to increased stress and put you at risk for depression and heart disease.

Self-Care and Self-Love are practices that must be done regularly. Self-care includes self-talk, the messages we give to ourselves daily. Four Realistic Rules for Better Self-Care by Katherine King Psy.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifespanperspectives/201909/four-realistic-rules-better-self-care

Shainna Ali, Ph.D. author of The Self Love Workbook wrote "Self Love includes but is not limited to, recognizing your self-worth, being kind toward yourself, and fostering your self-growth throughout the course of your life. If your self-care strategies are not sticking, it may be because you are lacking the foundation of self-love. You may be missing aspects of awareness, kindness, and respect that are crucial to foster self-care. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/modern-mentality/201901/why-your-self-care-isn-t-working

Some self-care practices you can adopt are (1) forgive yourself for your past or self perceived wrongs by journaling it out, or saying it out loud, (2) spend time alone getting in touch with yourself, (3) invest in the relationships that fulfill you, (4) incorporate rest, relaxation, and play into your life, (5) say NO to commitments more often, (6) get enough sleep, (7) eat right and get some form of exercise, (8) limit negativity in the form of people and situations by choosing how you spend your time.

By following these basic self-care practices you are building the foundation for a self-care regimen. Self-care of course is more of the physical acts of taking care or yourself, like eating right, getting enough rest, massages, mani/pedis, etc. Self-care is required because it keeps us going physically.

Self-love is really the first step to self-care. One definition - it is a regard for one's own being and happiness. I believe it is a deep connection of your mind, body and spirit. I suggest you find a quiet place, close your eyes and take a few minutes to tune into your own freque