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10 steps to better self care

Female executive standing with hands on hip in the officeIs taking care of yourself near the bottom of an ever-expanding to-do list? Perhaps you’re just really busy. Or maybe you feel guilty about doing things just for yourself. It’s important to realize that there’s nothing selfish about investing in your health and well-being. In fact, it’s critical to take care of your own wellness needs.

Here are a few things you can add to your schedule to practice self-care:

  1. Get a massage. Go on, relax, get those knots worked out. Let the stress fade away.
  2. Make a commitment to stay hydrated. When you’re not hydrated, it can be hard on your body, and you can feel worn out. How much water should you try to drink each day? Some experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses per day, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and it’s easy to remember. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. How much water do you drink each day? If you’re like most people it’s probably not enough!
  3. Take stretching breaks. Give yourself time every day to stretch out muscles and joints and keep things flexible.
  4. Go for a walk or commit to another exercise routine. The opportunities are many. Have you ever tried yoga or tai chi? Fitness can be good for your mind and body. Walking several times a week is easy, low-impact and can have a substantial and positive effect on your overall health.
  5. Take vacations. The key is to take a break, even if they’re mini-vacations. Don’t overlook time off as an important way to feel better and stay healthy. Allowing yourself a break from the everyday hustle and bustle can help you rejuvenate.
  6. Sit in a nice warm bath. Just soak away your worries!
  7. Tell yourself nice things in the mirror. This is a great way to help reverse negative thinking.
  8. Spend some time with friends. Studies confirm that maintaining strong social ties — especially as you age — is vital to staying not only happy, but healthy.
  9. Try meditation. Studies show it’s a powerful way to take better care of yourself. Not sure where to start? Try one of these free apps to get started. UCLA Mindful, for example, has a Getting Started section, which can help you understand what mindfulness is, how to do it and how often, and how it can benefit you.
  10. Take a deep breath. Focusing on your breathing will help you get your heart rate down and relax your body. Take deep breaths! It will also help you keep your thoughts from wandering onto other things. Try inhaling through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth. You can also focus on how deeply you can breathe. Speaking of breathing, here are some simple breathing exercises to try.