Many adults experience life as a juggling act. Not only do they have work obligations to live up to, but many also face the pressures and responsibilities that come with raising a family. Unfortunately, when life is overflowing and you feel stretched too thin, the last thing you make time for is yourself.
However, this approach only manages to make things worse. If you don’t take care of your mental and physical health, taking care of everyone else is much more difficult, if not impossible. A better approach is to invest in yourself. By prioritizing self-care, you can feel your best and be better equipped to tackle all of the responsibilities that come your way.
Exercising consistently is one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity that elevates your heart rate and helps you break a sweat provides a myriad of benefits, including:
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces cholesterol and blood pressure
- Leads to better weight control
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Provides more stable glucose and insulin levels
- Releases feel-good chemicals, including endorphins and dopamine
- Improves focus and memory
For maximum benefits, commit to working out at least five days per week. To make it easier to stay consistent, choose a physical activity that you enjoy. For example, if you like the dynamics of group exercise, consider joining a gym or subscribing to an online exercise platform like Peloton.
If money is an issue, however, don’t despair. There are plenty of free forms of exercise that don’t require an investment or a trip to the gym. For example, running can be done anywhere and won’t cost you anything. As Dr. Jason Campbell explains, “Running is a great and accessible form of exercise because it doesn’t require any specific equipment or location. You can run in parks, on trails, or even indoors.”
Get Your Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is also imperative if you want to optimize your health. While most experts recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, many adults are struggling to get by with much less.
To optimize your sleep, try to keep a consistent schedule for when you go to bed and when you rise. It’s helpful to make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it cool and dark. You may also want to invest in a quality mattress and pillow if your current setup isn’t ideal. Finally, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and blue light in the late afternoon and evening.
A consistent meditation practice can make a big difference in how you feel. To meditate, focus on an object or your breath in an effort to feel centered and mindful. If your thoughts stray or you find yourself thinking about the past or future, simply bring yourself gently back to the present. When you first begin, you may want to use a mediation app for guidance, but over time, feeling centered, peaceful, and present should become more automatic.
If you feel stretched too thin and overwhelmed by life’s demands, prioritize activities that boost your physical and mental health. This form of self-care not only helps you feel your best but also ensures you have the energy to handle the responsibilities that come with both family and work.