Strengthen your resilience through kindness to yourself.

In times like these when we are facing uncertain futures and dealing with isolation, it can sometimes be a chance to look for a silver lining and explore ways we can look after ourselves a little better. You may be looking after children who are trying to make sense of this changed world, reassuring friends going through tough times, or reaching out to parents and grandparents more. In order to have the mental and physical energy to look after the people around you, you need to stay recharged and stress-free. Here are 6 small self-care ideas to help you show kindness to yourself and stay mentally resilient in hard times. 

1. Drink enough water.

Did you know that your body is 60% water? Water is essential in supporting healthy skin, energizing muscles, helping major organs function properly, and much more. That means that any level of dehydration can leave you feeling thirsty, tired, and sluggish. 

Listening to your body and reaching for a glass of water when you are thirsty can help you feel healthier and more energized. Your best bet is to stave off thirst in the first place by being proactive about drinking water. Make drinking a glass of water a part of your morning routine. Keep a water bottle in your car and at your desk so that a drink is always within reach. Finally, stop thinking about drinking enough water as a chore and consider it an important self-care strategy. 

2. Get enough sleep.

Sleep is another vital part of your overall health. When you are asleep, your body is working to heal your heart and blood vessels, form new pathways in the brain, regulate hormones, and support your immune system. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body isn’t able to heal and function at full capacity. Ultimately, this can affect your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Adults need to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per day in order to feel rested and healthy. If you wake up often during the night and don’t fall into a deep sleep, you could end up feeling tired the next day, even if you were in bed for a full eight hours. 

The best way to improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night is by establishing a regular sleep routine. That means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. It is also helpful to use the hour before bed to relax, which means staying away from TV and phone screens, taking a bath, or drinking a hot cup of decaf tea. All of these techniques will help send signals to the brain that it is time to go to sleep.

3. Spend more time outside.

Fresh air and nature offer a whole host of benefits that will enhance your self-care plan. Unplugging from electronics and communing with the outdoors helps to reduce stress. If you take this time to go for a walk or jog, you will also enjoy the benefits of exercise. In addition, spending just 15 to 20 minutes outside is enough time for your body to absorb enough vitamin D to support your body and fight off certain diseases. Whether you start eating your lunch outside or take a walk around the block, spending even a little more time outside will improve your health.

4. Do something nice for someone else.

Think about how good it feels when a stranger gives you a compliment or a friend calls to catch up? You can boost your mood and make someone else feel better with an act of kindness. This will also help you build new and stronger connections with others. Even if family or study commitments mean you don’t have a lot of spare time, you can still take small steps to fostering your social health, especially in these times of isolation. 

Remember that it doesn’t have to be a big gesture. Take the time to refill the empty coffee pot at work or tell a stranger how much you like their outfit. Once you experience how good these small acts feel, you may be inspired to take on bigger tasks, like supporting a local charity. Begin by doing something nice on a daily basis as part of your self-care routine and watch as it improves your attitude and outlook.

5. Practice better oral hygiene.

Your oral health is directly tied to your overall health. If bacteria is allowed to accumulate in your mouth, it can cause more serious problems. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to endocarditis, pneumonia, and cardiovascular disease. For those who suffer from chronic conditions, including diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s, bacteria can worsen symptoms.

A simple way to practice daily self-care and improve your oral health is to make sure that you are brushing for a full two minutes at least twice a day. Today’s electric toothbrushes come with a feature that emits a gentle vibration when it is time to switch to another area of your mouth. All you have to do is keep brushing and changing quadrants until the brush stops moving. You can take all the thinking out of brushing and enjoy a healthier mouth.

6. Sharpen your mind.

You already know about the benefits of physical exercise, but how often do you think about exercising your brain? Mental health also means participating in stimulating activities that help form new pathways. Instead of watching TV while you drink your morning coffee, spend a few minutes doing a crossword puzzle or reading a book. Or try getting the family involved and start a jigsaw puzzle. This is also a great way to relax and relieve stress.

When it comes to self-care strategies, there are simple things you can do on a daily basis that will help improve your mental, physical, and emotional health. While we are all doing our bit to stay isolated, it doesn’t stop us looking after the people in our lives, and that should include yourself. 

While  Wohlers Family Dentistry of Marietta, Georgia, is currently only taking emergency appointments, we are still here to answer any oral-health related questions. Our friendly and experienced staff is ready to help.