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Six Tips for Caring for Yourself and Others

When people talk about healthy lifestyles, it often centers around food and exercise, but when it comes to overall wellbeing, these are just part of the picture. In order to be truly healthy, you have to consider all areas of your life that contribute to wellbeing, and that includes your personal life, as well as your connections to your local community and the environment. In other words, health can’t be pinned down to just one area; instead, it has to be holistic. With this in mind, this guest post post suggests six tips on how to care for yourself and for others. If you'd like to share your own tips, please check out our #GrowShareCare competition - we'd love to hear your ideas!

Guest post by Katleen Brown

1. Start by getting enough sleep

Poor sleep is a health risk, that leaves people in a bad mood, interferes with learning and memory, may contribute to depression, and wreaks havoc on your ability to pay attention. Despite these consequences, about 30 percent of adults get six hours of sleep or less according to the CDC. It’s a bleak situation and indicates people aren’t properly balancing their work, personal life, and other obligations. In order to feel fresh and at your best, you should try getting 7 to 8.5 hours of sleep every night, and going to bed and waking up at the same time. If you get enough sleep, you’ll be more prepared to handle anything that comes your way, and have a level head in your personal and professional interactions.

2. Eat a well-balanced diet, high in fruits and vegetables

Although you’ll read about tons of new diet fads everyday in the healthy news section of the paper, a few things seem to span the spectrum of successful eating plans. Vegetarians, vegans, paleo followers, and Mediterranean diet-lovers alike all recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables. They’re 100 percent natural, have been eaten for centuries, are low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals, and often get the prominent recognition of being superfoods. Plus, a more plant-based diet has been shown to be better for the environment too. Basically, you can’t go wrong by adding a few more apples and carrots to your lunch bag.

3. Get enough exercise

Exercise is natural; we’re made to move, not sit down all day. Incorporating physical activity into your life doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day and power it up on the stair master for an hour. General recommended guidelines say you should engage in two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. That’s only about 20 minutes a day, and who said you had to do it all at once? Break it up throughout the day by walking briskly to your destinations and taking the stairs.

4. Make time for yourself

At times, the list of things you have to think about can seem endless and overwhelming, even if many of them are positive - family, work, friends, eating right, financial concerns. However, there will always be one more thing to do, so if you don’t actively make time for yourself, you might find you’ve just been living for other people.

Nurse Bronnie Ware reminds us how important this is in her well-known book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. The top regret of the dying was not living a life true to themselves. People often postpone their personal desires and dreams for the good of everyone around them, but in the end, that’s not really in anyone’s benefit, especially if you’ll come to regret it later.

5. Don’t forget about your family or friends

Although this might seem obvious, it can be easy to take family and friends for granted. So many people put personal relationships aside to work over the weekend or glue themselves to their phone or computer without really engaging with their loved ones. However, in The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Ware found that the second most common regret was having worked too hard while missing out on important family moments, and the fourth most common regret was not keeping in touch with old friends. Make sure these aren't your regrets, by making time for those you care about.

6. Get involved in your community

Your community is potentially a great source of support and nourishment, so it makes sense that you’d do something to acknowledge this and build strong community connections. Getting involved on the community level has concrete benefits for your health, too. According to Harvard Health Publications, volunteering can lower blood pressure, and if you do it regularly for the right reasons (not because you have to, but because you want to) you may even live longer. How’s that for motivation?

Getting the right balance

Wellbeing is all about balance. Although it can be difficult to juggle everything going on in your life, it’s not impossible if you approach it calmly and know where your priorities lie. These are some top tips I find helpful to maintain wellbeing. What are yours? 

** Please note: The Network of Wellbeing is currently running a competition in the lead up to World Environment Day inviting you to share your tips on the themes of Growing, Sharing and Caring. To enter simply share your tips (with a photo, if possible) on social media, including the hash tag #GrowShareCare and tagging the Network of Wellbeing (on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram).** 

About the Author

Katleen Brown is a health, beauty and fitness writer. She loves to publish her articles on various health related websites. In her spare time, Katleen likes to do research and writing to bring awareness. Recognising the unity of body, mind, and outlook, she helps empower women to tune into their innate and inner wisdom to transform their health and truly flourish. Get in touch with her on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

Credits for images used in this post: Image 1 - friendship via Damian Gadal, image 2 - fruit and vegetables via Olearys, image 3 - community via Totnes Squash Co-Op

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