The Importance of Self Care
By: Ameera P, a volunteer with Edgemont Youth Press
With the summer months coming to an end, it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves. Now, I know what you’re thinking, who has the time for that? Self-care doesn’t have to be big acts that take hours. Even small things can turn the day from a frown to a smile!
To start, an easy one! Going on a short walk can change your mood because physical activity such as walking produces endorphins which are natural mood-boosting chemicals produced in the brain. The release of these endorphins can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Taking a short walk can offer an amazing healthy distraction from negative thoughts and give your mind a break from the daily stress of life!
Getting enough sleep is another easy way to put yourself first! While sleep may be the last thing on your mind while stressed, getting a good night’s sleep can change your mood throughout the day! Lack of sleep can negatively impact mood, cognitive function, and overall well-being. Sleep plays a critical role in cognitive functions such as memory, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Proper sleep can also help with overall mood and is linked to better emotional regulation, mood stability, and reduced irritability. Sleep is also crucial for a healthy immune system. During deep sleep, the body produces and releases cytokines, proteins that help fight inflammation and infections. The last thing we need when stressed is to get sick!
Stress management. Here’s one we hear about all the time, but how can we properly practice it in our daily lives? Stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation can be an amazing way to reduce stress and anxiety! These tools activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in simple terms, helps your body’s stress response. They reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol, leading to a calmer and more relaxed state. Deep breathing can also help symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks by promoting a sense of control. Deep breathing can help with daily emotional regulation, helping all of us respond more calmly to the challenging situations we face daily.
Engage in hobbies and activities you love! Take time out of your day for activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading, painting, gardening, baking, or any other hobby that brings you joy and relaxation. Studies suggest that people who regularly engage in enjoyable hobbies tend to experience better overall well-being and may even live longer! Who knew? Hobbies provide a form of mental relaxation and escape. When you submerge yourself in a hobby, you can temporarily let go of worries and concerns, giving your mind a break. Focusing on something you enjoy can be relaxing and reduce stress levels, which is something everyone needs occasionally!
As we step into the new school year, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. You only get one life, make it one you feel good in!