As more people prioritize a healthy living lifestyle so that they have the energy to do the things they love, the value of “self-care” has become a part of the mainstream lexicon. But what, exactly, is self-care and how should it be incorporated in meaningful ways for maximum benefit?

Self-care is usually thought of as a broad term – and can encompass everything from physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Yet many people, according to a report by Samueli Integrative Health Programs in concert with The Harris Poll, feel that self-care is something that requires extra time that might not be available. Even though nearly all participants said that they have practiced self-care, only 39 percent said they do it often – and surprisingly, more than 1 in 4 said that when they do, they feel guilty about it. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Here are easy ways self-care can be practiced every day:

This Brain Was Made for Walking

While some people have the luxury of having several hours to themselves during the workday to meditate and exercise, others may feel they can barely squeeze in one or the other – but certainly not both. The good news is that walking and meditation can be combined. The next time you go for a walk, skip the podcast and try to focus on and observe your feet hitting the pavement or the breath that is coming in and out of your body. Listen for sounds that you may not ordinarily hear. If you start to feel distracted and have negative thoughts, stop and take some more deep breaths while focusing on how that feels.

A “Prime” Delivery of Oxygen and Nutrients in Your Body

Nitric oxide is a supermolecule that allows arteries to relax and widen, promoting healthy blood flow throughout your body. Healthy blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to vital organs, muscles and tissues for optimal performance. Keeping your arteries healthy and flexible can even support healthy blood pressure. One of the ways to increase your body’s natural supply of nitric oxide is through a plant-based nutrient extracted from cocoa beans, called cocoa flavanols. But the key is to make sure you’re getting enough. CocoaVia — available in a capsule or delicious powdered drink mix – guarantees 450mg of cocoa flavanols per serving, ensuring that every organ, muscle and tissue in your body is supported with sustained energy throughout the day.

Laugh Lines are Open

Another key way to practice self-care, particularly during stressful times, is to laugh! Find something that makes you smile and laugh – a book, a movie, a TV show – and unwind, even if only for a few minutes. Better yet, call a friend to shoot the breeze and swap happy stories. There have been many studies on the importance of laughter; some of them are reviewed in a paper published by the journal Canadian Family Physician. One doctor even said he “envisioned a time when physicians might recommend that everyone get 15 to 20 minutes of laughter in a day in the same way they recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise.”

These simple self-care steps are just a few ways to help ensure that your physical, mental and emotional health is taken care of every day.

© SilverDisobedience 2020 (SP)