How to Show Yourself Love This Valentine’s Day
With the additional stress and isolation the pandemic has caused, chances are we all could use a little extra love this Valentine’s Day. Here are five ways you can treat yourself to some well-deserved TLC.
1. Focus on a Healthy Diet
You’ve heard it before: Eating a healthy diet has far-reaching benefits.
A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains is proven to help safeguard your heart, reduce your risk of cancer, prevent diabetes, lower your risk of stroke, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Add ample vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your nutrition plan, and it may even help enhance your memory and protect you against cognitive decline as you age.1
Getting proper nutrition can help boost your mood, making it a high-impact way to show yourself some love. In the end, eating should be an enjoyable experience, so make the effort to find foods you love, and they will love you back.
2. Stay Active2
Getting plenty of activity is also a great way to take care of yourself, regardless of your mobility level. It’s important to take the time to find ways to get moving that work for you.
No doubt you already know about the obvious benefits of regular exercise, such as weight management, reduced risk of disease, and lower cholesterol, but you may not know that exercise has many mental health benefits, too. It can help you manage anxiety and depression, and the feel-good chemicals your brain releases after physical activity can leave you with a post-workout glow. Plus, getting fit can also increase your self-confidence and overall well being.
On top of that, getting regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and get better-quality sleep overall, which means its benefits spill over into the next day.
Staying active isn’t just about traditional exercise. You can incorporate other movement-based pursuits you love into your day, such as gardening, dancing, yoga, or anything else that makes you happy.
3. Rest Up3
No list of self-care tips would be complete without quality sleep in the mix. It’s one of the simplest—and most affordable—ways to pamper yourself. On average, experts suggest adults should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
Doing so supports a healthy immune system, which means you may get sick less often. It also helps lower your risk of serious health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Ample sleep is also linked to helping you maintain a healthy weight, which is another win for shut-eye fanatics.
When you are well-rested, you’re also able to focus more at work or at school and you are less prone to accidents.
To set the stage for a good night’s sleep, experts recommend you turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.4 This means no electronic devices, including your cell phone, computer, and TV. You also want to ensure your room is dark at bedtime and that the temperature is comfortable. Quiet is key, too, so use ear plugs if you have noisy neighbors or barking dogs nearby.
In the end, waking up after a full night of restful sleep just feels great, so make it a priority to treat yourself regularly.
4. Spend Time with People You Love
While this may be a little trickier during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to find ways to have interactions with the people you care about. Research shows a clear connection between social isolation and significant physical and emotional health risks, underscoring the importance of connecting with family and friends.5
If the weather is nice where you live, you can safely gather outdoors if you follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for social distancing, mask-wearing, and good hygiene.
Another avenue for connecting safely with others is through technology. You can stay in touch with family and friends near and far through virtual meeting platforms, such as Zoom and Google Meet.
It’s easy to check in with loved ones via a quick text on even the busiest days. And, when you have time, you can settle in for a nice long call with someone you miss.
5. Reach Out for Emotional Support
Sometimes we need a little extra support. One of the best ways to show yourself love is to reach out for help when you need it.
Hanger Clinic offers virtual support groups and events to help you find inspiration and support from others who have faced similar challenges.
You don’t have to go it alone, so don’t be shy about asking others for support for whatever challenges you may be facing.
No matter how you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day this year, be sure to show yourself some love!
1) Strasser, Barbara, and Dietmar Fuchs. “Role of Physical Activity and Diet on Mood, Behavior, and Cognition.” Neurology, Psychiatry and Brain Research, vol. 21, no. 3, 2015, pp. 118–26. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.npbr.2015.07.002. 2) “Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.” Mayo Clinic, 11 May 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389. 3) “Get Enough Sleep – MyHealthfinder | Health.Gov.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10 Feb. 2021, health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep. 4) “CDC – Sleep Hygiene Tips – Sleep and Sleep Disorders.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 July 2016, www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html. 5) “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 Nov. 2020, www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html.
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