Self-neglect is something we do every day without realizing it. Staying awake until midnight to make sure tomorrow is perfect for our kids, eating on-the-go, and stressing over things we can’t change are just part of today’s world. But it shouldn't be that way. If you want to be the best version of yourself, you have to know how to take care of you.
Here are five things you should know about self-neglect and how to change your habits for the better.
1. Clutter makes it harder to focus on important parts of your life.
It starts out innocently enough. Mail left on the kitchen bar, a single basket of laundry forgotten by the closet. But these unfinished chores add up and culminate into clutter. Clutter that can take a toll on every other part of your day. Clutter makes it hard to think and can negatively impact our mental health. And in today’s over-materialistic world, it’s easy to amass a home full of things that simply get in the way.
The fix: Clear your home. Rent a storage unit (around $95/month in the Reno-area) and take everything you don’t need off-site until you have time to sort your belongings. Don’t simply give things away or take them to the dump – you may regret making a rash decision.
2. A sleep deficit can trigger headaches, weight gain, and slow response times.
If you’re not getting at least seven hours of sleep every night, you are operating on a sleep deficit. Poor sleep opens up plenty of opportunities for your body to turn against you and increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Further, sleep deprivation can lead to headaches and noticeably slower response times.
The fix: Practice good sleep hygiene by establishing a sleep schedule and limiting naps. Keep in mind that just 30 minutes of added sleep each night can have a huge impact on your day so hit the hay early instead of nodding off at noon.
3. Stress causes all sorts of health problems.
Stress is the elephant in the room and can stomp all over your health. Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system and a build up of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress can lead to unpredictable mood swings, relationship problems, and reliance on unhealthy crutches, such as drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol.
The fix: Virtual Medical Centre recommends looking at your stress triggers realistically. Ask yourself what’s causing you to stress and envision the worst possible outcome. When you take the time to internally dissect how you are feeling and how it’s affecting you, you may see that the added strain to your day is unnecessary. Here are 10 ways to relax after a stressful day at work.
4. Being a “yes person” depletes your internal resources.
Being a people pleaser is ingrained into our culture. We want to please our family, our co-workers, and our friends. Unfortunately, this push to make everyone happy often leads us down a path toward failing to please ourselves.
The fix: Say no. Remember that you are not an infinite resource and you only have 24 hours in your day. Between work, sleep, driving, cooking food for your family, and keeping your home clean, there is very little time for self-care. Saying no does not make you a jerk, it only frees up time to fuel your physical, mental, and emotional tanks.
5. Eating the wrong types of foods can kill you.
Eating on-the-run isn’t healthy, no matter what the drive-through advertisements want you to believe. Processed foods, which are easy to prepare and often make their way onto our tables, are loaded with sugars and fats that go against your body’s natural processes. Eating poorly makes you sluggish, weak, and unhealthy.
The fix: Eat whole foods. Ditch the boxes and eat only foods in their whole form. For example, an apple instead of apple chips. Shop the grocery store perimeter and quit counting calories. If you’re eating right, they won’t matter that much anyway. Better yet, give yourself a break and look into a meal delivery service. Many services like Hello Fresh cost as little as $8.99 per serving. So you can eat healthy and save money and time.
The takeaway: You wouldn’t drive a car without making sure it was ready for the road. Don’t drive your body without making sure it’s ready for your life. Employing these five simple changes into your lifestyle can make a huge difference, setting you up to better care for yourself.
Brad Krause (Guest Blogger)