All the ways you should be taking care of yourself

Self-care is something that many people don’t see as important or worth the “effort”, which isn’t right. Respecting your body, mind and life is important and taking care of yourself is one way of doing just that.  

And it doesn’t have to take hours out of your day or that you must change your lifestyle completely. It’s little things added together that lead to a healthier and happier you.

A skin care routine

Not everyone understands the need for a skin care routine but, in the same breath, they’re complaining about their breakouts every other week. Every time you fall asleep with your makeup on, touch your face with your hands, forget to put on sunscreen, eat more sugar than you should or try to pop your pimples – you are damaging your skin.

If you shower every day, you have no reason not to wash your face. And if you don’t shower every day but brush your teeth every morning and night, there’s still no reason why you can’t wash your face. It takes two minutes to wet your face, use a cleanser, rinse it off, dry your face and apply a moisturiser.

You should consult a dermatologist or beauty product expert who can recommend a cleanser specifically for your type of skin, otherwise, a generic combination-skin range of skin care products will work just as well. And every now and then, when you find you have an extra five minutes on your hands, you can do a face mask at home for extra care. And masks you only need to do once a week.

Setting water targets

When days are busy we “forget” to drink the recommended daily amount of water. Yet, somehow, it’s very easy for us to grab a soda, cup of coffee or tea when we feel thirsty. Drinking two litres of water every day seems like a lot but it’s only eight glasses of water. And that is achievable when you replace the four cups of coffee you have in a day with glasses of water. You’re already halfway there.   

Water is an amazing substance for our bodies. It helps our skin, our metabolism, our bodily functions, our minds and our overall health. Nine times out of 10, doctors will recommend “lots of fluids” and by fluids, they mean water. Start setting water targets to build your daily water intake. Don’t expect to go from zero glasses to eight in one day and feel good about it, you need to make it a habit and start slowly.

Diet and exercise

Along with the doctors’ water recommendation is a diet and exercise one. These three activities work together to build a healthy body and release the happy hormones. Eating healthier foods can also save you money which is a way for you to take care of your finances. Diet isn’t about starving yourself, it’s about making healthier food choices. These could include monitoring your portion sizes (and the number of portions), how often you have fast food and the vegetable-protein-carbohydrate ratio on your plate.

Exercising will make you stronger, fitter and healthier. And exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. Not everyone is comfortable with the “gym” environment or taking classes as a newbie with people who’ve been there for years. Exercise also doesn’t mean going for a run. You can follow an at-home workout programme or play a sport you enjoy which “disguises” the exercise part.

Health plan

When you become an adult and can no longer be on your parent’s medical insurance or medical aid plan, it’s time to buy your own. If you want to make sure all your possible medical care is taken care of, start looking at the top five medical aid schemes in South Africa and find one you can afford.

You don’t need to stress about finances in the event you need to be in hospital for a few days. Take care of your peace of mind and invest in a hospital plan at the very least. If you’re exercising, living off a healthy diet and drinking water, the chances are a hospital plan can provide you with all the cover you need for your, otherwise, healthy life.

Time in nature

Take care of your stress and your mind by spending time in nature. When things are overwhelming in your personal life or at work, find ten minutes to go outside and take a walk. Being in nature is said to decrease depression, relieve stress and even improve creativity.

It’s important to take care of your mental health. Being outdoors is one way, journalling or listening to music are others. Do whatever you need to do to take a mental-breather and recentre your focus.  

Taking care of yourself is really no effort and can be done in increments of half hours as a start. We generally have more time on our hands than we think we do and if you cut out one episode of a TV series each night, you’ll have an extra 45 minutes to spend on taking care of yourself.