We all know that routinely seeing a primary care physician helps to ensure better health outcomes. But what about the space in between those visits?
Even with the most proactive health maintenance plan in place, patients can’t maintain optimal health without taking care of themselves – a practice known as self-care.
Self-care is essential for fending off illness, as well as mental-health issues. And, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated why self-care is so important right now, as families continue to struggle with job loss, social isolation, sickness, grief and the stress the comes with changing life situations.
At Maryland Primary Care, our physicians can help tailor some self-care strategies to your specific situation. But there are several general ways that you can work to take care of yourself as well.
Let’s explore a few of those strategies.
How to practice self-care
Practicing self-care means ensuring that your physical, emotional and spiritual needs are being met. While every person’s needs are different, the ultimate goal is a healthy mind and body.
Here are a few tips recommended by the health professionals at Mayo Clinic:
- Make time for exercise on a daily basis, even if it’s just a brisk walk. Exercise not only helps your physical health, but can also help to relieve stress.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that incorporates fruit and vegetables. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Try to avoid overly processed or sugary foods, as well as snack binging.
- Get plenty of sleep: ideally 7 or more hours each night for adults.
- Try to spend more time outdoors as weather permits. Sometimes, a simple change of scenery or dose of sunlight can make all the difference.
Mental health self-care
- Set and maintain a consistent routine at home. While work and school schedules have been disruptive for many during the global health crisis, maintaining a routine that’s within your control can help to alleviate stress and anxiety.
- Recognize signs of stress and depression. When feasible, eliminate sources of stress, but never hesitate to seek help. In addition to speaking with a medical professional, talking to friends and family can do a world of good during stressful times.
- Avoid social isolation. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation. Stay connected with loved ones with video calls, phone calls, chat or however you prefer to communicate.
- Eliminate distractions when doing the things you love. For example: read books, watch movies, listen to music, etc. – while putting away your phone or sitting in a quiet room, even if only for a half-hour.
- Look for sources of fulfillment, like volunteering or helping others in your community.
- Don’t give up on the spiritual activities and beliefs that are important to you.
- Lean on your personal beliefs and faith for support.
- Even if you don’t consider yourself a “spiritual person,” consider techniques like yoga, meditation or even stretching to find time for your inner self every day.
Let’s discuss your self-care plan
Make an appointment today at Maryland Primary Care by calling 301-277-3555. Our physicians will discuss your health goals and prepare strategies to help you practice self-care during challenging times and beyond.