Self Care Habits To Build Resilience

Take Things To The Next Level With These Self-Care Habits

 When we forget to take care of our bodies, we tend to be more vulnerable to stress, whether we realize it or not.  When in the throes of lack of sleep, poor exercise habits, or even the failure to create enough "down time," we tend to approach problems from a less-than-optimal place.  That's why taking care of yourself is important.  If you've already found that a little self care can stave off stress for you, it may be time to build on that and take on a new self-care habit that builds resilience toward stress as well.  And if you're not actively maintaining enough specific self-care habits already, it's important to start now.  The following are healthy self-care habits that you may already be maintaining, and possibly some that you're not.  See what you might want to try next, and make it a regular habit.  You'll be glad you did.

Find A Form Of Exercise You Truly Enjoy

Ferran Traite Soler/ Getty Images. Ferran Traite Soler/ Getty Images

Exercise can build resilience toward stress, raise your energy levels, and help ward off health issues you may face in the future.  (Read more about stress and exercise here.) This makes it a prime self-care habit for those who want to look and feel great.  However, it takes motivation and commitment to maintain a workout regimen.  That's why it is vital to find a workout program that you truly enjoy, whether it's a dance class, a yoga group, or meetings with a committed gym buddy.  This can help you maintain the habit because it will be one you truly enjoy, that you feel you are doing because you want to (rather because you feel you have to), which can be an important distinction when it comes to stress and motivation.  So think about what you'd like to do rather than what you think you should do when it comes to exercise, and do it!  There are so many forms of exercise that you can try, that it's easy to find one that's perfect for you.

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Try Other Self-Care Strategies

A warm bath is one of life's great pleasures.. stevecoleimages/ Getty Images

 We often think about self-care as indulgence, but when you don't have a healthy balance of pleasurable and relaxing activities to balance out all that you must do for others, you can feel more stressed over time.  It's important to take care of your own needs by taking care of your body and mind in little ways.  Here are some self-care strategies that are important to remember to keep your body as relaxed and rejuvenated as it needs to be to keep you ready to face the stress of a busy life. 

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Really Prioritize Sleep

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 There are so many things that can compete with a good night's sleep, but a sleep debt can make you more reactive toward stress.  It can be so tempting to sacrifice an hour or two of sleep to get ahead on a long to do list, or even just to have some extra time to yourself, but you pay for that missed sleep later in the form of slower reaction, poorer memory functioning, and increased reactivity toward stress.  It really does pay to prioritize sleep.  Here's how to really prioritize your sleep, and why.  (And if you're getting too little sleep because your stress levels, rather than your schedule, are sabotaging your sleep, here are some ways to manage that.)  

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Make Time For Your Friends

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 When we get busy, it can be more challenging to make time for friends. We may feel that we "see" them enough on social media, but it's important to actually connect with people, of course, and make time to have fun together.  This not only keeps your relationships strong (which is a valuable stress reliever), but can help you to relax and laugh a little extra--both important stress relief activities as well. When you have more practice relaxing and maintaining your sense of humor with friends, and you have a stronger social support group to draw strength from, you have more resources (internal and external) to handle the stress that comes into your life.  Here's why friend time is important, and what you can do to make it a standard part of your schedule.

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Do What Makes You Happy!

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 Keeping yourself in a good mood can relieve stress as well.  When you are in a positive and optimistic frame of mind, you see more possibilities and build more resources against stress.  Therefore, doing what makes you happy--whether it's engaging in hobbies, goofing off, or enjoying life's simple pleasures--can help you build resources and resilience against stress as well.  So prioritize having fun, it's worth it!

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Find Some "Quiet Time" For Yourself

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 Finding leisure time can help you to maintain resilience toward stress for many reasons.  Simply relaxing can help you to trigger your body's relaxation response; if you're under chronic stress, and this can be vital for your wellbeing.  You also build up your reserves for handling future stress when you're physically and emotionally rested.  Much in the way of doing things that make you happy can help you to better handle stress, doing nothing from time to time can help you to live in the moment, feel more relaxed, and better handle stress as well.

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