No time for self-care? Try this

No time for self-care? Try this

Drinking water, exercising regularly and managing stress are just some of the many ways we can take care of our health on a daily basis. But it’s easy to put these habits on the backburner when it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to handle work, family and other obligations.

The good news is even mustering small pockets of time throughout the day for self-care can benefit your health. A study found that micropractices can be a great tool in managing your stress and wellness.

Micropractices are small actions people take throughout the day to pause and reflect on what they might need for their health and well-being. Unlike a full workout, these micropratices only take mere seconds or minutes to implement.

“Micropractices are a great way to check in on your wellness and take any action,” says Dr. Edmund Fernandez, a family physician at Aurora Health Care. “The best part is you can implement micropractices into your everyday routine from waiting at a red light to checking in before you scroll through social media or answer a text.”

For example, the study’s authors recommend each time you wash your hands to use it as an opportunity to take a breath and check in with your needs. Ask yourself if you’re staying well hydrated or if you’re hungry. When you’re done washing your hands, you can take care of any quick needs like filling up your water bottle or grabbing a healthy snack.

“Those pauses throughout the day also can help with stress relief by taking a breath and being in the moment to focus on what you need,” says Dr. Fernandez.

Ways to incorporate micropractices throughout your day:
  • Kick off the day by making the bed and using that time to reflect on hard things you need to tackle that day.
  • Eat mindfully by eating more slowly and focusing on enjoying your meal. This practice can help reduce stress.
  • Counteract one bad habit with a healthy habit. For instance, if you can’t kick your daily soda habit, match every soda can you drink with a glass of water.
  • Reflect on your day while brushing your teeth before bed. Bonus: it’s a good way to ensure you don’t skip this habit.

If you are overwhelmed and unable to manage stress even with the help of micropractices, reach out to your health care provider.

Decreasing your stress can help improve your heart health. Take a free online quiz to learn your heart disease risk.

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About the Author

Vicki Martinka Petersen
Vicki Martinka Petersen

Vicki Martinka Petersen, health enews contributor, is a digital copywriter on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. A former newspaper reporter, she’s worked in health care communications for the last decade. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys tackling her to be read pile, trying new recipes, meditating, and planning fun activities to do in the Chicago area with her husband and son.