As mental wellness month winds down (January), it offers us an important message to carry forward throughout the year regarding our self-care. By definition, “self-care” refers to the active role we contribute to our own happiness and well-being.
While the need for self-care is more prominent during times of high stress in our lives, it should be a regular practice to protect our own health.
Sentiments and attitudes toward self-care include the following:
- Being gentle with yourself
- Taking time for yourself
- Valuing your energy and time
- Setting boundaries
- Loving yourself
- Listening to your body
- Tuning into your breath
- Scheduling holistic activities (forest bath, a spa day, etc.)
Part of self-care is having the knowledge and information available to prioritize our whole health — mind, body, and spirit. It has been such a pleasure to share various aspects of brain health and wellness through the EngAGE Your Brain blog over the past two years.
We have explored many of the exercises or activities that we can do to boost our physical and mental wellness, including:
- Our body’s internal clock (circadian rhythms)
- Physical exercise
- Lifelong learning
- Prioritizing nutrition
- Staying properly hydrated
- Practicing gratitude
- Spending time in nature
- And more. (Luckily, there is still more to explore!)
Fortunately, research is rapidly evolving to show the impact of our daily activities on our brains and bodies. How we spend our time is important. And time spent in rest and recovery, our self-care, is vital for our optimal health.
Take Charge of Your Brain Care
From my respective training and experiences, our brain care is our self-care. Essentially, “brain care” refers to the everyday things we do to support our optimal brain health and wellness. And BRAIN CARE is an acrostic we can use to understand the basic tenets of self-care that support our mind, body and spirit.
B.R.A.I.N. C.A.R.E. is Self-Care
Balance. Take brain breaks daily and prioritize time to unwind.
Rest. Sleep 7-9 hours per night to detox the brain and keep the body healthy.
Attitude. Adopt an attitude of gratitude and practice it daily.
Intellectual engagement. Discover new, novel, and challenging exercises to stimulate the mind.
Nourish. Eat and hydrate to fuel the mind and body.
Connect with others for your optimal well-being.
Aspire to the brain-healthy lifestyle you want and use S.M.A.R.T. goals to achieve your success.
Remember, B.R.A.I.N. C.A.R.E. is a journey and daily practice.
Exercise the brain and body through activities you enjoy.
Click here to download our one-page handout on brain care.
Consistently engaging in brain care practices has been proven to improve energy, concentration, and happiness while decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety and lessening negative feelings like anger and frustration. Remember, brain care is a daily practice and a lifelong journey. (This point is key and worth a second mention.) May you make intentional acts to take good care of yourself today and every day.
In brain health & wellness,
P.S.- No Brainer Day is coming up on February 27! This is a perfect time to schedule a mind spa day or pencil in “self-care o’clock” on your calendar. Make time for yourself.