Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

By Quinn Nystrom, MS

As human beings, we are hardwired to want to help others.

This fact is evident in the bravery and tenacity of our healthcare workers, law enforcement, military, and the Everyday Heroes that we encounter either in person or on the news.

Imagine what the world would be like if we were not this way?

The downside is that, as selfless givers, we often forget one crucial detail: how to take care of ourselves. Information and instruction on “self-care” can be found everywhere, yet many fall short in the taking care of me category. The result is a nation (and world) filled with emotionally exhausted, chronically overworked, and physically sick individuals.

Self-care is even more critical for those with underlying health issues. I don’t know about you, but I catch myself working overtime to keep my “I’m fine! Everything is fine!” veneer intact until I hit a hypothetical wall and have to admit that I am not fine.

Putting your health first may sound simplistic, but it is not when your day includes family and work responsibilities. I would love to think that my day is filled with checking off a tidy little list of all the things I need to stay sane and healthy, but I would be kidding myself.

Sarcasm aside, taking care of yourself, no matter the status of your health, needs to be something that is practiced every day.

Here are some tips to help you prioritize your health:

  1. Live Healthy and Do What Is Best for Your Body: This includes physical movement, getting enough sleep, avoiding stimulants, and adhering to your doctor’s instructions or recommendations. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
  2. Practice Good Hygiene: This may sound like a no-brainer, but the reality is that proper hygiene is not only important for social, medical, and psychological reasons, but it also improves our view of ourselves.
  3. Strengthen Your Connections: Some are depleted by spending time with other people, some of us are energized. But the bottom line is that human connection is critical to good mental health and fostering a sense of belonging. Even in a pandemic world, tools like Facetime and Zoom make it easy to connect even if you can’t physically meet up with friends. Choose to hang out with the people who make you laugh and the ones who build you up, not tear you down.
  4. Rediscover What Makes Your Heart Sing: Remember how happy you used to feel when you went skating, fishing, dancing, gardening, exploring a new museum, or taking a cooking class? Reconnect with the parts of your life that once brought you joy and make those things part of your current routine.
  5. Nature is Healing: It’s no secret that being surrounded by forest, water, fauna, or flora is incredibly calming and soothing. If hiking is not your jam, at least take the time every day to make sure you get the healing rays of the sun on your face and the cleansing benefits of fresh air into your body.

Today, I want you to take the time to sit with the ideas and information I just shared and make a plan that puts you (and your health) first. This does not mean you have to stop being a mom, wife, sister, aunt, caregiver, employee, leader, or boss. But it does mean that all the things needed to keep you “upright and healthy” should be at the top of your daily To-Do List.

You got this!