The following article is from Summer Healthy Living 2020

To be your best self, take better care of yourself. Because focusing on your own health and happiness isn’t selfish, here are some expert self-care tips to practice.

Keep it basic

“Remember to take care of your basic needs before you jump to things like bubble baths and face masks. Check in on how much sleep you’re getting, how much water you’re drinking and if you’re eating enough. It’s much easier to feel awful, emotionally or physically, if one of those factors is off.”

- Julia Koerwer, social worker and director of people, Brooklyn Minds Psychiatry, New York

Make a move

“There is absolutely no substitute. No extremes necessary, just move every day in whatever way you can. If I told you there was a drug that would help you lose weight, build muscle, lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, improve insulin resistance and lift your mood, everyone would become maniacs fighting to get it. It’s not in the drugstore, it’s in your legs and arms. ... Prioritize time for activity because it serves you and you deserve it.”

- Keith-Thomas Ayoob, nutritionist and associate clinical professor emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Bronx, New York

Write it out

“Journaling is a self-care tip anyone can do. Set a timer for 10 minutes and begin writing. Don’t worry about a prompt, grammar or spelling. Just start writing about the first thing you can think of in a stream-of-consciousness way and keep your pen moving. Allow the process to unfold naturally to allow for a catharsis and an expression of your subconscious experiences.”

- Louis Laves-Webb, Austin, Texas-based psychotherapist

Just breathe

“Despite your best planning, frustration will likely be a regular fact of life. Calm yourself down by stepping away from the stressful situation. Place your hands on a sturdy, flat surface, close your eyes nand take at least three slow, deep breaths.”

- Jenifer Joy Madden, parent educator, adjunct professor of digital media and founder, DurableHuman.com

Explore outside

“Spending time outdoors lifts your mood and shifts attention back to the present moment. Whether you start a veggie garden, have a picnic at a local park, sit and listen to birdsong or go for a hike in the hills, getting outside is vital to physical, mental and spiritual well-being.”

- The Rev. Connie L. Habash, marriage and family therapist and interfaith minister

Lean in

“Life has a lot of painful moments, but it has a lot of wonderful moments, too, and these are often small moments that we miss if we fail to show up for them. Self-care can mean being present for the small moments like your first sip of coffee, the look on your child’s face when you emerge from your office or your dog wagging her tail when she hears your voice.”

- Jill A. Stoddard, clinical psychologist and founder/director, the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, San Diego

Find your values

“One of the most important things people can do is remain in constant touch with what is deeply important to them, what psychologists call ‘values.’ Take some time weekly to reflect on what is important to you and the impact you want to leave on the world. Values can include family, health, success, faith, education; there are no limits to values and no right or wrong values. Once you know what your values are, make sure you are doing something in line with those values as often as possible.”

- Chad Brandt, clinical psychologist, McLean OCD Institute of Houston

Go on a media diet

“Pick a small list of reliable sources and stop reading things that make you anxious. There’s too much media consumption these days, and it adds to our anxiety.”

- Clinical therapist Joseph Tropper, counselor with Core Wellness, a provider of continuing education for licensed social workers and mental health practitioners

Practice gratitude

“In the evening reflect on three things for which you are grateful. Jot them down. When you wake up the next morning take a minute or two and review your gratitude list from yesterday. Really take a moment to appreciate those blessings. As days go by you’ll have even more items on your list. Do this three times a week and enjoy the mental and physical benefits that follow.”

- Forrest Talley, clinical psychologist, Invictus Psychological Services, Folsom, California