Self-Care for Those That Prefer to Stick Close to Home

If you enjoy spending time alone and prefer to work independently, you’re likely an introvert. Unfortunately, popular media would have you believe that the only way to be healthy is to surround yourself with others. From fitness classes to group-based travel, it’s easy to find self-care opportunities based around interaction. These, however, are not always right for introverts. Here are some things you can do to upkeep your health, no crowd required.

Guest PostBy: Melissa Howard at StopSuicide.info

Know What You Are Putting Into Your Body

There is no way to deny that what you eat has a profound impact on your overall health. The good thing is that eating well is something you don’t need a group of people to do. What you do need, however, is an understanding of food and ways to make healthy eating a habit. And there is no better way to do this than to learn how to prepare your meals ahead of time.

Meal prep starts by identifying long-lasting staples, like oatmeal and rice. You can use oatmeal to pack breakfasts for the road — Foodies Today recommends sweet potato and oatmeal muffins and chocolate overnight oatmeal smoothies. Both of these can be made ahead and enjoyed for days. Rice, which comes in a variety of forms, including Jasmine and long grain, is a likewise long-lasting meal base. Rice and oatmeal may help keep you from overeating.

Your pre-planned meals should also include lean proteins and produce. A bed of rice with shredded chicken, sautéed peppers, onions, and fajita seasoning, for example, is a healthy and delicious lunch that will reheat well in the right container.

Exercise Your Body Every Day

Food is only one aspect of your overall self-care routine. As Time asserts, exercise is just as impactful and can change the way you look and feel, as well as have an effect on mental health. Don’t let yourself get comfortable on the couch for too long; give yourself at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you do not want to deal with people, lack self-confidence, or just prefer your own space, there are many exercise programs online

Something else to think about is that you can have fun while working on your abs and agility. If you have a Nintendo Switch, games such as Ring Fit Adventure and Fitness Boxing can keep you moving from the comfort of your living room.

Take Up a New Hobby

Hobbies are not only fun but many, such as drawing, also have mental health benefits. Using the drawing example, putting a pencil to a piece of paper can help you gain a new perspective and may help stave off depression and anxiety. Drawing is also shown to help with your memory. The best part is that with nothing more than a piece of paper or sketchbook and pencil, you can get started today. If you don’t care for visual art, you can take that same paper and pencil and start writing, be it a journal or fiction.

Take Care of Your Home

Are things starting to pile up around your home? Do you often struggle to find the things you need, only to find that they’ve buried under other, less important stuff? If so, then you need to take some time to declutter your home. Not only will it help release any “bad energy” that may have built up in your home as a direct result, but it can help create a sense of peace and calm throughout your property. So, take a hard look around your home, identify areas that need attention, and set to work. You may be shocked at the difference it makes.

How you care for yourself is up to you. However, when your self-care plan doesn’t include crowds, you may need to look for alternative ways to do things like exercise and enjoy your free time. But remember, whether you’re an extrovert, introverted, or something in between, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to prioritize healthy eating. Once you’ve done that, everything else will fall into place.

Image via Pexels

Eat Six Meals A Day!

Try eating six small meals a day rather than three large ones. If that sounds hard – read on – here’s some ways to get it all in.Eat breakfast – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are trying to lose weight do not skip breakfast, it helps rev up metabolism, which in turn burns more calories. No matter what your goal, eating breakfast ensures that you are ready to meet the energy requirements of your day, and usually will then make better food choices throughout the day.

Follow breakfast with a snack a few hours later, then lunch, then another snack, dinner, and possibly another snack. Wow! That seems like a lot of food, but remember it is about how many calories you consume. It will be too much if each meal is an all you can eat buffet, which you participate heavily in and each snack is a calorie dense and nutrient low choice. You’ll end up feeling worse than you did to start.

Try making the six small meals small, but balanced. Balance out your carbohydrates, protein, and fats each time. The food guide pyramid is a great resource, and you can customize your readout. Check it out at http://myplate.gov – don’t have Internet – the library offers it for free, and they’ll help you!

All six meals should be about the same size and small. Half a sandwich and soup with a good beverage and maybe a piece of fruit. Half a bagel and peanut butter with a smoothie. You have lots of choices. The key to diet is in your choices. Get educated about food choices, begin slowly, and watch what happens to your energy and your waistline!

Feed Yourself Well – Learning To Read Food Labels

Many people are more and more confused when it comes to food choices.  The majority of Americans are increasingly concerned about nutrition and pesticides.  Many base their food choices on what is in or on them. This has led to an explosion in the organic food market, and to increasingly more confusing food labels.

Studies repeatedly show the foods we eat today are not as nutrient packed as they were in the past. According to food-navigator.com, “Changes in agriculture during the last 50 years include the widespread use of pesticides, plant growth regulators, and highly soluble sources of plant nutrients, along with decreased use of humus-containing fertilizers.” Due to certain farming methods, mass planting of a single crop, and transporting foods over long distances, crops have been made to withstand depletion of soil, long journeys from vine to table, and have been bred to handle lots of handling. All this translates into less nutrients for us.

Many are willing to pay more than fifty percent more for organic food. Organic food markets have begun to grow at approximately twenty percent each year. This means organic food prices and selections have gotten better, but how do you know if you are getting organic? When confronted with the enormous amount of options how do we make good choices and not throw up our hands in overwhelming frustration? Getting educated about labels will help you make the best food choices.

Deciphering labels:

An article in the Seattle Times outlined the following label definitions:

  • If the product is labeled “100 percent organic” it means that, by law, there are no synthetic ingredients. Also, production processes must meet federal organic standards and must have been independently verified by accredited inspectors.
  • If the label says, simply, “organic,” no less than 95 percent of the ingredients must have been organically produced. And if it’s labeled “Made with Organic Ingredients,” you can be sure that at least 70 percent of its makeup is organic. The remaining ingredients must come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s approved list.
  • Labels that specify “natural” or “all natural” do not mean organic. The reason is that no standard definition for these terms exists, except when it’s applied to meat and poultry products, which the USDA defines as not containing any artificial flavoring, colors or synthetic ingredients. The terms “free-range” or “free-roaming” are similarly meaningless. U.S. government standards are weak. The rule for the label’s use on poultry products, for example, is merely that outdoor access be available for “an undetermined period each day.”
  • Labeling seafood “organic” is also misleading, since the USDA has not yet developed organic-certification standards.

Why does organic cost so much more than conventionally grown foods? Organically grown foods are usually produced on much smaller farms. These farms do not receive subsidies from the government and they must follow much stricter guidelines when growing, harvesting, transporting, and storing foods. Many shy away from organic foods because they feel they cannot afford them. It is possible to eat nutritiously on a budget, I know, I do it. It takes patience as you learn to read labels and understand which foods to choose. If you have to select from both conventional and organic foods on your regular shopping list apply the following ideas.

  • 1stBuy as much organic or locally grown as possible. The farmers market season is just around the corner-we have two great ones in town. Better yet try growing your own. The Broadway Community Garden is beginning! Free plots, help, and support is here in Superior! Call: Theresa at 218-727-4820 for more information.
  • 2ndShop the perimeter of the supermarket. Whole foods or foods with the least amount of processing will help, but get educated on companies – learn how they treat the animals or what types of growing they do.
  • 3rdAvoid the dirty dozen. These are 12 fruits and vegetables that have high levels of residue on them: apples, bell peppers, spinach, celery, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, and strawberries. Although, scientists have trouble connecting all the dots between disease and long term, small dose exposure to pesticides, there is evidence that we have more in our bodies today than in the past. This is especially important for expectant mothers and small children, as proportionally they end up with more in their systems. There is also some concern over the combined effects of different pesticides in our systems even in low doses.
  • 4thLearn to read labels. Choose foods with small ingredient lists, avoid the “bad” fats, and learn what the ingredients are. Try to not to eat foods with lots of unpronounceable things in them, artificial colors, flavors, and lots of salt or sugar.

Hopefully, you have a better and not worse idea of what to put on your grocery list next time you shop – your body will thank you for choosing wisely. 

Resources:

www.foodnavigator-usa.com

www.mydna.com

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20060409&slug=consumerreports09

www.shns.com

Whole Foods Co-Op, Duluth MN