Nourishing your mind and body is a fundamental aspect of self-care. There are several types of self-care, including recreational, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a great time to think about how you’re incorporating nutrition into your self-care practice.
When we think of self-care, we often think of getting regular exercise and adequate sleep, but consuming healthy meals is also a great way to tap into a mindful practice. There are many ways to take care of our bodies and minds through nutrition. It’s a big focus on my nonprofit organization, Fare Meals.
Proper nutrition can decrease your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Fueling properly can also provide us with the energy we need to take part in other self-care activities such as exercise and regular day-to-day activities. Proper nutrition can also combat symptoms of poor mental health such as fatigue or depression. Here are some ways you can tap into this mindful self-care practice through nutrition
1) Follow a healthy diet — Following a healthy diet is an essential part of optimizing our health. We need to ensure that we are not limiting or restricting any food groups and consuming a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. We should also limit the intake of processed foods. You can follow a healthy diet by making sure you’re not restricting healthy fats, complex carbs, lean proteins, and ensuring you’re getting enough hydration during the day.
2) Prepare a home-cooked meal — Preparing a home-cooked meal is an excellent form of mental self-care which can help us relax and take our minds off any outside stressors. It is crucial to use healthy ingredients and limit salt intake, oil, or any other unhealthy ingredients. Preparing food at home allows you to control what you put inside your body. You can also use this time to play a podcast or your favorite music to combine other forms of relaxing self-care.
3) Be Flexible — The other side of nutrition is not restricting ourselves entirely. We can indulge in foods that make us happy while enjoying them in moderation. For instance, going to a movie theater and getting popcorn can be a form of self-care. Hanging out with friends and eating ice cream or embracing holidays and all the foods that come with them are great ways to be flexible and enjoy the moment. If we restrict ourselves fully, it can take a toll on us mentally and emotionally. We should be able to go out and enjoy a meal without feeling guilty or anxious about what we are consuming.
We can practice various forms of self-care, including recreational, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. Nutrition is just one way you can tap into this mindful practice in order to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Join Fare Meals and Moderator, Dr. Chanda Reynolds on May 17 for a free webinar where we discuss recipes, resources, and other tips and tricks to elevate your self-care practice through nutrition. You can register at FareMeals.org./Events
WRITTEN BYArielle Kestenbaum