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Self-care tips to keep you healthy

From Dr. Paul Simeone, Lee Health’s Vice President and Chief Medical Executive of Behavioral Health

The New Year is a time to reset and refocus and it’s not selfish if you choose to invest some time in yourself.

Many of us may need to focus on ourselves now more than ever. If Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on your mental and physical health, you’re not alone. We are all dealing with unprecedented stressors we once thought were unimaginable. These self-care tips paired with the strength and kindness of our community will help get us through this year feeling good and healthy.

What are some signs you need to take a break?

When we’re focused on daily tasks, work and other stressors – like dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian – it can be easy to ignore signs that we’re feeling mentally and physically drained. When you begin to experience these signs, we encourage you to take a step back and revaluate what your body needs:

  • Feeling overwhelmed easily
  • Becoming easily agitated
  • Avoiding people and places you otherwise wouldn’t
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to relax
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Insomnia
  • The feeling of always being sick or frequently having a cold
  • Tense muscles
  • Racing thoughts or inability to focus
  • Constant worrying or forgetfulness
  • Avoiding responsibilities

What can I do to relax when I feel overwhelmed?

When these stressors pile up and start making you feel sick or you get that nagging feeling that something is off, it’s time to find your zen and work a relaxing activity into your schedule.

Here are some self-care activities you can try working into your routine:

  • Cook and/or eat a healthy meal
  • Get some exercise
  • Take a hot bath or shower
  • Practice meditation and focus on your breathing
  • Listen to music or play an instrument
  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk or run outside and connect with nature
  • Make sure you’re drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet
  • Spend time with close friends
  • Write in a journal

Why is it important to protect yourself against burnout?

Besides making you feel sick, burnout can zap your energy, leaving you feeling unproductive, resentful, hopeless and helpless. It could eventually feel like you have nothing more to offer, and burnout from one aspect of your life can spill over into your entire routine and affect your whole day.

Incorporating these self-care tips into your schedule can help you achieve better overall mental, physical and emotional health—and help you start this year off right.

If you think you need more guidance from a mental health expert, it’s ok to reach out for help. We have many resources posted on our website, www.leehealth.org. They can easily be found by typing “Mental Health Resources” into the search bar.