Give Back to Yourself

Techniques to honor your needs, values, and goals

By Jessica Tranchina – September 1, 2023

Since this is the Giving Back Issue, I thought it fitting to touch on ways we can give back to ourselves. Giving back to yourself is not selfish or indulgent. It is a way of honoring your needs, values, and goals. It is a way of nurturing your well-being, happiness, and resilience. It is a way of showing yourself love, respect, and compassion. When you give back to yourself, you are not taking away from others. In fact, you are enhancing your ability to give to others by replenishing your own resources. Here are some ways you can give back to yourself.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is the act of being thankful for what you have or experience in life. It can help you focus on the positive aspects of your situation and reduce negative emotions. It can also boost your self-esteem, optimism, and satisfaction. You can practice gratitude by writing down three things you are grateful for each day, expressing appreciation to others, or volunteering for a cause you care about.

Do something creative

Creativity is the ability to produce something new or original. It can help you express yourself, relieve stress, boost your self-confidence, and enhance your well-being. You can do something creative by trying a new recipe, writing a poem, painting a picture, or making a craft project.

Show some love

Love is the feeling of affection and care for someone or something. It can help you feel happier, healthier, and more connected to others. It can also help you cope with challenges, heal from pain, and grow as a person. You can show some love by spending quality time with your family or friends, giving someone a hug or a compliment, or doing something nice for someone else.

Seek help when needed

Sometimes, you may need professional help to deal with your mental health issues or challenges. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. You are not weak or helpless. You are brave and proactive. You can seek help from a mental health professional such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. They can provide you with diagnosis, treatment, support, and guidance for your mental health problems ref.

Take care of your physical health

Taking care of your physical health helps improve your mental health and well-being. Here are some ways to take care of yourself physically:

  • Get regular exercise. Exercise is important for keeping physically fit, but it can also help improve your mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, or as often as you can. You can choose any activity that you enjoy, such as running, walking, yoga, dancing, cycling, or even gardening ref.
  • Eat a proper diet. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed sugars or fats can make you feel better physically and mentally. Try to eat a balanced and varied diet that provides you with enough nutrients and energy. Avoid skipping meals or binge eating, and limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and other substances that can affect your mood or sleep.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for your body and mind to function well. Adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, while children and teens need more. To improve your sleep quality, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, avoid using screens or stimulants before bed, and create a comfortable and quiet sleeping environment ref.
  • Get a massage. Massage can have many benefits for both the mind and body, such as: Reducing stress and increasing relaxation by decreasing cortisol levels and promoting a sense of ease, reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension by improving circulation, energy, and alertness, improving immune function, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and enhancing the delivery of nourishing compounds to muscles, connective tissues, and skin, reducing symptoms of joint inflammation ref, enhancing blood circulation by dilating blood vessels, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach cells more efficiently, boosting mood and mental health by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, motivation, and cognition ref. Massage can also help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms by inducing relaxation and releasing endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers, increasing flexibility and range of motion by targeting specific muscle groups and connective tissues, releasing tension, increasing muscle elasticity, and enhancing joint mobility ref, ref, aiding in muscle rehabilitation and recovery by reducing muscle stiffness, breaking up scar tissue, and enhancing the flow of nutrients to the muscles, promoting faster healing and preventing future injuries ref, ref, and promoting proper neurological function by stimulating the nervous system, which is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the body. Massage can help the brain better perceive its environment and regulate its responses ref.

Exercise Woman

I strongly encourage you to take the time to give back to yourself as much as you can and it can be done in simple, but meaningful ways. Remember that you are worthy of care and attention. Remember that you are the most important person in your life. Remember that you deserve to be healthy and happy!

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