Last week’s column highlighted the importance of self-care. I mentioned that caring for yourself does not negate our responsibility to serve and care for others. But you cannot help others if you are not “whole” yourself. “Whole” refers to being strong physically, mentally and spiritually.

Here are a few tips on how you can take care of you:

• Exercise your body. A little exercise will go a long way to reducing stress. Even just a brisk walk in the morning will energize and motivate you for the day ahead. Set your alarm for a little earlier than usual and hit the pavement. Save time by preparing the night before. Lay out your exercise clothes so that you can get going with minimal preparation time.

• A brief morning meditation. I personally use biblical mediation. Think about all the things you are grateful for and give yourself some positive encouragement. A favorite Bible verse of mine. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

• Keep a journal. Writing is a therapeutic activity. In just a few minutes, you can write your thoughts, worries, gratitude, or whatever else comes to mind. Keep the journal near your bed and make a habit of writing a few paragraphs or even sentences each night before you go to sleep.

• Read a book. Reading is a relaxing activity that helps us escape from the pressures of our lives and expands our intellectual abilities.

• Call an old friend. Reconnect with someone you haven’t had time to talk to in a while. Busy lives get in the way of friendship. Friends become distant memories.

In the social media age, people tend to keep track of friends through various social media sites, but rarely ever pick up the phone.

• Schedule time for yourself. When we fill out our calendars for the day, we usually don’t schedule in time for ourselves. Schedule time for some exercise, and quality time with family and friends.

• Unplug from technology. People tend to grab their phone first thing when waking up.

Leave the electronics alone until you’ve given yourself time to prepare for the day.

Make time for breakfast (the most important meal of the day).

• Prepare healthy meals at home. 

We don’t spend enough time taking care of our bodies. Lunch consists of dining out, which is not always healthy. In addition, avoid the fast food trap.

• Get enough sleep. Sleep is not only good for the body, but it is also good for the mind.

A well-rested body and mind can accomplish great things.

Remind yourself that you are fabulous, you are an amazing person!

Take time each day to nurture and care for yourself. No one will take care of you like you.

Do it for your body, mind and spirit!

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