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Four ways to take care of yourself every day

It's International Self-Care Day, and to celebrate we are sharing four ways you can take better care of yourself. 

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Countries around the world are celebrating International Self-Care Day on July 24. 

The Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa (SMASA) says the day serves as a reminder of the benefits of daily self-care. 

"Non-communicable diseases like heart disease, stroke, and lung disease are some of the world’s leading causes of death (World Health Organisation, 2017). But did you know that as many as 80% of these deaths could be prevented through better self-care," the association said in a statement. 

Many people are too busy taking care of others or too busy to take care of themselves. 

Some find it hard to let go of bad habits such as smoking, and eating healthy foods. 

Get enough sleep

It's hard to get enough sleep these days when you are working two jobs, or stressing about life's daily struggles. But getting enough shuteye is important, and not just because it helps get rid of under-eye dark circles. Getting enough sleep can actually make you live longer. Studies have shown that people who sleep for less than five hours are more likely to develop serious health problems such as heart disease. 

ALSO READ: Three all-natural tips for fighting insomnia

Exercise

Working out is not only good for losing weight. Physical activity is known to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified physical inactivity as one of the "fourth leading risk factor for global mortality" - resulting in around 3.2-million deaths worldwide. WHO recommends that people between the ages of 18 and 64 do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Endorphins released during exercise can also improve your mood! 

Eat right 

Everyone knows that eating right is good for your health, but not many people take it seriously. A lot of the food we buy is packed with sugar, salt, and high in calories. Make an effort to eat more fruit and vegetables, and drink enough water daily. Read the labels of store-bought foods, and consider making most of your meals from scratch. Set daily goals to help keep you on track.

ALSO READ: Five products in your kitchen that are packed with sugar

Spend some time doing the things you love

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Being stressed or depressed can affect just about every aspect of your daily life. The American Psychological Center recommends identifying the things that are stressing you, and seeking help if you are unable to address the issues on your own. A good way to get your mind off stress and anxiety is to spend more time doing the things you love. It will help lift your mood. 

Here's a checklist from SMASA on things you need to know about your health: 

  • Family’s medical history
  • Vaccination history
  • Screening requirements
  • Resting heart rate and blood pressure
  • Weight, height and body mass index (BMI)
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood glucose level
  • Mental and emotional status
  • Stress levels and sleeping habits
  • Oral health situation
  • Day-to-day hygiene practices
  • Level of physical activity
  • Risk profile, e.g. smoking and drinking

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