Healthier 2021: Laura’s Practicing Self-Care

This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Laura J. Downey

This wellness trip taught me a lot. I learned the importance of surrounding myself with a high-level support system, why I should stay hydrated, and the importance of making strength training a part of my weekly gym routine. But this week things are different. I think it’s because Valentine’s Day made me think of love. I started to think about the men I loved, the friends I love, and even God’s love for me. It is all truly magnificent. But then I had a moment aha!

I love love! So I started to think about what I was doing to love myself. And the first thing I did the other night was turn off my phone and go to sleep. But not just normal, it’s bedtime sleep. I closed my eyes at 6:30 p.m. because my body needed a rest. And even though I have FOMO (scared of missing something), I knew it was time to stop checking my Instagram feed and close my eyes. When I woke up I felt great! It’s amazing what showing you a little love will do.

This is where I decided it was time to take things to the next level. I scheduled a one-hour meeting in an expandable studio a few minutes from my house. I had been there once before and loved it so I couldn’t wait to go back. When I arrived my coach-therapist, Cephas, greeted me and we were right to work – or should I say, he was right to work! This is what I love about assisted stretching: all I have to do is relax and be.

I usually do a little stretch before I work out, but nothing like what I’ve experienced here. My body really needed to relax. I am absolutely not flexible, and with the help of Cephas I was able to push my body out of its normal comfort zone. From the kid pose to the number four stretch, I moved my body and felt great. It was another reminder that I needed to show myself a little bit of love more often.

Sometimes I’m so busy with work, schoolwork, and other extracurricular activities that I forget to recharge. If you feel like it’s time to restart, take an hour out of your day to sleep or go to a stretch studio. Your body will thank you for it. I’m already planning my next self-care effort.

Recently I heard Oprah Winfrey say, “Be the love you need.” I support this motion. Wellness is all about self-love, so give yourself the TLC you need.

Laura J. Downey is the editor-in-chief of WebMD Magazine. She hopes this blog will help others see that every small step can lead to a more balanced, healthy and fulfilling life. To learn more about her career, follow her on Instagram @laurakadowney.

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