Nowadays, intentionally or unintentionally we are all exposed to the news on tv, radio and social media and the stress and anxiety levels can creep up on us. We are all going through a difficult time period that can certainly have a negative impact not only on our mental health but also on our physical well-being also. Stress can profoundly impact our health, influencing everything from our skin to our digestion to our sleep and our mood. Since most likely we have more alone time now, we can take this opportunity to do all the things we’ve always wanted but never got around to do them.
Perhaps it is to create new and better habits for a more conscious and healthier living or revising our diets or taking on new hobbies. The list is really endless. Ultimately you choose the one or two that makes you the happiest and healthiest. In my opinion one of the most important one is self-care since this has implications in every aspect in our lives. What does self-care mean exactly? According to our dictionary self-care is: “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” and “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
What does Self-Care Look Like?
Medical professionals advocate for self-care as a way of prevention to many chronic and acute health issues. Self-care may require some self-discipline like many other things that are for good for us, but the investment is well worth it.
Setting measurable goals
When you set goals, it shows yourself that you are progressing, continuously improving, learning, and it keeps you motivated moving forward.
Create a gratitude list
You may surprise yourself with how much gratitude you have. Try adding three new gratitude to your list every day and before you realize you filled up pages with things that sometimes we take for granted.
Unplugging from technology
Reduce the time spent on the internet, television, social media so you can go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to meditate or to exercise. Nowadays, you don’t even need to hit the gym to get a fun workout. There are endless apps that you can use to raise your heart rate and tone your muscles even with just 10-15 minutes of exercise.
Schedule your “ME” time and avoid over-commitment. We’d all love to do everything we could do, but it is important not to over-commit and burn yourself out on doing all the “stuff” we want to do.
If you work full-time or even part-time, you must maintain a healthy work and life balance. If you work all the time and feel like you do not have time or energy for anything else, that could be an indicator that things need to change. It goes along with the point of simplifying your schedule, do not do more than you can handle.
Try a new hobby
Learn something new you have always wanted to do, but have not had the chance as of yet. Or try something completely new and different that will stimulate different neural pathways. That can be, through taking an art class, working with wood to make furniture or art pieces, remodel a car, learn interior design, take up sewing, or learning a new language. The options are limitless, choose one that brings you the most joy.
Regardless of your religion, find a place near your home that you can visit that can help you recenter your spiritual self. Now that gives something to ponder about. What is that you would enjoy doing every day to preserve and better yet improve your own health? What active steps are you taking to make sure you have the best quality life possible? Living over half a century now and being in health care for most of my life I collected a few suggestions for you that you can try out and see if it works for you. Anything related to our health and well-being can’t be approached in a cookie cutter manner. You have to experiment and try out different things until you find the right fit for YOU!
- Take a daily vacation by planning something that creates joy and excitement in your daily life. Watch the movies or read the books that transport you to those experiences you wish to live. Visit and explore virtual museums and online tours to see national parks.
- Rethink your goals and purposes! Dream and explore what things you would like to accomplish in the next twelve months. This draws on the most important dimension of our well being – a sense of purpose! Which can change and evolve with each passing year.
- Make a list of all the people who are important to you and plan memorable experiences that you’ll do for them. Your friends and family will always remember how you made them feel for the rest of their life!
- Create a meal that is completely different and out of your ordinary routine and share it with your friends. And if you don’t feel like cooking just order from a new restaurant and explore different cuisines.
- Plan for your health and for healthy living. What does that mean for you? How does it look like on a daily basis? Healthy living shouldn’t be a chore. It should be an enjoyable habit that you can maintain for the rest of our life.
- Receive a massage or other wellness/self-care service. Self-care has never been so accessible and easy to add to our daily or weekly routine.. We can receive a massage at home, hairdressers, manicurists or even yoga instructors can come to our home to help us feel better. And if your mom’s, or your friend’s birthday is coming up this could be a wonderful surprise to plan for them. Certainly this could be an out of the ordinary gift for them.
What are the benefits of Self-Care?
As I mentioned earlier, there are several benefits to self-care. When you take care of yourself, you are choosing to treat your body, mind, and spirit positively. Here are several ways that can affect you:
For example, if you stayed up late watching television and only got about four hours of sleep, your day could have gone quite poorly. You could have struggled with focusing, slower at performing tasks, and your brain seems sluggish, you lacked the energy to do your responsibilities, or if you did your responsibilities, you might not have done them as well as you could have. Driving becomes dangerous, and so on.
Positive Self Image
When you care for your body through eating healthy and exercising, you tend to view yourself in a more positive light. If you meet weight goals or run a marathon, you are naturally proud of yourself, which increase your self-confidence and self-worth and rightly so.
Improved physical health
Participating in regular self-care habits lowers stress levels, lessen the chance of headaches, chest pain, upset stomach, high blood pressure, and other ailments. Another way your physical health can benefit from a self-care routine is setting aside time for regular massage therapy. The University of Minnesota wrote an article about the numerous benefits of massage therapy on our mental and physical well-being. Some of these are improved circulation, increased energy, and focus, improved range of motion, muscle pain relief from chronic and acute medical conditions such and relaxation. Some of the mental or emotional benefits are increased peace, reduced anxiety and depression and lower stress levels.
Improved Emotional Health
When you participate in self-care activities, it has a positive effect on your emotional well being. Many people enjoy going on walks or hikes as a form of self-care. When you go on walks or hikes, it engages both sides of your brain, allowing your judgment abilities to increase.
How often should I do Self-Care?
Especially because self-care is a practice that is encouraged by the medical and all other health professionals, the question may come up as to how often you should you do it? It’s been proven numerous times that adding self-care into one’s daily life reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical illness, improves productivity, and increases the feelings of happiness. By giving ourselves a daily dose of self-love and compassion, we’re able to approach our work and relationships with a bright and happy mind, hence allowing the cycle of positivity to continue. It is the same way with how long you should do it. You may only need a ten-minute walk before you feel rejuvenated or it may take a two-hour hike. Do self-care activities until you feel better.
How does it affect those around me?
So far, you have learned about self-care, what it does to the benefits you can get. Even though the primary reason for taking care of yourself is the effect, it has on you, but it will have a positive impact as well as those around you. To put it bluntly, with regular self-care practice, you are happier, and people enjoy being around you. When you have good self-care habits, you are more likely to be patient, and you perform your job better.
True personal care is about honoring one’s body and mind through activities that give birth to the true self. When you choose to make personal care decisions, you want to improve your emotional, physical and mental well-being. Taking care of yourself is creating habits and a state of mind that helps relieve your stress. The way you decide to take care of yourself should be directly connected to what is best for you. There are so many ways to take better care of your body and mind. Identify the activities that make you feel at your best and “Just Do It”.
Vivanti provides a highly personalized In-Home massage that will address your specific needs. You don’t need to spend another day in misery because of stress, painful and tense muscles or with built-up tension. Our certified and skilled massage therapists are ready to deliver fast relief from stress and pain to you. With our personalized treatments, you will find balance, health and longevity. Our massage therapists will bring everything needed for your In-home massage experience. A routine of regular massage therapy has real and long-lasting health benefits to feel and function at your best.
We are always looking forward to contributing to your wellness!