Self-care and stress relief aren’t a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. It is a vital foundation of health for everyone across the board.Imagine going to your next annual physical and telling your doctor, “I don’t have any complaints.” Or , “To be honest, I feel great.” Yes, it’s possible! The key to a vibrant existence is investing in your health and well-being.
An unhappy ending to high-speed life
You spend all day attending to the needs of others: your family, your employer, your friends and community, maybe even your pets and plants. But how much time are you spending on yourself? Despite the proliferation of disposable relationships and products, things of value—even inanimate ones—need maintenance. You surely take care of all your big-ticket items: your home, your appliances, your car, your computer.
Your body deserves even more attention than these things, but strangely, few people make the time or effort. Society seems to revere and reward people who can work the most hours and get by on less sleep and less food. In fact, self-care is something to avoid only if you want to live an uncomfortable life, welcome disease, and die prematurely. Here are just some of the health conditions that can appear or get worse if you stop to take care of yourself every day:
• Heart disease
• Chronic pain, especially headaches and backaches
• GERD, ulcers, and IBS
• Panic attacks
• Chronic fatigue
• Skin problems
• And more!
A new hope: a paradigm of self-care
Do you list self-care expenses under “entertainment” or “health” in your budget? If so, you’re depriving yourself of one of the broadest and best home remedies in the world for the above complaints. This doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. You don’t need exotic vacations, luxury beauty products, or servants to take care of yourself properly. Self-care is the exact opposite of, and antidote to, stress. It’s a good investment, not an extra cost. Stop believing that feeling good is only for the top one percent. For instance, people in third-world countries know how to be happy—and are often better at it than we are. Those little things you do for yourself now will pay off in the form of greater health, mobility, peace, and enjoyment throughout your life. Even though it might sound impossible, once you’ve carved out those moments for yourself, you’ll have more energy to tackle all the other things on your to-do list.
Everyday options for taking care of yourself
Enjoying your life doesn’t have to come in big, costly packages or intermittent spurts such as holidays. There are simple, inexpensive things you can do every day to take care of yourself. In fact, you probably have the things you need on hand already. How many of us save our scented candles, beautiful lingerie, and good china for special occasions? Stop waiting to enjoy your life. Dip into this list regularly and start making self-care and stress relief a habit.
Nurture yourself with nature
Being outdoors is inherently restorative. That’s where animals and plants thrive, and it’s where we usually feel best too. Here are some ideas:
• Visit a local outdoor attraction, whether it’s the riverside, a forest, or a farm.
• Build an outdoor fire and sit by it on a crisp night.
• Lie in the grass and look at the clouds or stars. • Anytime you feel overwhelmed, step outside for a minute to recharge with natural light and fresh air. Extra credit for going barefoot!
• Add a houseplant or two to your work or living space. Spend time caring for it regularly.
• Do yard work or garden, but approach it as a leisure activity instead of a chore.
• Play with or groom your pets. Don’t have any? Walk a friend’s or neighbor’s dog. In fact, whatever self-care activity you choose, from practicing yoga to having a cup of coffee, you get extra credit for doing it outdoors when the weather permits.
Add art to your life
• Visit a small museum.
• Follow instructions for a simple craft project on YouTube.
• Color with your children, or get an adult coloring book to use on your own.
Nourish your body and soul
• Enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a beer or cocktail now and then. Moderation is key.
• Keep organic chocolate with a high cocoa content on hand for cravings.
• Try new foods: Order something different at a restaurant. Taste a persimmon. Switch from coffee to tea, or vice versa.
Draw power from the people
• Join a gym, club, or support group.
• Attend a worship service.
• Take a special-interest class.
Just have fun
• Work on a jigsaw, crossword, logic, or sudoku puzzle.
• Listen to music so you can sing and dance while you do housework.
• Schedule a movie marathon on your calendar. Guests are optional.
Self-medicate with movement and massage
• Learn techniques for self-massage or play with couples’ massage.
• Try a yoga video or class. Don’t be intimidated; look for slow yoga practices such as restorative or yin yoga—or yoga for seniors.
• Attend a Reiki or acupuncture session or similar. Be open to the experience and see if you notice a difference afterward.
• Book an appointment for a relaxing in-home massage. Relieving stress can be as easy as opening your front door.
You absolutely deserve to take excellent care of yourself. And when you become the peaceful, happy person you’ve always wanted to be, you’ll inspire others to follow you on your journey. At Vivanti, we welcome the opportunity to be a part of that journey. We’re there whenever you need us.