Yes, physicians, therapists, and other medical professionals are an integral part of your healthcare team, but the first line of defense against health problems is you.
Good self-care can prevent, delay, or reduce most health problems, including mental health issues. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and adherence to your physician-recommended medications are all important, but effective self-care is also about pampering yourself from time to time.
Stress is bad for you. It can lead to everything from headaches to anxiety to eating disorders, and it can also worsen existing conditions whether known or unknown. Stress triggers the production of the hormone cortisol, which is fine in small doses, but in large doses can lower immune response, increase the risk of mental illness, and negatively impact bone density levels.
Relaxation, on the other hand, is good for you. Not only does relaxing remove or reduce the ill effects of stress, but it generates positive effects of its own. It’s been known for quite a while that relaxation can produce a lot of great effects on the body, including lowered blood pressure, reduced muscle tension, and pain, and improved concentration and mood. Recent studies have looked at the effects of relaxation in more depth, and the results are impressive.
Relaxing self-care activities also trigger the production of the body’s “feel-good” hormones, like serotonin and oxytocin. These hormones are connected to better moods, better sleep, and naturally occurring pain relief.
There are a million things you can do to pamper yourself even on a tight budget;
- Search the internet for a relaxing yoga or meditation routine.
- Close your eyes and listen to some relaxing music.
- Listen to some fun music and dance around the room.
- Go for a walk.
- Pet or play with a pet.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Invite a friend over and do each other’s nails.
- Ask your partner to give you a massage. If you have the fund, a five-star hotel or massage parlour can do the magic.
- Give yourself an afternoon tea break, alone or with a good friend.
- Spend some extra time getting ready in the morning, just to get that looking-good mood boost.
- Find a local event that sounds like fun, or keep an eye out for free days at museums, botanical gardens, or zoos.
- Take up a new creative hobby, like reading, embroidery, gardening, or painting.
- Pick up a favourite treat at the grocery store (or if you like cooking, set aside an afternoon to make it yourself) and then take a break to slowly savour it.
- Volunteer somewhere, such as in the hospital, an animal shelter, or at a museum.
If you have the luxury of a big budget, take a trip to another location, meet new people, eat new cuisines.
When you come back to work or your business, everyone, even yourself, will see the change in you.
Do you have any questions or comments? Do share with us in the comment section.