Holistic Self-Care – Tips for a Stronger, Healthier You
As 2020 comes to a close, we can all think back and remember just how stressful this past year has been. And if everything this year had to offer didn’t give you anxiety, the holiday season certainly will stress out even the best of us. If you’re working from home, or even working in the office, creating a self-care routine will help calm you down after a crazy and will allow you to refocus and re-center for the next day.
Self-care is all about your mental, emotional, and physical well-being... and those are to never be taken lightly. During times of heightened stress, many of us can begin to feel overwhelmed and run down every single day. By focusing on you for a few minutes a day, you can start to regain some of the control you may feel you have lost this year. Try the following ideas for an improved self-care routine.
Meditation improves the mind-body connection and allows you to re-center and calm any nervous energy you may be feeling. By focusing on your breathing and allowing your mind to settle, you can improve your overall concentration and relaxation. Many use this practice to also combat headaches, improve self-awareness, whether physically or mentally, and to boost the immune system. Most opt for approximately 5 minutes of meditation a day to either prepare for the day or relax after a long day. To meditate, find a quiet, comfortable spot with minimal distractions. You want to find a safe space that allows the most relaxation for you. Choose a duration period for each of your sessions; these can be adjusted daily depending upon your needs. Create steady breathing by taking deep breaths and slowly exhaling. While many try to clear their minds completely, you may become more stressed in attempting that than to just relax and let your mind think freely. While it may continue to wander, focusing on your breaths in and out should be your main goal.
2. Regular Exercise
Not only is it good practice to exercise regularly for your physical health but you benefit mentally as well. While cortisol is pumping through you during times of peak anxiety, endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, skyrocket during exercise. This can relieve some of the nervous tension you may be feeling otherwise. And while this helps to improve your overall mentality, it can also improve the way you see yourself. Many say “when you look good, you feel good” and though improved body image is not the goal, improving your physical health offers more benefits to you and your body than to not and struggle with built up stress. It’s a win-win!
Recommended durations for exercise are 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 15 minutes of high-intensity exercise at minimum per day. As mentioned before, another excellent way to refocus your mind is to set aside specific time for meditation or yoga exercises. Because both require a strong focus on the movements and feeling of “center,” the common stressors you may feel begin to fade while relaxing.
Journaling is a simple hobby and allows you to transfer all of your thoughts, whether frenzied or negative, onto paper as a therapeutic method for stress relief. Much like talk therapy where you relay your inner thoughts and feelings to a therapist or trusted friend, you can relay those same emotions onto paper when you feel you need instant relief. Some find this an excellent addition to talk therapy when stress becomes overwhelming in-between sessions. Journaling can be done on paper, or digitally, and some even find common ground with others going through similar situations by blogging online for others to read as well. There are many outlets for your emotions, you just have to find the right method for your mental and emotional health.
Aromatherapy massages are used for emotional and mental healing as an addition to the physical massage. Massage therapists will use a diluted form of essential oils that are safe to the touch and will be absorbed through the skin throughout the duration of the massage. You will also experience essential oils in the air that also promote a calming experience. Essential oils are known to improve your mood and to reduce stress and anxiety. Effects will vary on the essential oils chosen and if you aren’t sure what to choose, your massage therapist won’t steer you wrong. Each have their own healing properties and benefits to the user. For example,
Thyme – reduces fatigue and a nervous mind
Lavender – aides in relaxation and a deeper sleep
Rosemary – improves circulation, memory, and can prevent unwanted muscle spasms
5. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is used to stimulate the blood flow in the targeted muscle areas. By doing so, your muscles are able to rebuild the fibers that were torn or damaged during strenuous activity. While massage therapy cannot directly heal a wound, its primary goal is to aid the healing process by allowing more circulation to the sore area. When tension builds up, a knot can form that will continue to hurt until it’s released. These can be tender or downright painful so the sooner they are treated, the sooner your mobility improves. With that being said, massage therapy is excellent for pain management so for those that build up tension in the same places after exercise, this may be the preventative treatment you’re looking for. By stimulating the muscles and improving oxygen and blood flow throughout the body, you’ll notice you can endure more strenuous exercise over a period of time than if you exerted yourself with no massage therapy at all. And if that doesn’t sell you on it, not only will your mobility and endurance improve, but you may see improvement in your moods, blood pressure, and anxiety levels as well.
Massage Roller Ball – Perfect for self or couple massages, the massage roller ball glides smoothly over the skin, allowing the user to apply as much or as little pressure as desired. It can be used along with essential oils for a holistic approach to relaxation and aromatherapy.
Moreover, these are excellent for Chryotherapy which treats muscle tension and tender spots with cold therapy. By simply placing this in the freezer for 2-3 hours, you can experience a Chryo massage for pain and inflammation relief. Adversely, try placing your massage roller ball on a heating pad or in a warm bowl of water for heat therapy. This can relieve pain throughout the entire body.
Treypoint 3-in-1 Massager – Perfect hand-held massage tool that works to dig deep and target specific trigger points right from the palm of your hand. This tool’s unique star design features 3 knobs optimized for soft tissue, deep tissue, and scraping Gua Sha massage therapy. It's the perfect all-in-one massager for trigger point release, myofascial, arthritis and joint pain. You can safely use this tool with body and essential oils for a gliding massage and provides the calming aspects of aromatherapy all in one session.
"Meditation." Mayo Clinic, 15 Apr. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/
meditation/about/pac-20385120. Accessed 17 Dec. 2020.