It’s been a long week, with errands filling up every free moment that you thought you’d had, surprise repairs needed on the car, and a toddler who seems to be sniffling an awful lot lately.
All of us get swept up in our daily tasks and minor crises — and it’s easy to fall into that mindset of constantly moving and staying “productive.”
But not catching our breath or slowing down every now and then can lead to some serious burnout. A high level of anxiety leaves our bodies more susceptible to illness and can cause long term complications like heart disease or stroke.
However, setting aside just 20-30 minutes a day for self-care can go a long way. In fact, studies have shown that taking time to relax or meditate consistently has the potential to reverse negative effects from stress, like high blood pressure.
“We know stress is a contributor to all the major modern killers,” Dr. Charles L. Raison at Emory University points out. “It’s hard to think of an illness in which stress and mood don’t figure,”
So, set down your phone, turn off the TV, and take a little bit of time to do something that will pay off big time. The dishes in the dishwasher can wait.
Need ideas for self-care? Here are a few you can try out right now!
1. Start by breathing.
Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of slowing down your body and stilling your mind. Even just five minutes of abdominal breathing can help — the goal being to calm the mind by increasing oxygen to the brain (which helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system).
“Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.”
2. Take a bath.
Fill up the tub and hop on in — research has shown that relaxing in a bath on a daily basis can be more effective at reducing anxiety than taking a prescription drug.
If you take a bath before bedtime, chances are you’ll sleep more soundly, too, as “it temporarily raises your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cueing your body to feel sleepy. ”
Add in yummy-smelling bath salts or a bath bomb for a luxurious and therapeutic soak!
3. Sing/dance your cares away.
The benefits of listening to music are far reaching, so put together a short playlist of your favorite songs and shake what your mama gave you.
“Music’s neurological reach, and its historic role in healing and cultural rituals, has led researchers to consider ways music may improve our health and wellbeing,” states a recent article from Huffington Post.
“In particular, researchers have looked for applications in healthcare — for example, helping patients during post-surgery recovery or improving outcomes for people with Alzheimer’s. In some cases, music’s positive impacts on health have been more powerful than medication.”
4. Have a cuppa.
Tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world, and it’s been around forever.
Green tea is especially popular, perhaps for the positive effects that it has on cardiovascular health. A recent study found that drinking green tea “significantly lowered the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. (31% lower risk in women, and 22% lower risk in men.) The risk of dying from stroke was even lower: 62% lower in women and 42% lower in men.”
Test out different varieties of tea and pour yourself a cup.
After all, you’re worth it.
Here are a few products from Soap Hope you might consider for your self-care routine.