Taking care of ourselves has never been more important. We've shared some of our top self-care ingredients to boost your health and wellness, that when blended together, create the perfect self-care recipe.
A dash of nature
It has long been known that spending time outdoors and with nature, has excellent benefits for our health. The psyche behind it is that nature brings us a sense of comfort and safety. And as long as we feel safe, the less stressed we will likely feel.
Taking a little stroll in the garden, or feeling the sand between our toes, will certainly do the trick. It gives us the opportunity to unplug from the world and connect with nature evoking feelings of calm and balance. Studies have shown that moments spent in the great outdoors improve mood and focus, reduce anxiety and help foster creativity and imagination. So, what do you say then, meet you in the garden?
A spoonful of long walks
Many of us have been cooped up for over a year now, sitting at our desks during home working, and taking minimal daily steps. The reduction of physical activity results in larger spikes of anxiety and can really take its toll on our bodies. The recommended daily dose of exercise includes 30 minutes of moderate-intense exercise or about 150 minutes a week. Now, this doesn’t mean we all need to turn into pro-athletes nor be working out in back-to-back HIIT classes, but what it simply means, is any form of moving about, like a long afternoon walk in the park, has many wonderful advantages.
Walking helps to lower blood pressure, increase blow flood and boosts the immune system, but most importantly, walking is good for the soul. Exercise is said to be the ultimate form of self-care so gulp down a spoonful of long walks daily, and you’re set to achieve your weekly exercise goal. 10 000 steps, here we come!
A sprinkle of laughter
You know that feeling of wild, free and uninhibited laughter? When the tears stream down from your eyelids, and you’re banging the table with your palms. Yes, that kind of laughter. That’s the sprinkle we all need in our daily lives to release a good amount of endorphins to help promote a sense of well-being and reduce stress.
Research into the theory that ‘laughter truly is the best medicine’ has been widely proven. The healing power of laughter helps to draw people together in way that activates both physical and emotional changes within our bodies. Wandering how to get more giggles and guffaws into your life? Start by getting hold of some funny books and movies, grabbing a seat at a comedy club, or even consider trying laughter yoga. Yes, it’s a real thing! People gather together to practice modern exercise involving prolonged voluntary laughter which provides physiological and psychological benefits. Knock, knock, who’s there?
An ounce of soulful breathing
You’ve definitely heard the expression, ‘just breathe’, or if you’re an apple watch wearer, you’ve been receiving those notification reminders daily to take a deep breathe on the hour. Breathing is a powerful activity and is often overlooked. An ounce of deep breathes will help slow down the heart rate and give the body the opportunity to take in more oxygen. This sends signals to the brain to help wind down and relax. Deep breathing can relieve pain, increase energy levels and put your mind at ease.
When you’re feeling stressed out, take some time out to practise deep diaphragmatic breathing or otherwise known as ‘belly breathing’, which involves fully engaging the stomach and abdominal muscles to fill the lungs more efficiently and help the body unwind. Other relaxing techniques include meditation, yoga, tai chi, massages and music & art therapy. In need of inspiration? Read up on different breathing exercises available online or download one of the many mindful apps to help guide you. And….exhale.
A cup full of a good night’s sleep
It’s time to hit the hay/sack, but how much is enough? Well, 7-8 hours or so of a good quality night’s sleep is said to be the magic number. Even though the number of hours is important, it’s down to quality too. It’s essential to get quality sleep on a regular base, to ensure that you feel well-rested. Getting enough sleep will help you concentrate better, stay more focused and alert, and help you to better handle stress. It also has a wealth of benefits for our physical health including maintaining a good healthy weight, regulating our hormone levels, and for good functioning of the brain, heart and immune system.
A cup full of a good night’s sleep is the perfect remedy for self-care, so place sleep high on the priority list to lead a healthier, and happier life. The best way to ensure this, includes getting into a good evening rhythm, trying to steer clear from caffeine later in the day, switching off screens and devices, and enjoying some calming music or a good novel before bedtime. Sleep-care is the new self-care.
Now that you have all the ingredients, toss them into the bowl, mix well and consume often. It’s okay to put you on the top of your list and to practise consistent self-care. And remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so you need to try what works best for you. Whether that’s putting on your dancing shoes, planning a little holiday or simply jotting down in a daily journal. As with all recipes, there is no hard and fast rules, it’s okay to add a little bit of our own touch and flavour in to the mix.
“Give yourself the same care and attention that you give to others and watch yourself bloom.” Holly A Bay.