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Do you take care of yourself — truly care for your being? If so, how do you do that? What does that look like? Maybe you don't know what self-care is, or maybe you think you have no time for it. Or maybe you do know what it is, have time for it, but still do nothing. Here are some easy tips for self-care that you can do daily, weekly, and monthly.
1. Get a Massage
As a holistic practitioner, I am all about self-care, for others AND for myself. For me, massage is definitely one of my top self-care go-to's. I could talk about the benefits of massage for days. When giving a massage, I am offering pain relief and stress reduction. Those are two major players in people's lives. When you are in pain your stress tends to be higher, sometimes off the charts. When you are stressed you are typically in more pain; the muscles and connective tissue constrict making your already tight muscles feel tighter. Stay tuned for a blog post about all the reasons you should be getting massaged regularly. In the meantime, here is an article — Top 25 Reasons to Get a Massage — from the American Massage Therapy Association.
Exercise is another great remedy for your overall health. It is an amazing stress reducer and endorphin producer. Exercise doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. One of the best things you can do for yourself is go for a 20-30 minute walk five to seven days a week. This helps with disease prevention, decreasing your chances for diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Don't underestimate the power of a vigorous walk. Newsflash: being sedentary is not good for you; we sit way too much now where we used to walk all the time. Here is a quick read on the matter.
3. Try Yoga and Meditation Together
Yoga and meditation kind of go together for me. Yes, they can be done separately, but, in case you didn't know, yoga poses (asanas) were created to help calm the mind and prepare the body for sitting in meditation. Sometimes just from practicing yoga I feel like I have been sitting quietly in meditation from how relaxed I feel. When I used to practice yoga on my own several days a week, then sit in meditation for ten or so minutes, my meditation practice was much easier; I could quiet my mind a lot faster than when had I not done any yoga beforehand. Just doing yoga or just doing meditation is great and amazing, and I say go for it, BUT if you can do both--all the better! P.S. Studies have been done that show what meditation does to the brain. They have MRI's to prove it.
4. Get a Proper Amount of Sleep
Sleep research shows that most of us 18 and older need between 7-9 hours of sleep. If you are 65+, the recommended amount is 7-8 hours. How many of you out there actually get this much? I do! I've always been a sleeper. I LOVE my sleep. So many people don't seem to be concerned or preoccupied with getting enough sleep the way I am. I don't like being tired, and I like being healthy. To learn more about the importance of sleep, click here.
5. Deep Breathing
I want you to take a deep breath in, all the way down into your belly, hold it for a couple of seconds and let it out through the mouth for longer than you inhaled. AHHHHH!!!! Wasn't that nice? If you held your breath to see if you could make yourself pass out, you couldn't. Our nervous system kicks in and gets us breathing again. The nervous system controls this function, as do we. We often hold our breath, unconsciously because we're stressed, or take shallow, sometimes infrequent, breaths. This is not good for our overall health, energy level, or brain function. Take some time everyday to pause and take some deep breaths. It's not like deep breathing is going to take up too much time and interrupt your productivity. ;) You may even notice an increase in energy, therefore higher productivity. Don't take my word for it. Here is an article written in Forbes on deep breathing for you to peruse, in case you’re skeptical.
Start making a daily effort to get more sleep. Take some conscious deep breaths every day. Go for a walk as many days as possible for you (even once a week is better than zero days a week). I like to encourage baby steps, if nothing else, to set you up for success rather than failure. Meditation can be set for 10 minutes daily, or multiple times per week if every day is too much. You can even integrate the deep breathing into the meditation. There went 2 check marks on your to-do list. Woo hoo! And, if you're not already getting massaged regularly, start with scheduling one per month. That will give you an idea as to how that makes you feel and how it impacts your budget. You do have a budget, right? ;) After that, if you feel you have more time and money for it than you thought, get more on the books. If you don't schedule “it,” it won't happen. Don't forget to have fun with this process, as well. Life is about health and longevity. Longevity without good health is for the birds!
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