What it is and how it helps
Self care is taking time to take care of "us". It means taking time to take care of our minds, body, and spirit. It has been proven to help address anxiety and depression as well as help sleep, reduce stress, improve energy and increase happiness.
Self care includes activities that reduce stress and promote our well being. Self care can be anything you enjoy- reading a book, playing video games, taking a walk, listening to music, making art, doing yoga, or watching tv. The important part is that you schedule time to take care of yourself in a way that works for you. “Self-care is anything that you do for yourself that feels nourishing,” says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a licensed psychologist based in Trumbull, Connecticut.
Small Ways to Practice Self-Care in Difficult Times
Headspace has a great video on self care. The description they wrote says: Practicing self-care and self-love. In these difficult times, maintaining our habits can feel indulgent, all but impossible, but showing up for yourself is that much more important. Try to eat healthy, get some sleep, and find a little joy in the circumstances. Remember, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. These short animations are filled with advice to help you process difficult emotions and support mental health through these challenging times.
Gratitude can increase long term happiness by 10 percent and decrease depression by more than 30 percent. Gratitude can improve physical health for less aches and pains. It can improve your sleep. And it can even improve your relationships.
In my own life, gratitude has taken the form of gratitude journals and positivity. I take time everyday to write down things that I am thankful for while trying to be detailed in my thoughts. These things can be something as simple as being thankful for the cup of coffee I had that morning or as big as event with my kids.
To start your own gratitude journal start by picking a journal and choose a method. It doesn't have to be written down-you can even do it visually. Start with the benefits and start small. But, get specific.
The Science of Grattitude
Tremendousness describe the video on he Science of Gratitude as: Research shows that an “attitude of gratitude” can measurably improve your overall well-being. Finding little ways to express your appreciation and be more thankful can... well, watch the video to find out!
Another tool that can help is positive thinking and positive self talk. It may affect your outlook, attitude towards yourself, and may even affect your health. Some studies show that optimism and pessimism can affect your health and well being. It is a key part of stress management.
This doesn't mean to ignore the bad. This just means to change the way you approach it. It means, next time you address it in a more positive and productive way. This may start with self talk, or the unspoken thoughts that run through your head.
To focus on positive thinking: identify areas to change, check yourself, be open to humor, and follow a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, surround yourself with positive people and practice positive self talk.
This can have some great health benefits:
Increased life span
Lower rates of depression
Lower levels of distress
Greater resistance to the common cold
Better psychological and physical well-being
Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
To learn more from the Mayo Clinics article click read more.
A great video from Psych Hub discusses positive self talk. They describe the video: What is positive self-talk? Our internal dialogues, or “self-talk,” can shape our beliefs and influence our emotions and behavior, and provides assurance and motivation. Positive self-talk is a healthy way to cope with anxiety.
Massage can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression as well. Did you know that massage can lower cortisol? Cortisol is the hormone that is produced in response to stress. Additionally, your levels of Serotonin will increase (this hormone is one of your body's anti-pain mechanisms and low levels have also been known to be associated with depression and anxiety). By decreasing your levels of Cortisol and increasing levels of Serotonin, you are helping your body relax and relieve stress.
Now it's time to take action. What things do you enjoy? How does self-care present itself in your life? When you come in for your next massage, make sure you share with me. I'd love to learn from you!