With so much of the focus on others, sometimes we forget to take care of number one. Things pile up, life gets busy, and before you know it, you’ve barely stopped to take a breath. The lesson in this? Self-care is for every day. The key to a balanced life, it is defined as any activity that works towards refueling your energy, and could be as simple as taking a walk. In a nutshell, self-care is any intentional act that helps you come back to you. There are things you can do regularly to ensure you are living optimally, like getting enough sleep, eating enough food and staying active, but what about the little things? This year, make the commitment to treat yourself to a better, healthier you with our self-care guide. Whether you have 15 minutes or 30, we’ve got a few examples of simple ways you can claim this year as yours.
15 minutes or less
Get in touch with your breathing
The average adult takes anywhere from 17,000 to 30,000 breaths a day. Though we take most of these without even realizing, did you know that doing so mindfully has been attributed to increased focus, energy and more happiness overall? If that isn’t reason enough, it is also an excellent release of stress and a great way to start any new action. So take a moment to stop and measure your breathing.
Try this: The 4-7-8 technique. To start, with a closed but relaxed mouth, inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Do this 3─5 times for maximum benefits.
Do something for someone else
The holiday season may have come to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay in the giving spirit! Studies have shown that random acts of kindness can positively impact your health in a multitude of ways. It has been ascribed to slower aging, and even protecting your heart. Kindness often promotes feelings of emotional warmth₁, which releases a hormone called “oxytocin” known to help reduce blood pressure and encourage the dilation of blood vessels. In fact, kindness has been known to have such a positive effect on the self that through studies, the Harvard Business School deduced that in 136 different countries, altruistic people were happiest overall!
Want to join the crowd? Try this: Something as simple as giving a compliment or paying for a stranger’s coffee! The benefits will definitely outweigh the effort.
Try taking care of your mind, body and soul
Have you ever heard of the Power Hour Method? It looks at focusing on caring for your mind, body and soul for a full 60 minutes. It’s a great way to take care of you as a whole, not to mention a fantastic start to a self-care routine. Choose three activities from the list below, and set a 20-minute timer before starting each one.
Write in a journal
Read a short story
Do a puzzle
Go for a walk
Drink a nice tea
Listen to a podcast
Laugh with someone you love
Did you know? Studies have found that those who actively write down what they're grateful for often experience better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness and more happiness overall. To join the club, grab your favourite journal and designate it for gratitude. Go to a quiet, comfortable place and reflect on and jot down 10 things you are grateful for.
Step up your bedtime ritual
Pampering yourself the whole way through. Start with a nice bath with essential oils, like lavender or bergamot, both known for having anxiety-reducing properties. Then make sure to moisturize with a rich cream; our favourite is the Provitamina Moisture-Rich Nourishing Cream. Formulated with vitamin E, an antioxidant, it helps improve your skin’s elasticity, suppleness and tone. Designed to hydrate, this cream is a perfect way to care for your skin over the colder months.
Another great way to engage in self-care is by keeping on top of your health by speaking with your health care practitioner about preemptive methods like supplementation. Wedging things like melatonin and B12 into your regime will help ensure you are getting enough rest and maximal energy benefits. So, for our resolution, we say: sleep more, recharge often and live your best year yet!
Dartmouth University (2016, February). Kindness Health Facts. Retrieved from https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/emotional/rakhealthfacts.pdf