More self-care leads to a ‘stress less’ life

Published 5:39 pm Sunday, July 19, 2020

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Self-care is completely necessary to keep your body and your soul alive, well and thriving. A good recharge and self-care is more than taking care of your body, it’s taking care of your mind, your emotions and every part of yourself. Taking time to nurture yourself is critical for your well-being, and it’s hard to take care of those closest to you if you do not first care for yourself adequately. Taking care of yourself is an indication that you have the inner strength to give your body what it needs to feel nourished, loved and cared for. This can lower stress and ultimately boost your immune system.

Self-care includes all the things you do to take care of your well-being in four departments of your life: emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health. Ask yourself today: Does your self-care include two or more of the following?

  • Meditation or yoga — even just 10 minutes each morning or night. A sun salutation in the waking hours can energize and invigorate
  • Regular reflexology — pressure is applied to specific reflex points on the feet and hands. These points correspond to organs and areas of the body. The treatment is said to induce a healing response, even alleviating some ailments such as headaches, sinus problems and stomach concerns. Other potential benefits include cleansing the body of toxins, boosting the immune system, increasing circulation, promoting energy and balancing the body in an extremely relaxing way in a restful environment.
  • Massage Therapy — a way to wind down and ease tension in aching, tight muscles. A time for you to catch your breath, relax and recharge to tackle what tomorrow will bring.
  • Checking out of social media — not checking your social media or email within one hour of waking may be challenging at first, but this sets the tone for a day where you’re in control and ready to embrace each moment with great vitality.
  • Mindful breath-work and new breathing techniques — Ujjayi (translated from Sanskrit meaning victorious breath), sometimes referred to as “ocean breath,” is calming and rejuvenating. How to practice: Inhale through your nose, then open your mouth and exhale slowly, making a “HA” sound. Try this a few times, then close your mouth, keeping the back of your throat in the same shape you used to make the “HA,” as you exhale through the nose. Benefits include improved concentration, instills endurance and builds energy.
  • Skincare — skincare additions such as a monthly facial allow us to take a break from reality. Cleansing and exfoliating the face can give a feeling of a fresh start.
  • Being good to your gut — including nine servings (at least half a cup is a serving size) of fruit and vegetables daily improves the well-being of your gut biome and elevates your nutrition and wellness to new heights.
  • Getting exercise — taking a 10-15 minute walk during your workday can help to ease tension and improve mood and adds 2,000 meaningful steps to your day.
  • Inhaling essential oils (diffusing or applying to the body) — this stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain connected to smell. As the molecules reach the brain they affect the limbic system, which is linked to the emotions, the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress and hormone balance. Consider adding Myrrh essential oil to your collection. It’s heralded for its skin-smoothing benefits, promotes youthfulness, enhances emotional balance and cleanses the body. Adding myrrh to eucalyptus and lavender or to sandalwood and frankincense creates incredible synergies especially useful for the immune system.

Whether it’s 10 minutes or two hours, we can all benefit from setting aside time to take the very best care of ourselves. After all, it’s your birthright to be filled with vitality and energy and to “stress less” each and every day!

“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.”

— Kristi Ling

This column was compiled by the Market Street Massage Team: Maggie Ross, LMBT 8191, Angie Shiflett, LMBT 7151, and Claire Chatterton, certified reflexologist, aromatherapist and yoga instructor. Market Street Massage is located at 141 N. Market St., Washington, 252-946-8989. The content of the column is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.