Friday, September 22, 2017

Pampering on Purpose: Why Treating Yourself is Healthy, not Frivolous

Women traditionally are often caregivers and nurturers and sometimes care for everyone else’s needs before our own. However, recent studies are indicating that self-love needs to be a high priority. Stress and negative emotions have damaging effects on the body, both physically and mentally. Our immune systems can be weakened and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammation throughout the body. This can cause headaches, nausea, and inability to sleep. We may be left feeling incapable of accomplishing routine tasks, feeling emotionally unsteady, or suffering from more serious levels of anxiety and depression.

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Taking a little extra care and pampering ourselves has been found to be good for for us mentally, physically, and emotionally. Small gestures or tokens of self-love can have a profound impact on our positive emotions, resulting in improved health and overall wellbeing. Allowing ourselves small pleasures relieves stress, improves our sense of self, and elevates our outlook. We can feel refreshed and energized instead of feeling completely exhausted and defeated.

For example, eating healthy can decrease depression and impulsivity, as well as enhancing mood. Working out battles stress, anxiety, and fatigue, with the added perk of helping us look great. Getting more sleep actually boosts mood and enhances positivity. In simple terms, our mind and bodies are completely enmeshed. Improving one will enhance the other, leading to overall benefits in all aspects of  life. When we take good care of ourselves and nurture ourselves, we are creating the best versions of ourselves to share with our families, friends, and co-workers. Let’s talk about some little things we can do for ourselves to help conquer life and feel fantastic doing it.

➤Take five minutes in the morning to start your day with quiet gratefulness. Whether it’s meditation, prayer, or counting your blessings. Focusing on the good in our lives helps us keep positivity at the center of our mindset, reducing worry and helping us gear up for the day.

➤Get dressed and put on a fresh face every day. Whether you have plans or not, wear something that makes you feel good. Follow a good skin care regimen with moisturizer and sunscreen. You don’t have to straighten or curl your hair everyday or put on a face full of makeup if that’s not your style, but discover and nurture your natural beauty so you feel good about feel confident. This will help set a positive mindset to help you tackle your day.

➤Give yourself flowers. Whether you buy them or pick them from your yard, flowers have been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase creativity, and elevate mood. Certain floral scents like lavender, relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and restlessness. 

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➤Exercise regularly. Go for a run, take a yoga or spin class, walk the dog with a friend, or get a personal trainer. Whether it’s the cost of running shoes, the price of a gym membership, or no cost at all for a walk around the neighborhood, the rewards are worth it.  Exercising clears the mind while releasing feel-good endorphins, strengthening muscles, burning fat, boosting metabolism, reducing stress and tension, elevating mood, and bolstering self-esteem. Even better, people who exercise regularly also report having an increased libido and more satisfaction.

➤Draw a bath and light scented candles. The warm water relaxes your muscles and reduces tension.  Aromatherapy provided by the candles triggers peacefulness while reducing anxiety and feelings of restlessness. Add dried lavender or your favorite essential oil to your bathwater for some extra pampering. Take care of your skin at the same time by keeping it smooth and supple. If you don’t have the bathtub at home, try Yuan Spa in Bellevue downtown or Olympus Spa in Lynnwood. 

➤Open a good book. Reading quiets the worries of the day and encourages relaxation. Take it a step further and start a book club with friends. Discuss your latest read, sip a glass of wine, and spend time with your girlfriends. Being social can boost the immune system, help combat aging, and increase overall feelings of happiness.

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There are many ways to pamper yourself or carve out a little “me” time in your day. Whether it be one of the ways listed above, going to dinner at a hot new restaurant, or trying something new in the neighborhood, do something nice for yourself. Be creative and cater to whatever it is that you enjoy, but make a promise to yourself to try to find at least one simple way to treat yourself every week, if not every day. It’s not wasting time or money, it’s good for you!

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