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Simple ways to practice self-care at home – with a little help from Smart Wellness

It’s winter in Australia. Sure, some parts are more wintery than others, but it’s probably fair to assume many of us will be spending more time indoors or closer to home than at other times of the year.

Rather than hibernate and wait for the winter misery to end, why not take the opportunity to practise some self-care at home – it’s the perfect time.

Plan a Spa Day at home

Who says you have to go to an expensive spa to treat yourself to some pampering?

Why not start with some body toning and then move onto facial wrinkles?

The Tenscare Perfect Beauty is an Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) device used for body toning and shaping, as well as for the reduction of wrinkles. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

EMS devices are usually attached to the skin using electrodes embedded in soft pads. Small, gentle electric currents, like natural nerve impulses, are passed through the skin to stimulate the muscles below, improving tone. The Perfect Beauty features specific programs to help tone different areas of the body – face, abs, buttocks and hips, thighs, bust, arms, and calves.

Age-related loss of muscle contributes to the ageing of the face, so can EMS help?

Yes. In a clinical study, in which they used a neuromuscular electrical stimulation device to exercise facial muscles once daily for 12 weeks, over 80% of the trial participants who received the muscle stimulation reported improved firmness, tone and lift.1

The Perfect Beauty also has a program for your face. It lifts and/or tightens the soft tissues of the face, improving facial muscle tone and reducing the signs of ageing. Of course, like other forms of muscle exercise, if you stop doing it, you lose that tone. But it doesn’t get much easier than pushing a few buttons, does it? Learn more here.

Now that you’re toned and looking younger after all that muscle stimulation, you could probably use a massage. Smart Wellness has got you covered there too.

The BodiSure range of cushion and back massagers deliver a Shiatsu-type massage without you leaving home. Neck, shoulders and back – or all of the above! They also have a heat option, for extra soothing comfort. Check out the BodiSure massage range here.

Stay hydrated

Believe it or not, dry skin is actually more common than in warmer months2

Indoor heating can reduce humidity in the air, reducing the amount of moisture available to skin, while cold winds and weather can strip the skin of its natural oils.2 Then there’s the temptation to stand under a very hot shower to warm up, which paradoxically can lead to drier skin. Hot water not only dries out the skin, but risks damaging the surface, leading to worse problems.3

Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can help maintain smooth skin – not to mention all the other health benefits. Staying well hydrated also means you’re helping maintain body temperature, keeping joints lubricated and organs functioning, and it might even help you sleep better.4

The LifeStraw GO water bottle or Home water jug can be your perfect home companion in winter and summer. Both filter out unwanted bacteria and parasites and improve taste. You can view the range here.

And if you need reminding to top up your hydration, simply set a reminder on your Quantum Fit Health Tracker.

Relax

We’re spoiled for choice these days when it comes to relaxation options. Grab some wireless earphones for privacy and listen to YOUR choice of music. Or perhaps you’d like to listen to an audiobook? There’s also a podcast for every conceivable subject. Tune in and explore new opinions or learn something, or simply be entertained by banter between hosts and guests.

And let’s not forget those little screens where you can catch up on your latest TV show or movie that nobody else wants to watch.

A good set of earphones can transport you anywhere. Check out the Quantum Sonic True Wireless Earphones here.

Health check at home

Now that you’re fully relaxed from a massage, facial and your listening adventures, it’s a good time to check your vitals.

Measuring your blood pressure regularly at home can be incredibly useful for you and your doctor.

It helps provide a more accurate picture of what’s happening with your blood pressure because it’s not just a single snapshot – it looks at patterns over a longer period of time.5

Controlled scientific studies have also shown that self-measured BP predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality better than just relying on the measurements during your doctor’s appointment alone.5 Morbidity is a term that refers to other diseases, for example, heart disease or stroke, while mortality refers to death.

Good quality, home blood pressure monitors are accurate, very easy to use, and above all, quite affordable. Many are also battery operated and portable, so you can take the reading where and when you are comfortable. The Heart Sure home blood pressure monitor is a great way to track your self care success. Learn more here.^

Another vital sign is the level of oxygen in your blood. And yes, you can also measure that at home. If you’ve ever visited someone in hospital or been a patient yourself, you will have seen a device called a pulse oximeter.

It’s a small device that usually clips onto your finger and passes light through one side of your finger onto a light detector on the other side. As it passes through your finger, the light hits your blood cells and reacts differently to the cells carrying oxygen, compared to the cells not carrying oxygen.

The characteristics of the light that makes it to the photodetector tells you how much oxygen is in your blood.

A pulse oximeter is useful because it can show whether your heart and lungs are supplying enough oxygen to vital organs – including your brain.6

Under certain conditions, oxygen levels can fall, and that can cause serious problems.6 It’s particularly relevant to respiratory illnesses including Covid.

You can check out the Heart Sure Pulse Oximeter here.* Every first aid kit should have one.

Sleep – the ultimate in self care

A recently published report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation of Australia7 showed that 1 in 10 of us have a sleep disorder that can have a serious effect on our health, well- being, safety, and productivity.7

Furthermore, Harvard Medical School has reviewed studies and identified the following serious health issues:8

  • People who regularly sleep less than 6 hours per night are much more likely to carry excess weight, in contrast to those who achieve 8 hours who carry less weight.8 Obesity is a risk factor in its own right for a number of other conditions including cardiovascular and osteoarthritis9
  • An average of less than five hours sleep per night greatly increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, improving sleep can help provide better blood sugar control and the effects of Type 2 diabetes8
  • Cardiovascular disease. Even a small reduction in quality sleep can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease8
  • There is a well-established connection between our immune system and sleep and recent studies suggest a lack of sleep may decrease our ability to fight infections, including the common cold. In fact, people who averaged less than seven hours of sleep are about three times more likely to develop cold symptoms than those who sleep eight hours or more.8

How to sleep better

Good sleep hygiene is a term used to describe the habits that will help you sleep well, or at least help increase the chances of you getting a good night’s rest.

  • Establish a sleep routine – Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Your body and mind will soon get used to the habit
  • A screen-free zone – Devices, TVs and laptops have no place in the bedroom. The blue light emitted by electronics devices stimulates your brain, so try and avoid
  • Relax before you rest – Try and get into the habit of doing something relaxing before heading to bed. Many people find that a warm shower or bath helps. Try not to think about problems you need to solve. Maybe even learn how to meditate
  • Avoid caffeine or alcoholic drinks before bed
  • Make your bedroom comfortable and inviting to sleep – Block out light – light is one of the biggest factors to limit sleep: it inhibits melatonin, the hormone to help you fall and stay asleep. If you can’t block light, consider a light blocking mask, such as the Dreamlight masks. They’re comfortable and effective.
  • Quiet – Suppressing noise is also very important in sleeping well. Whether the noise is coming from within the house (including a snoring partner or house member) or from outside, it can ruin sleep. A simple solution is earplugs designed for sleep, such as the Otifleks range. They’re comfortable and affordable, and importantly, they have been designed to shut out intrusive noise but still allow you to hear smoke detectors and other alarms. Check out the range here.
  • If your source of sleep disturbance is an infant, consider a Sleep Sound Machine. The soothing sounds can help babies fall and remain asleep. One study showed that 80% of babies fell asleep in five minutes compared with only 25% who fell asleep spontaneously without the machines10. The Welcare Sleep-Tight Sleep Sound machine not only plays white noise and lullabies, but also allows you to record and play your own unique heartbeat to play back to your baby.

There you have it. An enjoyable day of self-care that might provide benefits for some time to come, all topped off with a good night’s sleep. What better way to spend a day than on yourself -for once.

^ Always read the label and follow the directions for use. For people with high blood pressure. Consult your doctor to evaluate the readings. Check your device periodically for accuracy.

* Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Consult your health professional to evaluate the readings.

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23174048/
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/winter-dry-skin
  3. https://www.bcm.edu/news/hot-showers-can-damage-skin-winter#:~:text=Showering%20in%20hot%20water%20during,and%20may%20even%20increase%20eczema.
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/
  5. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/hypertension/what-you-need-know-about-self-measured-blood-pressure-monitoring
  6. https://www.webmd.com/lung/pulse-oximetry-test
  7. https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/images/shf-annual-report-2021.pdf
  8. https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health
  9. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1792397/

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