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Simple ways to practice self-care at home

If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that self-care is one of the most important things we can do to maintain good mental and physical health. And what better place to practice it than in the comfort of our own home – especially as we’ve become very used to not leaving it for prolonged periods of time through lockdowns.

Whether it’s spoiling yourself or looking after yourself, there’s no doubt that benefits of self-care will prevail.

The Oxford dictionary defines self-care as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”.

While that might sound selfish, let’s not forget that we can’t look after others, including family and friends, if we don’t look after ourselves. So, remember you’re doing it for everyone, not just yourself.

Let’s talk about looking after yourself first. You probably already know what we’re going to say next – eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep. Rest assured, we’ll get to that, but before we do, let’s talk about other ways to boost our health.

Researchers have shown that the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature (as well as art and spirituality) produce lower levels of proteins called cytokines in the body.

While cytokines can be useful, signalling to the immune system to work harder if the body is injured or sick, sustained or long term elevated levels have been associated with several chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, depression and autoimmune disorders.1,2

Awe doesn’t have to be staring at the beauty of the Great Ocean Road, or the Great Barrier Reef. It can be as simple as watching leaves changing colours or the stars above. A walk-in nature – even near your home or losing yourself in music all have a positive impact upon your health and wellbeing.1

So, the first thing to do for some self-care is to turn off the small screen device in your hand (unless you’re listening to music or looking at great works of art) and look for some stimulation from nature close to home. You may not be able to see or feel the cytokine response, but it will be doing you good in the long term.

Spoil yourself with some home-based relaxation. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could grab a Shiatsu-style massage whenever you felt like it?

Shiatsu is ancient form of massage made famous by Japan, (the Japanese word actually translates to ‘finger pressure’).

It’s best for people who want to feel relaxed3 – who doesn’t need that every once in a while?! It may also promote emotional and physical calm and relaxation.3

As an extra benefit, you can usually be fully clothed for Shiatsu3, so you can do it winter or summer.

Check out the BodiSure range that also have a heat option – very good for additional relief.

Just in case you thought you could escape without a conversation about diet and exercise…here it comes (but we’ll keep it brief, because you already know the importance).

If you’re looking to lose weight, here are two simple tips:

  1. Focus on the process, not the outcome. So, rather than saying want to lose 5kg (which is a much better goal than saying “I’d like to lose weight”), focus on how you will achieve that outcome. For example, “I will walk for 30 minutes 5 times a week and stop having biscuits for morning tea”.
  2. When you do set a goal, make it specific, measurable and realistic. So, using the example above, say you will lose 5kg in 12 weeks by walking an extra 30 minutes 5 times a week, while losing the biscuits. Setting a target is a proven way of helping achieve behavioural change. Measure your progress and reward yourself (not with snacks). Finally, be realistic. Experts suggest a target of no more than 3-5% reduction in body weight is realistic to begin with.5

Part of self-care is about making you feel good about yourself, so if you’ve gone down the track of weight loss and exercise but the scales didn’t change, or even went up, it can be very demotivating.

In this situation, you may like to consider a Body Composition Monitor, because regular scales only tell part of the story. They provide total body weight. But if you embark on a more intensive exercise program, you will probably build muscle. Body composition monitors give you a better indication of muscle to fat ratio, which is important for good health. They also measure visceral fat, which is the fat surrounding internal organs – the fat you can’t see when you look in the mirror but may affect your health. Check out the BodiSure Body Composition monitor here.

Sources:

  1. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/awe_boosts_health
  2. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/why-scientists-say-experiencing-awe-can-help-you-live-your-ncna961826
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-massage#shiatsu
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20048224
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111772/

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