Let’s Not Forget About Self-Care!
Posted by Devon Jarvis
Self-care is active participation in enhancing the quality of your health. It is a vital part of maintaining good health and a vibrant life. Self-care is an approach to living that incorporates behaviors that refresh you, replenish your personal motivation, and help you grow as an individual. When adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it and what state our body was in before the stress started to “creep in”.
Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self-care is a challenge for many people and it is especially difficult when you don’t have the proper resources and information to ensure that you’re getting the right self-care for you. Self-care is valuable in any healing process. Whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual or mental healing that needs to be done, self-care can be a valuable tool to use every day.
Tips for self care:
1. Food: Proper nutrition is essential in maintaining a healthy functioning body. Each meal should contain greens, grains and protein. Examples: spinach, kale, broccoli, quinoa, couscous, whole grain rice.
2. Exercise: A type of self-care that is often overlooked. Even a 20 minute walk at lunchtime can make you feel rejuvenated to help combat those feelings of sadness and depression and even prevent chronic illness.
3. Sleep: Sticking to a regular sleep cycle helps keep the body in tune. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every night and that means not staying up too late. Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t as easy as it can sound… even if you follow these simple recommendations, it can still feel like your sleep isn’t restful… a busy mind, waking easily, nightmares ect… Can all affect your sleep quality. If this is the case, other interventions might need to be considered. Speaking with your acupuncturist can assist you with this.
4. Meditation and relaxation exercises: Diaphragmatic breathing (aka: Belly Breathing) is a good place to start to help calm the nervous system. The diaphragm is the most efficient muscle of breathing. It is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. Your abdominal muscles help move the diaphragm and give you more power to empty your lungs. This muscle is the primary muscle of respiration meaning that it is an ESSENTIAL muscle to complete and full inhale and exhale. Just like any other muscle in the body, if we don’t use a muscle, it will fatigue and become weakened.
Why is belly breathing so helpful?? Physiologically, breathing puts the body in a parasympathetic state. This is the “rest and digest” phase of the nervous system, meaning, a decrease in stress hormones.
Directions to help train your body to Belly Breath:
1. For the first little while the goal is to simply strengthen the diaphragm. If you don’t already belly breath, then this muscle is atrophied and doesn’t know how to contract anymore… Just like any other muscle in the body, if you don’t use it then it becomes weak. To help encourage this muscle to contract, start by lying on your back with your hands over your belly button. On your inhale, try to push your belly up to the ceiling and on your exhale, pull your belly button back towards your spine. Practice this for 10 minutes per day for approximately one week.
2. Once you feel this exercise is starting to get easy for you then you can progress this exercise into a sitting position. Sit on a chair with your hands over your belly button and on you inhale, push your belly outwards towards the wall and on your inhale, pull your belly button back towards your spine. Practice this for 10 minute per day.
3. Once this starts to feel easy, progress this to a standing positon. Practice this for 10 minutes per day.
4. Eventually your body will be trained to belly breath naturally without even thinking about it.
Self-care is SO important in your well-being. Take charge of YOUR OWN health!!
If you are looking for ways you can improve your health, contact us today!