November 16, 2023
There’s no denying that we live in an era that carries with it a hectic pace of life. Challenges abound: the climate crisis; inflation; international tensions; and inequalities experienced by minorities all add pressure, which can impact our mental and physical well-being. In this whirlwind that our daily lives have become, how can you take care of yourself?
Let us share with you our best tips for slowing down, for enjoying small but ever-so-welcome moments of self-care and taking the time to reconnect with yourself.
According to an American Psychological Association study conducted in 2022, 76% of American adults have experienced stress-related health problems1. The study found that prolonged periods of stress increased the risk of mental health problems such as substance abuse, insomnia and depression, as well as physical health problems that included headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, intestinal problems, reproductive difficulties, high blood pressure and cardiovascular and immune diseases2.
Whoa. Take a deep breath. Relax. Reality dictates that stress will always be a part of our lives in one way, shape or form. However, if stress cannot be completely eliminated, it is possible to adopt a more balanced lifestyle.
Perhaps you’ve heard of “slow living” on social media: Slow living is a lifestyle choice that promotes balance, mindfulness, and self-care. It focuses on what matters most to us, and then structuring our schedule based upon our real priorities.
Slow living is not to be confused with laziness: Rather, it’s the notion that taking care of yourself is essential towards ensuring your personal growth. So where to start in terms of taking better care of yourself? Here are some examples of simple actions you can take… but only if they do you some good. ☺
When life seems to be going too fast, we can sometimes feel like we're losing our bearings, and that we no longer know who we are. How can you reconnect with yourself when you feel completely disconnected? The first step is taking the time to set the record straight, to establish priorities. Ask yourself questions like:
Research shows that shinrin-yoku– also known as “forest bathing” in Japanese – provides many benefits. The phytoncides that are released by trees and certain herbaceous plants have a multitude of therapeutic and even medicinal properties.
Phytoncides can reduce the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the blood, reduce heart rate, be an anti-inflammatory, and strengthen the immune system3. Taking a nature bath is a great way to decompress!
Journaling is a valuable way to explore your thoughts and emotions, providing a deeper understanding of your own experiences. Keeping a journal can play a crucial role in regaining control of emotions and improving psychological well-being for people who are dealing with anxiety or depression4. If you’re not sure how to get started, we suggest finding a notebook you love and writing down on a daily basis a list of things that made you say “yay!”
It could be something as simple as experiencing soft sunlight on your face or discovering a new coffee shop in your neighbourhood. Recognizing the positive aspects of your life and what are the sources of joy is a great way to practise self-care.
Taking care of yourself also means learning how to make choices, as it’s impossible to be everywhere all at once! We've all heard about FOMO in recent years, but now we’d like to introduce you to JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out. Don't worry if you can't attend every event, party, or dinner engagement.
Listen to your body and soul. Turn off Instagram. Discover the power of saying “no” and focus on what brings you happiness and inner peace.
When thinking of self-care, it’s hard not to also think of having a nice, warm bath! Run the water, mix in a soothing, aromatic bubble bath, and then let your body indulge in the warmth. Why not read a few chapters of a good book at the same time? And then conclude your experience with a quick cold shower!
The temperature change provides the body with several benefits: improving blood circulation; strengthening the immune system; and alleviating anxiety symptoms5. It’s like having a spa session… but at home!
Following your at-home spa session, take the time to pamper your skin with products made from naturally sourced ingredients. Doing so can result in enjoying a welcome feeling of comfort, especially when the weather becomes cold and skin becomes especially dry!
There’s a reason we were discussing bubble baths coupled with soothing aromas earlier: Studies have demonstrated that aromatherapy can be effective in relieving certain stress-related psychological symptoms6.
When inhaled, essential oils’ aromatic molecules travel from the olfactory nerve to the amygdala7, providing a noticeable sensation of well-being. We recommend integrating aromatic essential oils like citrus essential oil8 into your daily routine with a diffuser, household products ou des body care products designed to awake the senses.
Cleaning your living space is a super-effective way to liberate your mind and organize your thoughts. Accumulation of objects and resultant disorder can induce stress, fatigue and even symptoms of depression9. Try decluttering a small space every day. Take before and after photos for added satisfaction!
What's even better than enjoying a good meal to help reduce stress? Preparing it! Studies taken during the pandemic revealed that cooking promotes personal growth: We acquire new skills and knowledge, which can increase the sense of accomplishment and also eliminate boredom10.
And by reading, we don’t mean a screen! Choose a good book – a book that YOU will enjoy – and immerse yourself in a parallel universe, far away from everyday life’s worries. The focus that reading requires can lead to a reduction in stress, releasing muscle tension and slowing down your heart rate11.
Self-care can assume various forms depending upon individual preferences, needs and values. A key to taking care of yourself is replicating the kindness you show to others to your own self. In life’s fast-paced go!-go!-go! daily rush, it can be hard to slow down and spend some time to simply consider what matters the most to us and to have moments of personal reflection, if only for a few minutes if not a few hours.
This kind of break is essential for all of us, and we fully deserve it.
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Written by Team ATTITUDE