Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat – self-care does not mean you’re selfish. Look at it this way, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, how do you expect to take care of others (like your kids or family) or be present for your friends and work? Self-care is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own physical, mental and emotional health. So how can you start a self-care routine in 2020? We have some simple (yet effective) ways to add a positivity point to your day.
Jami, one of our 10th Ave Wellness Experts, suggests hugging someone for 30 seconds. While that sounds like one long hug, it’s been shown that hugging for 30 seconds produces oxytocin, which is also known as the “hugging hormone”. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the brain thatplays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction, and the period after childbirth. This is a similar sensation to when a new baby is born and parents have the skin to skin snuggles.
Hugging studies have also shown that with high oxytocin levels can come lower blood pressure. So more hugs can also benefit your cardiovascular health!
Opposite to human connection, alone time is also a great self-care method. This can include taking time to meditate, go to a yoga or boxing class, repeat mantras, or colour in a colouring book. The important part with alone time, however you utilize it, is to actually follow through with it. As CNF’s Social Media Coordinator, Kelly, suggests, “allocate quality time for yourself throughout the day to de-stress and reflect”. In order to follow through with it, make it your #1 priority – schedule it your calendar and don’t let anyone take it away from you.
We need breath to live. Duh! But deep and focused breathing can lower rapid heart rate and blood pressure, relax muscles, and reduce feelings of anxiousness and stress. So why is breathing a great self-care method? Focused breathing supplies oxygen to the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest mode, opposite of our fight or flight mode). There’s also a trending breathing method that Vince at our Crowfoot store is a big fan of. It’s called Wim Hof and is said to help stimulate energy, reduce stress and engage the immune system.
There are also plenty of essential oils that can be inhaled to help in times of stress. Many studies supports the use of essential oils to not only help combat stress and anxiety, but can also increase feelings of positivity. Lavender, bergamot, and orange all have calming and relaxing properties and they smell good when added to a diffuser or applied topically (with a carrier oil).
One Thing at a Time
Let’s face it – resolutions never really work out because we try to change too much all at once. Jami suggests “no matter what you're resolution is this year, take it easy on yourself and don't stress if you don't get it right away”. The key to success is pick one thing and stick with that. Otherwise you might end up more stressed than when you started out. So rather than signing up for a 30 day yoga challenge, try to achieve 2 practices a week and then go up from there as it fits in your lifestyle.
Whatever you decide to add to your self-care routine, Community Natural Foods is here to help! Stop by any of our locations to speak with one of our Wellness Experts to see how we can help you on your journey.