If you’ve been feeling like it’s time to put a little more effort into your wellness practices there’s no time like the present. The Elements Massage brand wants to support you every step of the way.
Self-care is a simple concept that has become one of the hottest buzzwords in wellness. The National Institute Of Mental Health defines self-care as “taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.” That can mean anything from enjoying a bubble bath and a good book to running a marathon–whatever helps you live well. It’s helpful to think of self care in 3 ways: care for your body, care for your brain, and care for your soul.
Care for your body:
Caring for your body might mean eating better, sleeping more, upping your daily water intake or finding more reasons to move during the day. Scheduling a wellness appointment with your doctor to ask what you can do to minimize health risks is another great way to care for your body. If these feel like too much, consider making a commitment to showing your body more love and acceptance. Maybe taking some time to appreciate all it does–instead of focusing on its flaws–is the piece of self-care you've been waiting for!
Care for your brain:
One of the best ways to care for your brain is to keep learning. In a recent article, Dr. Ipsit Vahai explains, “When you exercise, you engage your muscles to help improve overall health…The same concept applies to the brain. You need to exercise it with new challenges to keep it healthy.” Learning something new, whether it’s a tricky new recipe or a language you’ve always wanted to try, helps keep your brain active and flexible. It’s a great piece of care that can help you retain your cognition as you age. So find something that sounds like fun and then go learn to do it!
Care for your soul:
To care for your soul (and support your mental and emotional health) seek community. Research shows that regardless of socio-economic demographics, those who live in areas with higher levels of social cohesion experience lower rates of mental health problems than those who don’t. So join a team, sit with others in meditation or volunteer for a cause you care about. Find your people and spend time with them.
Want to adopt a self-care practice that cares for your body, brain and soul all at once? Consider massage. Research shows that a 15-minute chair massage is proven to relax an adult’s body and mind, that’s news that’s good for the soul. Imagine what a series of massages customized by a trained massage therapist can do? Book yours today.
According to the National Alliance Of Mental Illness, stress can cause trouble sleeping, jaw pain, changes in appetite, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, feelings of overwhelm and a host of other unpleasant experiences. Long-term stress can even weaken the immune system making one more vulnerable to disease. Learning to manage stress more effectively can make a big difference in your overall health. That makes it a great area to explore during wellness month.
When life gets chaotic, it can also be stressful. Many people find planning systems like Bullet Journaling or digital planners, can help them get a handle on tasks, due dates, appointments and other life commitments. With fewer surprises in their daily lives, their stress level goes down and their wellness improves. Why not try a planning system for the whole month and see what it feels like for you?
Strengthen your ability to deal with adversity:
Despite the best planning, unexpected things will happen. When they do, knowing you’ve built skills that can help you deal with adversity may significantly help reduce dread and stress. One way to build this skill is to cultivate gratitude.
In a recent article world-renowned gratitude expert Ryan Fehr, explains, “During a difficult time, gratitude is more important than ever,” he says. “Research shows that gratitude can help us cope with traumatic events, regulate our negative emotions, and improve our well-being.” He advises that those interested in cultivating gratitude keep a daily gratitude journal, tell friends and family about things they’re grateful for, tell someone you’re grateful for them, do something nice for someone you’re grateful for, and repeat these steps often. During all steps of this process, take the time to reflect on your sense of gratitude. Do you feel it growing? Is that a reason for gratitude too?
Adding stress-reducing activities into your weekly or monthly routine is a great stress-reduction tool too. Research shows that proximity to green space is associated with lower levels of stress, so consider walking, hiking or forest bathing as stress-reducing activities.
TIP: Research tells us that walking doesn’t need to be a workout to have stress-relieving benefits. So allow yourself to stroll at a comfortable pace taking time to enjoy the world around you.
Spiritual practices can be great stress management tools too. According to a recent study at CU Denver, 60% of those in a devotional prayer group said reading their religious text was useful in reducing stress. If you are a person of faith, devotional reading may help you build resilience. If you are not, making it a habit to read calming, supportive literature will have the same effect.
CREATE HEALTHY ROUTINES
Whether you choose self-care or stress management as your Wellness Month goal, you’ll boost your benefits if you can manage to make your new practice part of a routine. These simple ideas can help you incorporate your new practice into your life for longer-term benefits.
Pencil your practice into your calendar and track your progress. Seeing it in black and white makes it more likely you’ll actually do your new practice regularly. Regularity is key to building a new habit.
Tell a few trusted people about your new practice. Creating accountability and receiving support can help you stay on track on days when you’re tempted to skip.
Reward yourself for keeping your commitments: For some seeing a complete habit tracker is enough, for others, a small splurge or indulgence helps keep them motivated. Find what works for you and incorporate it into your plan.
Remember, the goal of your new practice is wellness. Be gentle with yourself as you try new things. Start small, forgive yourself if you slip and get back on track at your next opportunity.
Also remember, you don't have to do this alone. Your massage therapist and the entire Elements Massage team are here to support you in your wellness efforts. It’s one of the main reasons they do what they do. So whether you book monthly massage appointments or stop in occasionally for a stress-reducing massage they’ll be happy to discuss your wellness goals and customize your massage to suit your individual needs.
Don’t have an appointment? Book yours today. See you soon!