Most of us think of selfishness as a bad thing because it has a negative connotation to it. Selfishness does have its place and time, and there are times when you can give yourself permission to be selfish! It is important that we take time out of our busy lives to stop and think about ourselves. Take a moment or two everyday to stop and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Relaxation and self-care are very important for our health and well-being. In a world where there are so many things on our to-do lists and things that need to be accomplished, it can become a norm to feel as though we always need to be doing something productive. This is not a healthy mentality or lifestyle.
When we are under constant stress, our bodies are in a “sympathetic” state. This is called the “fight-or-flight” response – when we are alert and on-edge because we just might get chased by a tiger (back in the stone age) or get run over by a speeding vehicle (today). In a sympathetic state, blood is diverted to the organs necessary for immediate survival. The remaining organs (our digestive tract and organs involved in detoxification or elimination, for example) are neglected when we are in this state. As a result, we do not digest or absorb food, nor do we eliminate toxins or hormones properly from our bodies. A “parasympathetic” state is necessary in order to digest food and excrete wastes efficiently. Keep in mind that it is healthy and normal to feel stressed out at times. Stress motivates us when deadlines are fast approaching and it also makes sure that we show-up on time for important meetings and events.
Here is a short list of self-care tips you can implement into your daily routine to help you relax and enjoy life to its fullest:
1) Read a book: what better way to escape reality than to get lost in a book! Live through the characters and the events that take place. Reading allows you to forget about your own schedule and gives you the option of when to go back to it.
2) Plan a vacation get-away: time away allows us to unwind and de-stress. Do not bring any work with you! Use this time to re-connect with your body and mind.
3) Meditate: Meditation has health benefits on all levels. Physical health benefits include but are not limited to: lowering blood pressure, reducing muscle tension, improving metabolism, as well as increasing immunity and energy levels. Mental health benefits range from emotional stability, a decrease in anxiety, and an improved ability to focus and concentrate. Meditate regularly, perform a body scan to “check-in” with yourself, and add some guided-imagery to take you wherever you want to be.
4) Color: Mandala coloring taps into your creative side without the need for artistic experience. If you have artistic experience, then great – you can also draw to express yourself and let go of any emotions or anything you might be holding onto. Coloring re-directs your focus and brings you to the present moment, as you color listen to the sound of your pencil filling in the various sizes of shapes. Do not spend too much time stressing out over color – trust your instincts.
5) Deep breathing: This are very beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety, and can be done anywhere at any time! This is the perfect tool to have at your disposal. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for 5-6 seconds. Repeat 4 times. This helps to switch our response from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state.
Dr. Ashley is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and is accepting new patients at the Hampton Wellness Centre. Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that aims to treat the cause of your concern(s). Modalities include: acupuncture, diet and lifestyle counseling, nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy. Call 613-761-1600 or contact us to book your initial appointment today.
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.