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5 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself

RKMD Blog January 10, 2020
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Why are the small acts of personal self-care so often at the bottom of our list of things to do on a daily basis?  We know they are important, and we also know what happens when we don’t make our health a priority.   

Did you know that as little as a 10-mile commute can hurt your health?  And we know what impact an unbalanced diet and poor hydration can also have on our immune systems.  Stress, fatigue and sleep deprivation all play a role in degrading our natural defenses against disease and health problems.  

We’d like to share five easy ways that you can start taking better care of yourself this week.  They aren’t hard to implement into new routines that can make a big difference in your personal wellness, energy levels and happiness. 

1. Train Healthier New Sleep Habits 

Burning the candle at both ends? When we start to think about sleep as a luxury (instead of a necessity for your health) you may be putting yourself at increased risk for chronic diseases, heart attack and stroke, difficulties with weight management, premature aging and more.  

What are some of the bad habits that reduce sleep quality? 

  • Using your bedroom as a multipurpose room, including having a television, gaming system or desktop computer can significantly disrupt the quality of sleep that you get.  Believe it or not, your brain associates objects in your room with activities, and that makes it harder to relax, and get to sleep.  
  • Drinking an alcoholic or caffeinated beverage or smoking a cigarette within two hours of your bedtime, can elevate your blood pressure, and can contribute to snoring and increase your risk of developing sleep apnea.  
  • Do you do yoga or exercise before bed? Elevating your blood pressure and body temperature can make it significantly more difficult to fall asleep.  
  • Varying your sleep time, or not having a structured sleep schedule can prevent your body from establishing a healthy circadian rhythm.  

Looking for some help to train healthier sleep habits? Consider downloading a sleep app that can also provide pre-sleep meditation and relaxation exercises.  Some of these apps also provide ambient or white noise to help you drift blissfully to sleep.  

2. Make Time for Real ‘Social’

The 2020 Loneliness Index from Cigna, evaluated social determinants of wellness and mental health.  The survey revealed that 3 out of 5 adults experience intense loneliness and social isolation.   Participants reported a smaller personal support system, and very few meaningful social engagements on a monthly basis.  

As our global society moves toward ever-increasing reliance and use on technology, we are spending less time in real, person to person social engagement.  Even while Americans, according to a recent report from Nielsen, spend up to 11 hours per day engaging with digital media.  

 Your body knows the difference between online ‘social’ and time with family and friends.  Did you know that studies have shown that a robust social life can actually reduce stress and cortisol levels, encourage positive health behaviors, and boost cardiovascular health? 

Unplug, get connected and spend more time with family and friends to elevate your mood, your energy and to support improved mental health and work/life balance.  

3. Exercise Outdoors (Where Possible) 

When we exercise daily, we are doing much more than burning calories and fat.  You see, when you are physically active, it provides a metabolic boost to every system in your body, stimulating nerves and increasing the oxygen levels within each cell of your body.  The result? Natural energy! 

About 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise is enough to realize noticeable benefits.  Talk to your doctor first, before starting any new exercise program.  

Why should you consider exercising outdoors?  Many people (without even realizing it) have inadequate levels of vitamin D.  This vitamin is acquired through dietary sources, daily supplements and through exposure to natural sunlight. 

Walking the dog for thirty minutes outside, or a brisk walk or jog with your family or friends during daylight hours will give your body a healthy boost.  

4. Use Homeopathic Scents to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

No one is beyond experiencing periodic bouts of stress at home, in the workplace or in our relationships with family and friends.  The body is triggered by stress to produce cortisol and other ‘fight or flight’ hormones that give us that burst of energy to deal effectively with the problem.  However, when stress becomes a daily occurrence or chronic stress, the symptoms (including increased hormone levels) can make us really sick.  

From wall-plug-in’s to scented waxes, there are many products that claim to offer stress release; some of them can be very toxic over cumulative periods of time, particularly in areas with low ventilation and fresh air circulation.   

Head to a real professional Naturopath to get personalized advice and organic essential oils (without the harmful chemicals) and learn how to use natural scents to energize, relieve stress, and wind down after a busy day. 

5. Laugh (Really Hard) as Often as You Can 

We weren’t trying to make you laugh (or maybe we were).  What happens when you get the giggles and start to laugh? It stimulates your respiratory system, heart and your muscles, while releasing endorphins from your brain.  Endorphins are the ‘feel good’ hormones that are produced naturally in your body, and you guessed it, they make you feel happy, stress-free and relaxed.  Laughter can also help you relieve pain (thanks to those endorphins) help release lactic acid from your muscles and more.  So, after you work out or if you have had a really long and stressful day, put on a comedy show or podcast, and get laughing! Your body will thank you. 

 

As the week gets busy, and you find yourself with a packed schedule, it can be hard to remember to take those important time-out moments of self-care, for your health and well-being.   Speaking of schedules, why not put those breaks and reminders in your calendar? You’ll get a pop-up on your phone, to help you follow through with something healthy that reduces stress and improves your mood.  

Make acts of positive self-care part of your daily routine for a happier, healthier you.

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