Pamper Yourself

Last night I treated myself to a long overdue, and well-deserved massage. For people who live a physically active lifestyle, massage therapy is just as important as rest days. Massage also helps soothe the soul, to facilitate relaxation.

Taking care of the soul, soothing away the stress, is a crucial part of living a happy, healthy, and balanced life. There are a lot of people out there who live in a state of being on edge all the time. That is not a healthy way to live. Stress hormones are toxic to the body and we have to find time to relax.

To learn more about how living in a constant state of stress is bad for your health, read this article by the Mayo Clinic. Below, I copied a few excerpts:

If your mind and body are constantly on edge because of excessive stress in your life, you may face serious health problems. That’s because your body’s “fight-or-flight reaction” — its natural alarm system — is constantly on. When you encounter perceived threats . . . this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

. . .

But when the stressors of your life are always present, leaving you constantly feeling stressed, tense, nervous or on edge, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The less control you have over potentially stress-inducing events and the more uncertainty they create, the more likely you are to feel stressed. Even the typical day-to-day demands of living can contribute to your body’s stress response.

The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Memory impairment
  • Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema

That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.

There are many ways to cope with stressors. The immediate ways are using your breath to calm your mind and using your decision-making ability to decide how you will respond to stressors. Some of the healthy long-term ways of coping with stress are yoga, exercise, talk therapy, and pampering yourself.

How do you pamper yourself? If you do not, here are a few ways that you can.

  • Take a long hot bath in a salt bath
  • Massage therapy
  • Some friends of mine get their nails done
  • Watch funny movies
  • Spend quality time with your friends, specifically including laughter
  • Gardening helps some people de-stress
  • Art therapy, or any form of creation, like playing music
  • Spend quality time with children whom you love, specifically getting lots of hugs
  • Date night with your partner
  • Take a yoga class or group fitness class
  • Go for a hike, a walk, or a jog to burn off all of those stress hormones
  • Go dancing
  • Play with your pet
  • Plan a vacation or a long weekend getaway

I have written before about ways to calm yourself during stress, but it is important enough to discuss again. You must take care of your mind, your body and your spirit, because no one else is going to do it for you. Your body has to last you a lifetime. Chronic stress is clearly detrimental to your health. Do yourself a favor and give yourself some TLC (tender loving care, not the hip hop group from the 90s). 🙂

Namaste,

~Amber

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