Pampering on Purpose
Why Treating yourself is Healthy, Not Frivolous
By: Gwen Lewis
It’s no secret that life gets busy, pulling us in a variety of directions on a daily basis. There are only 24 hours in a day and when we focus time and attention on ourselves we feel, well, selfish. Unfortunately, these feelings of guilt can make us more likely to sacrifice our needs and hold off nurturing our minds, bodies, and spirits. If we fail to address our personal needs, over time it’s a sure fire prescription for burnout.
The key to overcoming the guilt, is to specifically identify ways we can meet our expectations and still pamper ourselves. Time and time again, research has found when we take care of our needs, we are also improving our productivity within our jobs, homes, families, and communities. Science is giving us permission to nurture ourselves, because it actually benefits everyone and is healthier for our bodies.
So, go ahead and give yourself permission to pamper without guilt. Whether we are enjoying a day at the mall, soaking in a hot bath, hiking in the woods, or getting a massage, we need to remember it’s not frivolous to indulge in a little “me” time, it’s actually healthy. To help, we have compiled the following ideas:
8 Healthy Ways to Pamper Yourself
Rest, Fire, Positive Attitude, Exercise
Get a full night’s rest. It can be tempting to stay up to meet that deadline or finalize tomorrow’s presentation, but most adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep every night. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 of us are not getting enough sleep. Make it a priority to get enough rest, even if it means taking an indulging power nap in the afternoon.
Enjoy a night by a fire. For many people, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting by a fire. Experts aren’t sure why cozying up to a fire is so calming, but one study has found that the distinctive crackly sound of burning wood can cause a reduction in our blood pressure. Go ahead and give yourself permission to enjoy watching the licking flames and listening to nighttime sounds.
Take time to notice the positive. No matter if you are a glass half full or half empty person, noting the good moments in our lives helps improve our experiences. Consider journaling or taking mental notes of one thing each day that was positive. Even if it was something small, like “the sun was shining”, is a step forward. By being more appreciative of the things in our lives, we can be more aware of our blessings by having a greater sense of gratitude and overall sense of well-being.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity naturally produces hormones that relieve stress, anxiety, and improves our overall health. Luckily, exercise can take a variety of forms and adapts to all of our fitness levels. Consider taking the stairs more often, running in the morning, or meditating your way through a yoga class. Spending a few minutes caring for ourselves, even if it is in the gym, can help us go the distance later.
Solitude, Pets, Eating Well, Flowers
Find some solitude. Most of us are very social, but sneaking away to be alone has some promising side effects. It helps us increase our self awareness, find clarity, solve problems, develop empathy, boost creativity, experience peace, feel calm, and much more. Whether we are relaxing, sitting in a lawn chair, soaking in a bubble bath, or just laying on the couch, solitude can benefit our personal and professional lives.
Cuddle with a pet. Studies are finding that people who have pets often have lower blood pressure, better heart rates, and improved mental health than those who don’t have a steady best friend on hand. Go ahead and take a walk, play fetch, or just take some time to relax and pet a cat or dog.
Eat well. It’s alright on occasion to dine on fast food, but we should make it a priority to treat ourselves to a healthy diet. It might be cheaper or faster to nuke a cup of instant noodles or frozen pizza, but we owe it to ourselves to eat unprocessed foods, fresh vegetables, ripe fruit, and high-protein foods. Eating healthy is not frivolous, it helps lower our risks for chronic diseases, stabilizes our energy levels, and improves our moods.
Buy yourself some flowers. We have all heard the term “flower power”, but there may be some truth to this popular slogan from the sixties. Science has found that our favorite blooms actually offer us a variety of benefits which include helping us relax and feel calm. In fact, just looking at roses has been found to be an instant stress reducer and patients who receive flower arrangements in their hospital rooms require less pain medication, have lower blood pressure, and reduced pulse rates. Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day or a special occasion, go ahead and pamper yourself with a bouquet or plant.
How do you pamper yourself?