I had a thought-provoking conversation with one of my PT clients this morning, whereby she had recently been experiencing back pain and decided to book some physio. After two treatments, the physio successfully treated the problem area and she is now pain free. Sound familiar?
It got me thinking though. Why is it that we always wait until something goes wrong before doing something about it? Muscle strain, flat tyre, back pain and tooth ache all spring to mind.
At that stage we have no option but to seek help or treatment - but could the problem have been prevented beforehand? In most cases the answer is yes.
Proactive self-care helps us to avoid triggering any health problems and benefits us by improving our physical and mental wellbeing through better self-esteem and less stress. We all need balance. Remember the saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well this certainly rings true, because if it’s work, work, work or looking after others 24/7, then there usually is a breakdown of some sort. We are not supernatural.
Excluding meal times of course, the normal day looks a lot like, sleep, wake up, work, go to bed. And repeat. That daily grind can become a vicious circle, that shows no sign of stopping, unless you invest in the time to look after yourself.
As we become older, it’s natural that our focus shifts to looking after others, be it friends, family or loved ones. For any parents out there, you will resonate with this. With our children especially, we want the best for them and want them to grow up to be healthy and happy.
That said, how many of us actually dedicate some time for ourselves? Emotional, mental and physical well-being is vital, but time and time again it is often overlooked, because other things get in the way. Cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, emails, to-do lists, feeding, changing, meeting, travelling and tidying.
There is nothing wrong with looking out for No.1 every now and again. If anyone tries to make you feel guilty for this, then they need to take a look at themselves, because there aren’t many people out there who can honestly say, hand on heart, that they are doing stuff for others all day, every day.
Ignoring your own needs can lead to catastrophic consequences, such as increased injury risk, greater chance of illness, not to mention the emotional toll that increased stress levels will take on you.
I urge you all to do something today or make a conscious effort this week to do something that is for YOU.
Your body and mind thank you in the long run and even if that only hits the re-set button for the next 24hours, then you’ll be a lot better off for it.
If we can all become more accustomed to preventative self-care, then ultimately it will result in less flash points cropping up. Here are some simple options to consider. They might not all apply to you, but some will certainly bring a whole host of benefits:
(1) HOT BATH
For new mums, especially. Having the time set aside for a hot bath, has a lot of benefits including; pain relief, enhanced mobility, reduction of symptoms in skin disease, as well as improved psychological wellbeing. There is a reason why pregnant women can opt to have a water birth - soothing. Comforting. Relaxing.
(2) MONTHLY MASSAGE
Postural stress is a big deal nowadays, especially when most of us are crouched over a laptop or PC for hours. That stress then tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck, causing pain and stiffness. Regular massage improves circulation, gives relaxation time and is also brilliant for ironing out any muscular knots.
(3) WORKOUT TIME
Do I honestly need to remind you of the benefits? Check out my Instagram page and you’ll see no end of articles. A quick reminder however, the moment you start exercise, the benefits kick in. Bones, muscles, joints, lungs and heart are all getting stronger. You’re attacking fat. Your motivation is at its peak. And then there is the notorious flood of endorphins, which trigger that renowned feel good factor whereby, you feel pumped and energised.
(4) CINEMA TRIP
Sounds simple, but look much deeper. The benefits of watching movies are immense. When you sit in a theatre with your friends, chilling, eating, drinking and relaxing, you’re transferred to a world away from your daily stresses. As you walk out of the doors after, you feel rejuvenated, de-stressed and realise that even for a few hours at least, you’ve forgotten about the challenges of everyday life.
Have you been running around on your feet all day? Since we use our hands and feet when working in an office or at home, we need to take proper care of them. Mani’s and pedi’s are an awesome approach to unwind and be pampered. Both the physical and mental health benefits of getting treatments are extraordinary. Your feet and hands will both look and feel amazing, your stress levels will go down, any pain will subside, and your blood circulation will improve.
(6) YOGA or PILATES
Both activities are brilliant for the body and focus on core strength, balance and flexibility. Yoga and pilates strive to create strength and inner peace in those who practice them regularly. They will certainly increase your range of motion at joints and help to improve concentration and focus. Learning how to apply the techniques to everyday life, so that calmness and poise can be achieved, is personally what I feel most people would benefit from.