- Date: 3rd February 2020
Self-care...who has time for that?! In this busy life we lead we can often neglect ourselves and become all too focused on others, but who takes care of YOU? In today's busy world it can be difficult to switch off and make a conscious effort to set time aside for self-care, but it's such an important part of our day-to-day life that we seem to be neglecting.
Each day when we wake we take care of our immediate appearance by showering, sprucing and spraying but is that enough? Practising self-care is more important than ever and can mean the difference between a lethargic mood and a vibrant energised mood. We know which we'd prefer here at DL HQ! We've made a pact to take better care of our body, mind and soul. Will you join us?
This Valentines month we've decided to celebrate YOU. We've compiled some helpful tips to get you started on your own self-care journey. Whether that's setting your alarm half an hour extra to allow time for a brisk walk to work in the fresh air, or perhaps you've been telling your co-workers how you "must book a massage" because that niggle in your neck just isn't shifting and the gift card you received for Christmas is sitting in your drawer, we're here to help. Along with some fun ideas we've included help on eating right, reducing stress and exercise tips!
Ok, so we admit, practising self-care isn't always easy nor is it a quick fix but we promise that you'll see and feel a difference very quickly and so will others around you. Most of us are crazy busy, have stressful jobs or seem to lose an hour of our day in the blink of an eye to the dreaded F word (nope not that one...Facebook) and we're unable to see how on earth we can make time for ourselves. Me-time is usually last on the agenda and it's certainly not above getting ourselves to work on time, making sure the packed lunches are ready and the football boots are in the bag! Worse still, we can sometimes feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves above others, especially when little people are involved. So getting started with self-care can be challenging, we get that for sure but we're here to help.
Ok, I'm ready, how do I start?
Fortunately, there are many areas of everyone's lives that can be a fantastic starting point on the road to self-care. Whilst we are on the subject, remember that self-care isn't a destination, it's an ongoing journey. As cheesy as it may sound it's very true and it's probably now that we should also point out that you will go through phases in your life when self-care may not be as high on your list of priorities as it was the week before and guess what, that's ok too!
To start, take a moment to think about how your days been today. What was challenging? What could have made it easier? When did you feel relaxed and in full control, if at all?
Whilst we're crazy busy sleep feels like the last thing on a very long list but did you know that a healthy adult should get at least 7-9 hours of shut-eye per night? It's not just the amount that you need to consider, the quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health. Having broken or little sleep will directly impact your productivity, immune system and the overall quality of your waking life amongst other things. You may think a massage at the end of a hard week is purely for relaxation but did you know that regular massage is proven to improve the quality of your sleep? Massage triggers the release of Serotonin in our bodies, a neurotransmitter that helps to leave you calm.
How do you make a little change that will benefit you? TRY THIS...instead of going to bed at 11 pm and spending an hour scrolling social media feeds of people you've met once and wouldn't stop and chat if you saw them in town, try plugging your phone charger in on the other side of your bedroom. This way you won't be tempted to scroll the night away, you'll plug your phone in and cosy into bed to relax and drift off to sleep naturally rather than panicking when you notice the time is 1.15 am and you came to bed at 11 pm! This idea also serves as a great excuse for those 3 times you press 'snooze' on the alarm each morning. Having to get out of bed to silence your alarm will make it less easy to hit the snooze button! Don't believe us? Try it and see!
In today's society we seem to use this word a lot, but what is stress? Stress can be caused by a number of factors and is the body's reaction to a change, either positive or negative. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and/or emotional responses. Stress that continues without relief can lead to many negatives and can heavily impact your life. It's also linked to the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. We definitely think that's enough to encourage us to give ourselves a little TLC more often.
Everyone's got a different level of toleration to the stresses of everyday life and we all react differently to stressful situations, what's stressful to one may not be to another. Does this mean it's wrong that we're stressed over situations that we are? Certainly not! Luckily there are a number of super simple things we can do to help alleviate some of the everyday stresses upon our lives. Take massage for example. Massage can relax a person both physically and mentally and is a fantastic way to de-stress the mind and body. Whilst the therapist uses beautifully scented oil or balm, lights are dimmed, soft music soothes and the heated bed relaxes the muscles (stay with us, we know you've probably started to nod off at the very thought) but did you know that the manipulation of the muscles through massage encourage them to relax and stretch to relieve tightness and tensions. In addition, it increases blood flow, which releases positive hormones endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. The positive hormones give a sense of well-being, increase relaxation and reduce stress. A regular massage doesn't have to cost the earth either, starting at just £35 we have a wide selection of massage treatments that we guarantee will start to melt away the stresses of the week. Never had a massage before? Book yours now and see for yourself why it's such a popular salon treatment. DID YOU KNOW? Our Kirkcaldy branch has a unique dual treatment room, allowing friends, partners and loved ones to share their relaxing experiences.
Eating healthy is a valuable method of self-care. Not just for yourself but also your loved ones around you. Perhaps you're a parent to young children who are watching everything you eat and drink. Would you be happy if the little people you created consumed your diet of fast food and alcohol? Of course not, so why are we so careful with what we'll feed our children but we'll grab the quickest and most convenient thing for ourselves, sometimes even skipping meal times altogether?
Understanding nutrition and dieting are 2 completely different things. We're not saying to take care of yourself you need to refrain from everything you love to consume, in fact, it's the opposite. If you don't allow yourself a little of the good stuff your mealtimes become mundane and uninspiring and this shows in our mood! Who's heard the expression 'Hangry'? It's a real thing, trust us!
Understanding nutrition is simply knowing a bit more about the fuel our bodies need to run like the well-oiled machines we need them to be.
When we wolf down a shop-bought sandwich in front of our PC at work whilst finishing that report that our boss wanted yesterday, we're not allowing our bodies to communicate efficiently with us because we're ignoring the cues the body uses to show us we're full or hungry. Creating a peaceful space to enjoy your meals allows you to focus on getting the nutrition your body naturally craves. We know we're all in a hurry, trust us, we know but in order to take care of ourselves, we need to make time to look at what we're putting in our bodies.
An easy way of doing this may be to record what you consume for a few days. Record every little thing and then take a look at it with nutrition in mind. How much of the food consumed is 'ready-made'? Often ready-made dishes don't provide the nutrition our bodies require. Instead, why not try to make your own version at home. This doesn't need to be done every morning, we know how much of a rush the morning routine is already. Instead prep your lunches for work on a Sunday for the week ahead. Most of the time because you'll be buying the ingredients and making the dishes yourself you'll save money against the ready-made convenience type purchases you normally make on your lunch break. Try it and see, you may just surprise yourself.
We know what you're thinking, how on earth am I supposed to make time to exercise when I can't even complete my day to day tasks?! We know but trust us, this is a crucial self-care element. Daily exercise is vital to boosting your mental and physical health. Exercise also reduces stress and anxiety levels, oh did we mention the pounds you can shed too?
Don't fear we're not expecting you to join an expensive gym and pump iron for an hour before work each day. Daily exercise can be something as simple as taking the dog for a brisk walk instead of a slow stroll or it can be walking the kids to school the slightly longer route that makes you have to push the pram up a slight incline on the way home. If you start small and try to increase the amount ever so slightly on a weekly basis you'll be surprised how fast it all adds up!
TRY THIS...instead of jumping in the car to get to work tomorrow morning, why not set your alarm half an hour earlier and take a brisk walk to the office? Get the bus? Simply get off 2 stops earlier and each week try to increase the number of stops. We know you'll be amazed at how quickly your fitness picks up.
They say laughter is the best medicine and guess what? They're right...whoever they are! But seriously self-care is definitely not just about physical activities. One of the major stress relievers and all-round happiness instigators is definitely laughter. It's fun to share a good hearty laugh but did you know it really is good for your mental health? Laughter has some amazing benefits including the release of endorphins which are the bodies natural feel-good chemicals and it also boosts your immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Pretty good going if you ask us!
Want to know the best bit? It's absolutely FREE! Practice some self-care by getting a few of your nearest and dearest together at your place for an evening together. Each can bring an allocated contribution in the way of food, drinks, sweets and a favourite DVD all can be around a chosen theme each time. We love the comedy 'Bridesmaids' at DL HQ and it never fails to make us LOL. Get your besties together for a night full of laughter and we know you'll thank us for it!
Saying 'NO' is often so frowned upon, be it at work when your boss asks you to stay late AGAIN, your friend asks you to do the brownies pick up AGAIN or your partner expects the washing to magically wash, dry and iron itself!
We live in a society that often asks many things of us as individuals and as easy as it sounds, it's not so easy to say NO! What does being selfish mean exactly? Well, we're not telling you to barge in front at the supermarket checkout because you want to get home and the woman in front is taking forever, we're simply suggesting that in order to practice a bit more 'self-care' we need to be a little bit selfish sometimes. This can simply be saying 'no' to something as simple as putting the kids to bed like you do EVERY evening. Perhaps once a week to get some valuable 'me-time' you need to be a little bit selfish and suggest that your partner put the kids to bed. The simplest (or not so simple depending how many times the kids need a wee, are thirsty, or need to tell you the same story that they'd conveniently forgotten until bedtime) way of being selfish can be by making time for you by saying 'no' once in a while. This 'no' can perhaps mean that you can go and run a bath with some relaxing lavender oil and read a book for an hour until the bathwater turns cold or your toes resemble prunes. An hour of alone time can do wonders for your mind and when it's spent doing something you love you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you've done your little bit of self-care for the day!
Lastly, schedule your self-care time and guard it with everything you have. As we've discovered it's not easy by any means to get some 'me-time' in the busy lives we all lead so we need to go out of our way to protect the little time we do make for ourselves.
We hope you've been able to think a little about taking care of YOU and hope you can put perhaps one of our tips into practice.
Still too busy? Need our help? Just get in touch and we can tailor a bespoke salon relaxation plan just for you!
Happy Valentine's, remember to start loving YOU this month! X
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