With Valentine’s Day coming up, we think it’s a great time to highlight how showing your body some love can benefit your mental health and overall wellness. Why is this so important? According to Verywellmind.com, the relaxation you get from self-pampering “can trigger the relaxation response, which can prevent chronic stress from damaging your health, so in a sense, self-care is good for you inside and out.”
At NJ Spine and Wellness, we see firsthand how stress and lack of self-care can impact your body physically. What falls under the category of self-care? It includes everything from taking time for yourself to de-stress to giving your body what it needs in terms of proper nutrition, exercise and sleep. We believe in total wellness, so we’re going to take you through some of the ways you can show your body some love to feel your best physically and mentally.
Take the Time for Proper Exercise, Nutrition and Sleep
Fueling your body with nutritious foods, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are all crucial elements to taking care of yourself. Yet, many of us don’t do enough in these areas. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and well-being. However, recent data by the CDC shows that many adults do not get this amount every night. Adults who were short sleepers (less than 7 hours per 24-hour period) were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions including stroke, heart attack, arthritis, diabetes and more compared to those who got enough sleep. Here are some sleep habits the CDC recommends for improving your sleep health:
- Be consistent with the time you go to bed each night and the time you wake up—even on weekends.
- Make sure your sleep space is quiet, dark, relaxing and an optimal temperature.
- Remove electronic distractions, such as TVs, smartphones, laptops, etc.
- Avoid having a large meal, alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime.
- Exercise during the day as that can help you to fall asleep more easily.
Speaking of exercise, we know there are innumerable benefits to getting daily exercise and it’s something we talk about often at NJ Spine and Wellness. According to MayoClinic, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. To spread this out during the course of a week, it’s beneficial to get about 30 minutes of exercise per day. It’s also recommended to do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. We always encourage our patients to get up and move as much as possible during the day as sitting too much can cause long-term damage and doesn’t help when you are already suffering from aches and pains. For our patients that have injuries, our physical therapy team can show you safe exercises that you can perform on your own.
As for nutrition, we all know we’re supposed to eat a healthy, balanced diet, but this can be easier said than done. Nonetheless, nutrition has a huge impact on our overall health. Everything from minor illnesses to chronic health problems can be impacted by nutritional deficiencies and poor eating habits. HHS.gov says “the link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat healthy, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong. As with physical activity, making small changes in your diet can go a long way, and it’s easier than you think!” The nutritional team at NJ Spine and Wellness encourages patients to slowly integrate healthy dietary habits into their daily lifestyle vs. trying to drastically change their diet. Try making small swaps in your daily diet and remember that modern is key. If you’re struggling with this, you can work with a nutritionist to help you make a plan. You can find more nutritional tips from our team here.
Find Ways to Manage Stress
Another topic we talk about a lot at NJ Spine and Wellness is stress management. Stress can impact you physically and emotionally in so many ways, but making a conscious effort to manage it can help. According to a Forbes article, “smart self-care habits like eating healthy, connecting with a loved one or, practicing meditation cuts down the toxic effects of stress by improving your mood and boosting your energy and confidence levels.” Realistically, there’s probably not a way to completely eliminate stress from your life, but engaging in activities like the ones mentioned above can help lessen the toll it takes on your body. At NJ Spine and Wellness, we encourage our patients to take some time out for themselves and use treatments like massage therapy and acupuncture as stress relievers . Mindfulness is a stress reduction technique that can prove beneficial during stressful times. This method involves you ignoring negative thoughts and controlling your breathing when you feel stressed. During a massage or acupuncture session, you may find yourself feeling more relaxed and able to focus on being mindful. Using these treatments to clear your mind and release tension in your body when needed can be a great way to practice self-care.
Set Goals and Stick with It
When it comes to taking time to practice self-care, this can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list. To make sure that you carve out time for yourself, it can be helpful to set goals and schedule the time in your calendar just like you would for any other important event. If having regular massage treatments makes you feel good, then set a goal for how many times you’d like to go each month and make your appointments in advance. Even if you end up having to reschedule, having it on your calendar will remind you to go. The same thing can be applied to exercise—if you enjoy going to group fitness classes, register in advance to try and hold yourself more accountable to showing up.
We all know how important it is to take care of ourselves physically and mentally, but we usually put work, family obligations and others ahead of our own needs. Don’t wait until your body is in physical pain from poor eating habits, lack of exercise or stress before doing something for yourself. Stay ahead of it and try to show your body some love regularly. It will benefit your own health and make you better at work and at home.
If you’re interested in learning more about our services including nutritional counseling, acupuncture and massage therapy, reach out to us today by calling 877-333-6579. You can also visit our NJ Spine and Wellness locations page for details on our hours.