I’m always on the lookout for new and simple self care tools and a huge part of my own self care is to write these posts. And even if you don’t have time to read every one, my hope is that seeing the email in your inbox from Fuzzy Red Socks will make you ask yourself, “How will I self-care today?”
I’ve worked hard to reduce stress in my life over the years, and asking this question of myself has been a huge part of my self care journey. Dr. Kathleen Hall, CEO and Founder of the Stress Institute, teaches how to manage stress and reverse its effects with her four roots or techniques – that when practiced create a solid foundation for regular self care. These four roots are easily remembered with the acronym S.E.L.F.
““S” is for serenity. When we practice serenity our bodies experience the relaxation response, in which blood pressure and heart rate drops. Reducing stress reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, insomnia, diabetes, depression, and anxiety disorders. Through meditation, prayer, listening to music or even just laughing we can find serenity,” Dr. Hall says.
““E” is for exercise. Research shows that for some people, exercise can be equal to medication in resolving depression. Exercising three times a week reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by one-third. Walking 20 minutes a day reduces your risk of death from all diseases also by one-third.”
“”L” is for love. A new study suggests that being in a “cardiac rehab group” reduces your risk of death by more that 50 percent. There is a strong relationship between health and community. When your life has become so full of stress that your friends get squeezed out, it’s time to find a way to get them back in. Share a meal with someone you care about. Join a book club. Adopt a pet. Find a way to be social and invite others into your life.
“”F” is for food. Food is medicine. Food can help alleviate a variety of diseases and conditions. Eating breakfast increases your metabolism by 25 percent and stabilizes mood swings. Omega 3’s from fish help with depression and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B6 from bananas, tuna, turkey or salmon increases the calming hormone serotonin in your body. Blueberries are brain food that helps neuron reproduction and communication and is great for mental health and anti-aging.”
Dr. Hall believes that grounding our life in the four roots of S.E.L.F. will help us regain health, happiness, and balance.
I believe that adding these four roots to my self care tool box will make it easier to answer the question, “How will I self-care today?”