You know the saying, before you can love anyone else you must first love yourself? Everyone knows this, but it can be easier said than done, right? So here's our top 10 ways that you can show the most important person in your life some love.
Meditation lowers your cortisol, the stress inducing hormone. It also promotes overall emotional wellbeing, can help you stay calm and in control during stressful situations, it helps you sleep better, increases your mood by flooding your body with happy hormones, it helps you concentrate better and focus longer, the benefits of mediation really are endless. There is 163 different studies that have shown that mindfulness meditation practise has an overall positive effect on anxiety and stress (headspace.com) There's also recent research showing that controlled breathing can also help stimulate brain growth
You don't have to be a yogi or a hippie guru-type to meditate. Just sitting quietly for 5 minutes and focusing on deep breaths is a type of meditation. If you need a little guidance there is literally 100's of free meditation apps. Our fave is Insight Timer as you can filter by subject and their shortest guided meditation is only 5 minutes. Seriously, everyone has at least 5 minutes in their day.
2. Bliss out in a bath
Immersing yourself in a luxurious warm bath is the ultimate way to unwind. Make it your own by adding candles with your favourite scent, fizzy bath bombs, herbs, essential oils or epsom salts. Plug in your fave chillout playlist and feel the days stress melt away. Extra bonus points for listening to a guided meditation in the bath.
3. Get back to nature
It might seem obvious but fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mood. Taking some big deep breaths will increase the amount of oxygen transported to our bodies cells. Increased oxygen in your body translates to greater energy and clarity of mind. According to a group of studies published in a 2010 issue of the "Journal of Environmental Psychology," research participants reported feeling happier, healthier and more alive when they spent time in nature.
The technical reason? Phytoncides are airborne chemicals emitted by plants and trees. They also happen to help lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.
Sunlight also helps fight depression as the happy hormone seratonin is stimulated when you spend time out in the sun. Not only that, just 15 minutes of sunlight a day can help your body shut off the snooze inducing chemical melatonin, helping you to feel more alert during the day and develop a more stable sleeping pattern at night.
4. Turn your home into a day spa
There's really nothing quite like a visit to the day spa, but you don't need to shell out loads of cash to get the same experience right in your own home. A DIY facial is one of the easiest ways to get that day spa experience at home. Set aside some quiet time, play sone relaxing chillout tunes, gather your fave skincare products and before you know it, you'll be glowing from the inside out!
Better yet, why not make your own skincare products? Gorgeous honey sugar lip scrubs or make-at-home coffee scrubs are simple and easy to make. Here's 8 must try DIY skincare recipes
Think spa treatments are just for the ladies? Think again! Dirt, sweat and dead skin cells can clog your pores and leave a guys skin looking less than it's best. Try these DIY day spa treatments for guys
5. Perform a random act of kindness
One of the greatest ways we can be of service to ourselves is to be of service to others. When you help others, it promotes positive changes in the brain associated with happiness.These rushes are often followed by longer periods of calm and can eventually lead to better wellbeing. Helping others gives us social support, encourages us to lead a more physically active lifestyle, distracts us from our own problems, allows us to engage in a meaningful activity and improves our self-esteem and confidence.
Performing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re in anxious or shy in a social situation.
Check out this video from Random Acts Of Kindness to see more of the benefits of performing acts of kindness
6. Treat yo' self!
You don't need someone else to buy you a gift on Valentines Day, get it yourself! Buy some beautiful flowers for your home, splurge on shoes you've been lusting after, get a massage or go for a float (a float tank experience is NEXT LEVEL chill. Never been? Here's why they're so amazing), buy a gorgeous candle or some delicious smelling perfume or aftershave. Go to the hairdresser or barber (guys if you've never had a professional shave from a barber, you've not lived). What's that one thing you've been wanting to do but keep putting off? Don't put it off any longer, go do it!
7. Practise Gratitude
Americans have an entire holiday dedicated to practising gratitude and giving thanks. They don't get everything right but this is a practise we should all adopt. Not just as something we do for the duration of a holiday, but every day.
Just like exercise strengthens the body, practising gratitude strengthens the happiness-producing neural pathways in the brain. It increases the happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a gratitude researcher, writes, “When you become truly aware of the value of your friends and family members, you are likely to treat them better, perhaps producing an ‘upward spiral,’ a sort of positive feedback loop, in which strong relationshipsgive you something to be grateful for, and in turn fortifying those very same relationships.”
8. Catch some ZZZZ's
This is one of the easiest ways to show yourself some more love, we do it every day anyway! But according to research, up to 70% of Aussie high school students aren't getting enough sleep.
We've all done it before, we'll watch "just one more episode" or we'll keep scrolling for a few more minutes and all of a sudden we're in a massive Netflix hole and it's 3am. But skipping the Z's can have a damaging effect on your moods, concentration and overall wellbeing.
Andrew Fuller, a clinical psychologist who specialises in the wellbeing of young people,explains the physiological impact of sleep on our brains: “Getting enough sleep is one of the most powerful ways we can protect ourselves against depression. The structures in the brain that support the most powerful antidepressant, serotonin, are built and re-built between the sixth and the eighth hour of sleep."
“Adolescents are often sleep-deprived which may in turn increase vulnerability to stress,” says Fuller.
Getting a good night sleep can improve your mood, your memory and concentration. It can help improve your athletic ability, help you maintain a healthy weight, give you glowing skin and reduce your chances of illness and inflammation.
So grab a pillow and get cosy.... for AT LEAST 8hrs.
9. Take a mental health day - and don't feel a single ounce of guilt about it
Why save your sick days for when you're sick? Taking a mental health day, by simply taking the day off, when you're not physically sick but need a day of rest, has been proven to reduce stress, reduce the incidence of illness and have been proven to increase productivity in the workplace.
Breaks are like oxygen for your brain. You're giving your mind a chance to decompress, which research shows can help boost productivity and creativity in the long run. In other words, you're essentially helping your school, college or workplace by taking a day off.
10. Show your body some love by moving it
Feeling a little blah, so thinking about skipping a workout? Think again! There is countless research that proves physical exercise helps improve our mood and our overall feelings of wellness and positivity as well as stimulating brain function.
Seriously, who doesn't want to think better?
In his paper for Comumbia University Charles E. Basch states “It is likely that the effects of physical activity on cognition would be particularly important in the highly plastic developing brains of youth,” he summarises the positive effects that exercise has on brain function as follows:
Not only will physical activity help stimulate brain function, it also releases endorphins, elevating your mood and helping you to feel less stressed. The Australian Heart Foundation states:
'Regular participation in physical activity improves short and long term psychosocial wellbeing by reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Reviews of intervention studies conclude that the evidence supports the beneficial effects of physical activity on depression.'
This article was written by Kate Hickey for Empower360 Fitness. If you'd like more information on our online or teen bootcamp programs, head to our website www.empower360fitness.com.au or contact Kate: firstname.lastname@example.org