When I sent out my last Note about making self care a non-negotiable for November, I got some great replies. People committed to things like taking time to mindfully wash their face, reading, gratitude journals and stretching. (If you have no clue what I'm talking about, sign up here so you don't miss the next one.) And I also got the sense that a few people were skeptical, like "what the heck does this have to do with being healthier?" So, I'm going to tell you! In my wholistic (yes, I spelled it wrong, because I don't understand... It's based on the whole, not the hole... anyways...) view, mental health is as important as bodily health. They are inexplicably connected. Taking time for yourself, to do something you enjoy, something that replenishes you, is good for your mind AND body...but for this post, I'm focusing on the body because I want to keep it short + sweet.
If we take the time and effort to take a hot shower or bath, do some stretching, give ourselves a facial, get out the coloring book and go nutty, play guitar, to read a book, write poetry... whatever the thing is that makes you zen out and just happy (and for this purpose we're talking non food/drink things)... those things lower our stress hormones, especially cortisol. It allows us to get out of fight-flight mode and into rest-digest mode.
And that is amazing for our health.
When we're always in fight-flight mode with cortisol flaring, we end up with chronic inflammation. And, not sure if you've heard, but chronic inflammation is the devil at this point. Not in a cool, hot, Johnny-Depp-plays-the-devil way, but in a creepy, mean, let's-try-to-avoid-it way. Chronic inflammation, studies are now showing, is correlated to (some say cause) the big bad wolves of disease - type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, auto-immune diseases, some cancers... the list goes on. It's not a group you want anything to do with. So when you think of it that way, if self care helps to lower cortisol, it's absolutely connected to your health!
PS. If you're already feeling anxious about the upcoming holidays, check out my quick guide to less stress for the holidays. Discover tools for decreasing your stress before the holidays that you'll be able to use year-round... which as you learned above, will help your stress!