Note to self: Remember to breathe and relax. Does this task top your never ending to-do list?
It’s not a bad idea to include it, says Barbara Notte, BSN, HN-BC, Bryn Mawr Hospital nurse who, along with other trained nurses, lend holistic healing for pain and anxiety management to interested patients.
Notte practices Reiki, a form of integrative care in which a practitioner like Notte lays hands on a patient’s energy field to promote healing. For patients, it is another form of self care.
Self care is about being aware of yourself, your feelings, of any critical self talk that may be dragging your energy down.
Instead, stop the “monkey mind,” or one thought swinging from one to another, by taking a step back from the hustle and bustle and nurture your mind, body and soul– a step so many busy women often neglect, Notte says.
Self awareness – or checking in with yourself – is integral to achieving and maintaining a state of wellness. Often, you do not need an integrative health practitioner per se to reduce stress. Rather, you can take just a few minutes a day to center yourself by first conducting a self assessment.
In this self check in, ask yourself:
• How is my mood?
• Am I fatigued?
• Do I feel anxious?
• Is there pain in my shoulders from feeling tense?
• What have I eaten or drank today that contributes to my current energy level?
• Am I able to focus?
• How am I feeling about myself?
After asking yourself these questions, the next step is using the right tools to help you find peace and concentration.
“Remember, you are worth taking the time to nurture yourself and taking good care of yourself,” Notte says.
Some of Notte’s self care tools include:
• Mini-meditation: Close your eyes, breathe, and pay attention to your breath. If you sit at a desk during the day, you can plant your feet on the ground, sit up tall in your chair, relax your shoulders, and breathe slowly. Relax your jaw, especially if you find it clenched.
• Walking: Movement releases endorphins and then when you rest, helps slows your heart rate. Try to exercise in the morning or give yourself time to walk during lunch, even if it is around the corner or the office.
• Eating Nutritious Food: Chose a diet high in whole wheat, vegetables and fruit, and avoid refined flour. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. “Be mindful of your portion sizes and be grateful for the food you have to eat,” Notte says. “Take time to savor your food and do so with minimal distractions, like watching television or talking on the phone.”
• Massage: Whether you get a manicure, pedicure or a full body deep tissue massage, touch and pampering can help lift your spirits.
• Preventive Care: Is it time for a mammogram? Are you due for a teeth cleaning? When is the last time you had a physical? Keeping your physical health in check also will lend for greater well being.
• Support groups: From weight loss to mother’s groups, women are connecting in the community to help another.
• Affirmations – Remind yourself of your strengths daily and appreciate the woman you are. Self love is rooted in self acceptance and overcoming the very barriers that prevent us from being happy.
Above all, remember that health and wellness is a practice, which only underscores the importance of checking in with yourself during the day.
If you are in need of additional support, Main Line Health has several uniquely designated behavioral health centers, each specializing in a level of care and treatment. Learn more at http://www.mainlinehealth.org/behavioral.
For more on stress relief tips, check out the post, "10 Steps to Reduce Stress."