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Self Care is Self Love!

We often forget that the most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves. Prioritizing self-compassion and self-care has some serious benefits for our mental and physical health.

When your brain detects stress it sends stress hormones (cortisol) to your body that trigger a 'fight or flight' response. Your hearing decreases, your vision narrows, your heart races, your breath quickens and your muscles are ready for action. For short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health because it protects your body in an emergency by preparing you for a quick reaction. But when your stress response stays active for an extended period, it can wreak havoc on your body, mind and overall health. The more you refuel and recharge yourself through self-love and self-care practices the more you can avoid of the 'fight or flight' response.

Besides lowering your stress levels, other key physical health benefits of practicing self care include an increased level of dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin aka the 'happy hormones', better cardiovascular health and a strengthened immune system.

Be more attuned to your emotional needs and you'll be able to strengthen your emotional intelligence and empathic skills, better reading other people’s feelings and interacting with them in a more meaninful and connected way. These effects can have a huge impact on the quality of both your personal and professional relationships—helping to foster deep meaningful connections with friends and loved ones.

Practice Self Love:

  • Do things regularly that you genuinely love. Engaging in activities you enjoy elevates your mood and boosts energy and increases the Love Hormone Oxytocin. Schedule time regularly to do something just for yourself—whether it's reading, meditation, painting, listening to music, singing, going for a walk in nature or simply giving yourself an at-home spa treatment.

  • Take nature baths. 'Nature bath' or 'forest bathing' is based on the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku which promotes spending time in nature to relax and rejuvenate. There is growing research that shows that connecting to nature has numerous benefits for our psychological and emotional wellbeing such as calming our nervous system and building resilience.

  • Just breathe. Deep breathing for as little as 5 minutes can help reduce stress, lower your heart rate and regulate your blood pressure. It's hands-down one of the easiest self-care techniques out there. You can download apps like Calm or The Breathing App or take a breathwork class to master the techniques of diaphragmatic breathing.

  • Shift from 'doing mode' to 'being mode'. In a culture that glorifies getting things done, spending some time throughout the day to just be present and aware of the present moment and experience can be very grounding and foster a more connected relationship with yourself.

  • Pay attention to your thoughts. Be mindful of the way you talk to yourself. Whenever you notice yourself saying something unkind to yourself, switch to a gentler tone and try to evaluate things rationally to contain your inner critic. Speak to yourself as you would to a lover.

  • Be more forgiving. Practice forgiveness towards yourself and others. Letting go of grudges and practicing forgiveness offers an array of health benefits from lower stress levels and better sleep to improved cholesterol levels and a lower risk of a heart attack.

  • Laugh more. Laughter releases endorphins and other healthy hormones and helps take your mind off of stress. Don't know where to begin? Just watch a Funny Cats on Youtube or a comedy movie, watch stand-up specials, play a game with friends.

  • Exercise. Exercise helps relieve stress, improves cognitive function and stimulates the production of endorphins that can help ease depression and anxiety, among other things. Whether its a regular yoga class, a daily walk or a pilates video at home, make exercise your friend.

  • Do something kind for someone else. Kindness reduces stress because it releases serotonin which is another 'feel-good' hormone. You can start with little acts of kindness like buying someone a cup of coffee, telling someone why you appreciate them, writing a note to a loved one, donating to a cause you're passionate about or volunteering in your community.

  • Aromatherapy. Studies show that lavender relieves anxiety by affecting the brain through smell. Drink lavender tea, light a lavender candle or keep some fresh lavender in your home or office. Research shows that peppermint and lemongrass essential oils relieve stress and anxiety.

  • Learn to say 'no'. Overcommitting is counter-productive and can lead to increased stress, anxiety or burnout. This is why it's important to set limits, in both personal and professional life. Practice saying no and stop overcommitting to people and experiences that are not aligned with your values. A simple and effective way to start practicing this habit is to pause and check-in with yourself before committing to anything. Before committing to something new, take some time to think about the implications, so that if you do agree to take it on you can perform to the best of your abilities and be absolutely certain you can follow through. FOR MORE FREE TIPS ON SELF CARE TAKE MY AYURVEDA DOSHA QUIZ:

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