Merriam defines the word “physiology” as: “A branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (such as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved.”
What a perfect word to help discover the reasons for discovering why you should pamper yourself.
This is the perfect subject to help us get off the daily treadmill of life that sucks up the most precious commodity with have—ENERGY! If you agree, read on to learn how what is sometimes thought of a waste of money—pampering yourself—is by far one of the most healing remedies you will find.
Just so there is no mistaking what I mean by pampering yourself, it is not sitting in front of the television with a box of milk chocolates. (Smile) What I would like to discuss in this brief blog post is how our mental and physical health are positively affected when we take the time to deliberately pamper ourselves. In this case, the word simply means to “treat with extreme or excessive care and attention.”
Living Lives of Quiet Desperation
A book I recently read on spirituality discusses how our lives today are consumed by the myriad complexities of the modern world. There is no longer any time for the blessings of religion, prayer, or other peaceful mental and physical practices. For the most part, many of us are living in a state of quiet desperation, with too much focus on the following:
- Juggling our working hours
- Starting or changing careers
- Living in households with two working parents
- Keeping up with social media and technological developments
- Over exercising, even if we’re dead tired
- Rearing our children in daycare centers where, for the most part, they eat unhealthy lunches and snacks (which means sick and sicker kids)
Yes, this does sound like a treadmill to me. And this type of stress definitely shortens our lives, as I discuss in my blog post “The Longevity Secret, Part I.”
I know there are some exceptions, but let’s look at the statistics from just one area of daily stress, as outlined in the Forbes article “Why Too Much Data Is Stressing Us Out” (emphasis mine):
“The study of 1,000 Brits found that over a third (35%) feel that having to keep up with today’s ‘information overload’ leaves them feeling stressed out, unable to relax and anxious. Two thirds (65%) say that the need to keep track of a great deal of information is a ‘concern’ in their lives.
“Put simply, the digital technology has evolved at a far quicker rate than the physical evolution of the brains we use to decipher and put it to use. Our brains aren’t built to cope with the ever-increasing volumes of data we are trying to cram into them—and this is leading to brain malfunction in the form of stress.”
How Does Pampering Ourselves Change These Dynamics?
Simply stated, allowing yourself to be pampered means that during that time you’re receiving the loving care of another person. So why is that important? Well, it’s because when you’re being pampered, you are not in the thick of providing others their needs.
At last it’s your turn to be taken care of, rather than being the care taker. And no, it is not a selfish act! Pampering yourself is the break that helps refresh your spirit and body. It allows you to take up your otherwise busy, complex life with a greater sense of acceptance and peace. You may even be given suggestions from your subconscious on how to simplify your life.
5 Basic Suggestions for Pampering Yourself
- Get a massage
- Enjoy a day at a spa
- Write a short journal listing your angers
- Anoint yourself with oil
- Get a reflexology treatment
Read on for well-documented information from known sources about each of the suggestions above. My hope is that it will help you understand the serious healing benefits associated with each these recommendations.
#1. Get a Massage
What will a good massage do for you? From the Mayo Clinic: “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.” This article goes on to say that massage may be helpful for alleviating the following conditions:
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
#2. Enjoy a Day at the Spa
What will a day at the spa do for you? In an article on the benefits of spa treatments for stress, AHealthierMichigan.com notes: “Spa treatments and massage therapies, which are quick and relatively affordable, create both mental and physical health benefits. In fact, studies have shown that the frequency of visiting a spa directly correlates with better quality sleep, fewer sick days, reduced absenteeism from work and fewer hospitalizations. More specifically, the heat from a hot tub, sauna or steam shower soothes aches and pains from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other joint issues. Hydrotherapy, heat therapy and massages both improve blood circulation and manage blood pressure. Some spas even have Pilates and yoga, which improve flexibility and breathing.”
#3. Write a Short Journal Listing Your Angers
What will writing a short anger journal do for you? As noted in the article “Anger Diary and Triggers” by Michael Adamowicz (published by MentalHelp.net): “An anger diary or journal can be a useful tool to help you track your experiences with anger. Make daily entries into your diary that document the situations you encounter that provoked you. In order to make the diary most useful, there are particular types of information you’ll want to record for each provoking event.” (Click on the link to learn more.)
#4. Anoint Your Body with Oil
What will anointing yourself with oil do for you? I wrote my blog post “Anointing Your Body with Oil” to detail the tremendous effects that different types of body oils can have when your intentions are stated: “For maximum benefit, it’s of paramount importance to sit quietly for a few minutes and form your intention(s). You may even say a prayer. Let go of your worries, let go of your unhappiness about your position or place in your life, and let go of your old hurts. Be grateful for your surroundings and your body even if it’s not perfect at this moment. It is, after all, an anointing—and not just a casual massage.”
#5. Get a Reflexology Treatment
What will a reflexology treatment do for you? Pampering yourself with reflexology treatments from a professional could be the missing link you need to address a longstanding health issue. Click on the link to read the article in full and learn more, but here are some of the major benefits you may receive:
“Reflexology is a science and healing art based upon the theory that there are reflex areas, or specific points, in the feet and hands that correspond to all the glands and organs in the body. Take, for example, a blister right below your big toe. It corresponds to the health of your parathyroid and thyroid bilaterally. A second example would be if you are having health issues with your reproductive system. That would prompt a reflexologist to work around both your ankle bones. Working around the bases of each toe corresponds to tight neck muscles.
“The only tools used for reflexology are the thumb and fingers on the reflex points of the feet and hands. Reflexology is not massage, nor is it a replacement for modern medicine. Reflexology is based on theories that nerve pathways exist throughout the body. When any of these pathways become blocked, the body experiences levels of discomfort. Reflexology may assist in reviving one’s energy flow and bringing the body back into homeostasis, a state of balance.”
In closing, I hope that this coming weekend be able to get away to a place where you will be pampered. Loving yourself is a good thing that will not only bring joy to your life but also to the lives of those you love.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Begin-Authors-Note”]
Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook
Sometimes you mustn’t forget who you are.
The self within you. The truest of you.
Not your mother-self.
The harried, headless chicken,
Who multitasks and sometimes crumbles under the pies
Or the many crosses checked on her multicoloured
Organizing selves of others except hers,
Hiding in the bathroom,
Sighing in relief,
Brimming with love.
Not the wife-self who is too knackered sometimes
To make conversation, or love,
Or to laugh at the jokes of the man who shares her bed.
It’s sometimes easier to fall asleep
And forget about the passion, magic or bills.
Or the lonely single self.
The tired fearless self.
Because her body is shattered, her mind wracked with overwork,
She seeks solace on her pillow.
Not the working-self: thinking, planning, grafting, doing, slaving.
Quivering. Standing tall amidst the broken-ness.
Not the selves of sisterhood, daughterhood, the go-to self,
The holder of the universe,
The balancer of the sky.
Not the selfless friend she is,
Responding to rants, absorbing angst, illnesses and problems.
No place for selfishness.
Not forgetting the self who writes poetry,
Or plays music
Who just is.
Or who loves to dress her home.
Or the self who reads,
Or who hates to work out but must as mid-life health dictates it.
The self who
Potters about, pauses, and just sits
Or pamper herself,
disappears. But she must sometimes just submerge herself in her own
To renew herself.
The self who needs a luxuriant bath all.by.herself.
Cleansed again, by baptismal water’s powers.
The one self you buried under your pile of selves…
Because the self in the selves sometimes disappear
In the humdrum of days.
Until you peel back the layers
Of dancing daughters.
And adoring sons
And doting husbands
And funny fathers and
Of work, bills, obligations,
Of life and meaning.
And you find your self’s soul again.
Smelling glorious; regenerated.
Because that self
Is the truest of all: bare and unadorned.
Naked, gorgeous and vulnerable.
—“Note to Self” by Shirley Maya Tan
Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.
Images from iStock/FotoDuets (main), grinvalds (woman with kids), Ridofranz (massage).
holistic nutrition | self-care