Physicians, therapists, and other medical professionals are an integral part of your healthcare team, but the first line of defense against health problems is you. Good self-care can prevent, delay, or reduce most health problems, including mental health issues. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and adherence to your physician-recommended medications are all important, but effective self-care is also about pampering yourself from time to time.


The Importance Of Self-Care: Why You Should Pamper Yourself |

Taking some time to relax each day can have measurable effects on your health.

Stress is bad for you. It can lead to everything from headaches to anxiety to eating disorders, and it can also worsen existing conditions. Stress triggers the production of the hormone cortisol, which is fine in small doses, but in large doses can lower immune response, increase the risk of mental illness, and negatively impact bone density levels.

Relaxation, on the other hand, is good for you. Not only does relaxing remove or reduce the ill effects of stress, but it generates positive effects of its own. It’s been known for a quite a while that relaxation can produce a lot of great effects on the body, including lowered blood pressure, reduced muscle tension and pain, and improved concentration and mood. Recent studies have looked at the effects of relaxation in more depth, and the results are impressive.

Relaxation triggers a genetic response that leads to improved function at a cellular level in the body. Mitochondria, which are the “batteries that power cells,” become more resilient. Insulin production, which controls energy conversion, is boosted. Telomeres, which protect chromosomes (part of DNA), experience an extended lifespan. It was also found that these changes are more pronounced the longer you practice relaxation techniques, but results become apparent after as little as two months of regular relaxation.

Relaxing self-care activities also trigger the production of the body’s “feel-good” hormones, like serotonin and oxytocin. These hormones are connected to better moods, better sleep, and naturally-occurring pain-relief.

Anything that relaxes you will aid in your self-care.

Some of the most often-recommended ways to relax are yoga, meditation, or journaling. Yoga is a very low-impact, low-stress form of exercise, and exercise in general works wonders to reduce stress. Meditation, especially when accompanied by