Science Has Proved Self Care Has Its Benefits

self-care

The term ‘self care’ might have some people rolling their eyes and complaining about the snowflake millennial generation, but this week science has come out in defense of being kind to yourself. While previous research has emphasised that those who show self compassion tend to have higher levels of wellbeing and better mental health, the latest study by Exeter University goes further to explain why.  

The study split 135 people into five groups and each group had to listen to an 11 minute audio. Two of the groups listened to recordings that encouraged them to be more self-compassionate. Whereas the remaining groups listened to recordings designed to induce a critical inner voice; encouraging them to be positive but competitive and an emotionally neutral shopping scenario.

Unsurprisingly the former were deemed to be happier, more relaxed and had lower heart and sweat rates. The group that listened to the audio promoting a positive but competitive approach did show some signs of relaxation, in terms of heart and sweat rate, but it wasn’t to the same degree.

“These findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation that is important for regeneration and healing,” says Dr Hans Kirschner, co-author of the study. So, how can you up your self care game and switch off your threat response? Here are some tips…

Take a bath…

It’s advice we’ve all heard over and over again, but a long, hot soak in the tub can help you switch off both mentally and physically, especially if you add a sprinkling of Soapsmith Lavender Hill Bath Soak. For tips on how to up your bathing game, read How To Take The Perfect Bath.

Brush your teeth…

If the meditation app on your phone works you up into more of a fury and thought of a 75 minute yoga class feels you with dread, then it might be worth taking a more practical approach to ‘being present’. When you brush your teeth this evening, rather than mentally checking off your to-do list or mulling over the stresses of the day, focus on each and every tooth you’re brushing. It’s not nearly as glamorous as visualising the waves softly hitting golden sands, but when your two minutes is up you’ll feel equally as satisfied and your mind will have calmed.

Take 15 minutes out…

This month, Carolyn Asome wrote about The Utter Joy And Transformative Effect Of Listening To Music and highlighted that listening to just 15 minutes of music a day can help relax you. Whether it’s on your commute or the quarter of an hour before you go to sleep, it’s worth downloading Soul Medicine’s 432 track

Have your cake…

Because denying yourself the simple pleasures in life can be just as frustrating as a huge to-do list. And life is too short.

How To Take The Perfect Bath

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In a bid to take charge of our own wellbeing many of us have made a personal promise to try and disconnect from technology when possible. Trouble is, phones are often found perched next to us, whether it’s the desk, sofa, dinner table or bed, making it tough not to scroll idly through feeds. Bathrooms however, are proving to be gadget free sanctuaries, which may be the reason that bathing is undergoing a renaissance as more of us opt to sit in the tub, rather than take a shower.

A quick glance at Instagram reveals thousands of #bathart #bathing #bath hashtags. Here is where you’ll find images of tubs teaming with floating lemon slices and colourful petals. Candles and crystals adorn bath ledges and just out of shot will be layers of Egyptian cotton towels, twinkling apothecary bottles and a burgeoning jungle of rubber plants. These shots are inviting; they epitomise cosy and self-indulgent, and unlike complicated eyeliner trends or tricky yoga poses, they are pretty easy to recreate.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasingly, bathing has gained momentum because we’re obsessed with experiences rather than ‘things’. This, coupled with the rise of global wellness and the self-care movement means that the bathroom is no longer just a place to just to get clean, but rather a haven where we can linger until an arduous work day recedes into the world of unimportance. According to a 2018 study by the Innovation Group, J. Walter Thompson, the recent fixation on bathing represents a sea change. “Even five years ago, the bath might have been seen as a form of indulgence. Now it’s recognized as a form of therapy, a tool in maintaining a healthy mental outlook,” explains Lucie Greene, a trend forecaster. Bear the below in mind, and supercharging your soak has never been more rewarding…

Body brush first

It’s wise to prep your skin for optimal soaking by buffing with a dry body brush first. This with help to slough away dead skin cells but also helps to encourage lymph flow and enhance circulation. Try Temple Spa Give It The Brush Off, £16. Start brushing at the feet and work up the legs, using gentle, sweeping movements towards the heart.

Reach for non-toxic candles

Burning some scented candles indoors releases airborne particles that can be as damaging as outdoor pollution, disrupting the skin’s barrier function and increasing sensitivity. Reach for Neom Organics Treatment Candles, £30. Formulated with just essentials oils and pure vegetable wax, their delicate fragrance gently soothes the mind, body and soul without polluting your set up.

What to add…

Tailor your bath to your needs. Bath oils containing lavender, chamomile or frankincense hit the sweet spot for deep relaxation and can be found in Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil, £48, and Soapsmith Lavender Hill Bath Soak, £14. Better You Magnesium Oil Original Flakes, £9.95, are the perfect antidote to a strenuous gym session or fitness class as it eases tension in the muscles. While This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak, £22, is the perfect choice for those who tend to get restless during the night, thanks to ho wood and vetiver oil.

What to do…

This may sound obvious, but for some of us just ‘laying there’ isn’t as easy as it sounds especially if you struggle to mentally wind down after a busy day. Instead, reach for a book that you can get lost in. Once you start to feel relaxed, you can begin to close your eyes and meditate or practice taking long, slow and deep breathes. You’re not likely to feel fully zen until you’re totally unplugged, so don’t forget to leave your phone outside, after you’ve taken a snap of your spa like surroundings of course.

The perfect temperature is…

Anywhere between 37-39°C because it’s the ideal temperature for muscle relaxation, yet isn’t hot enough for you to sweat and lose too much water, which can cause dizziness once you stand up. Room temperature also matters. Don’t have it colder than 24°C, else you’ll stress the body once you depart from the bath.

How long should you stay in it?

The pleasure lies in the moment so linger until you feel calm, relaxed and ready to either fall into bed or curl up on the sofa.

The Bathing Ingredient That Could Fend Off Colds

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If this week’s drop in temperature is anything to go by autumn has most certainly arrived. While the weather might warm come 4pm, coats are mandatory in the morning and it’s cold and dark again by 7pm. With the small changes in temperature, it’s no surprise that more of us are prone to catching a cold at this time of year. If the first few weeks of autumn are prime time for getting a lurgy for you, it might be worth considering popping two Daily Immunity supplements every morning. Read More…

The Art Of Bathing

Bath Tub in Turquise Room Wooden Floor

Taking the have a long, hot soak in the tub is seen as a luxury for most of us. But in an era when the saying ‘health is wealth’ rings true, looking after our body from top-to-toe has moved up the priority list. Body care is on the rise, so it’s unsurprising that bathing is making a comeback.

The art of bathing goes back centuries and across the world almost every country has its own ritualistic approach. In Japan, it’s not uncommon to bathe once or twice a day and outdoor communal bathing – also known as rotenburo – is championed by hotels, magazine and even has its own TV programme. Over in Finland, the saying ‘the sauna is the poor man’s apothecary’ still remains prevalent as the country has almost as many saunas as it does inhabitants. It’s strongly believed that sweating it out in a sauna not only provides a full body cleanse, but also helps you to relax. The ritual is usually finished with a roll in the snow too. Read More…

Why We’re All Falling Back In Love With Body Care

soap bar

When it comes to investing in our skin most of us splash the cash from the next up. Over the past couple of years, the body care category has seen a noticeable spike in popularity though. Last September, the NPD Group revealed that annual sales had hit $275.8 million in the US. Experts are pinpointing our growing interest in wellness and exercise as the reason behind this rise.

Gone are the days when a body oil or lotion would claim to simply nourish your skin, now they promise to take away your stresses before you drift off into a peaceful slumber or they’ll recharge your energy levels for the day ahead. Denise Leicester’s latest brand, ilapothecary goes one step further and aims to rebalance you on a physical and spiritual level with an expert blend of herbs, aromatherapy and gemstones.

Read More…

Swimwear Through The Ages

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Early bathing costumes had more to do with modesty than with looks or function and although Victorian women wore bathing costumes at the beach, a woman could not certainly swim in one comfortably. The swimsuit as a fashionable garment that provides enough freedom of movement to be worn in the water is a 20th century conception.

Ten thousand year old Neolithic pictographs depict humans in poses as if they are swimming. Ancient Babylonian and Assyrian wall art suggests swimming, as does an ancient Egyptian clay tablet. Written references to swimming in ancient times occur in Gilgamesh, the Iliad and the Odyssey and The Bible mentions swimming several times. Ancient Rome offered public bath houses for hygienic purposes, but the practice died out after the fall of Rome.

The Middle Ages saw a time when the Church set stringent dress codes that demanded modesty and Europeans shied away from water, however by the late 1600’s, health enthusiasts came to believe that immersion into mineral baths and natural springs was therapeutic. Read More…