So you've had a bad day. You're feeling kind of down and want to take your mind off your looming deadline, your overly demanding boss, or your unreasonable co-worker. What do you do?
You head to the mall. That's right. You engage in a little retail therapy. After all, studies have shown shopping can improve your mood, alleviate depression and even boost your self-confidence.
Granted, retail therapy needs to be done in moderation and preferably using the funds you set aside specifically for days like this one. There's a fine line between retail as therapy and retail as an unhealthy habit. It's a problem if you spend more than you can afford, feel guilty after making a purchase or buy things you don't want or need.
An excellent way to keep retail therapy in check is to hunt for bargains. Is there anything quite like scoring a killer deal on the shoes you've been eyeing, or finding a gem of an item on the clearance rack? Serotonin - the feel good hormone - is probably coursing through your body just thinking about it.
While it may not be for everyone, retail therapy may be just what you need as a little pick-me-upper.
Happy bargain hunting!
When I wrote the last blog on the importance of friendship to self care, I knew I would need to follow up with a Part 2. In the previous blog, I concentrated on the positive effects of friendships and on how social support is necessary in maintaining a sense of well being.
But let's face it. Not all friendships are entirely positive. Some can even be a source of discomfort and/or stress. While we would like to believe that all close ties remain a part of us forever, the reality is some friendships thrive, some grow and some simply fizzle out. And when they do, we struggle with how to get them back on track or whether we should simply cut the ties.
Not all friendships are beneficial. Not all friendships are an equal balance of give and take. Instead of feeling rejuvenated after we have been with some friends, we might feel drained. Occasionally as a friendship develops, we discover qualities about the other person that we simply don't like. Or maybe there are a few hurtful incidents we can't move past.
Recent studies have shown that negative social interactions can cause a heightened release of pro-inflammatory cytokine, a protein involved in the immune system. Chronic inflammatory processes are linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and auto immune disorders. In plain English, some friendships may be bad for our health.
Deciding what to do about friendships that have lost their lustre needs careful consideration. Is it a temporary blip that time can heal, or have differences in opinions caused significant road blocks? Taking stock of the types and quality of our friendships and ensuring we feel good about them, is an important aspect of self care.
There is nothing like an important event in your life to shed light on the value of true friendships.
And with the launch of Side Effects this past week, I've spent a good deal of time reflecting on just that.
Friendships are so much more than the connections we make. They sustain us through rough patches. They support us through good times and bad. They bring joy and laughter.
Friendships usually begin with common interests, values and/or beliefs. They grow stronger when we share our deeper layers. And they thrive when there is a mutual agreement about what it means to be a true friend.
The measure of a true friend is not what they say, but what they do. The show of support I have seen this past week has reminded me that I have some amazing people in my life.
Clinical studies have proven many health benefits to having fulfilling friendships - increased longevity, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, improved immune systems, improved recovery time during illness and increased resilience against stress. In other words, friends help keep us healthy.
Social support is a key element in sustaining a sense of well being. Spending time with friends can be a form of self care.
I hope your life is filled with valuable, loving friends.
Check out the lifestyle section of any bookstore and you'll find an explosion of titles with the word "Hygge" on them. A new publishing craze?
What is Hygge? And how in the world do you pronounce it? (Hoo-ga)
Collins English Dictionary defines hygge as a concept "of creating cozy and convivial atmospheres that promote well being." The word originates from Denmark but has recently spread to Britain, and now North America. So popular is the term in Britain, it is listed as one of the three 'words of the year for 2016'.
Hygge reflects an entire attitude towards life; one that values life's simpler pleasures, cherishes time with family and friends (and usually involves wine and comfort food). At it's core, it's about feeling 'at home'. It is not so much about what you do, but the spirit in which it is done. It is meant to evoke a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Sounds pretty good so far.
The idea is to forget life's worries and it's all about doing things you find meaningful. It conjures up images of curling up on the couch with a good book, or dimming the lights, stoking the fire and watching the flames dance. It's a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream. Hygge is all about hand knit socks, flannel shirts and comfy PJ's.
Sounds a lot like a hefty helping of self care to me. And since Denmark ranks as on the the 'happiest countries' in the world, I suspect we could learn a thing or two about embracing a little hygge ourselves.
Hope this week brings a little hygge your way!