Whenever I sit down to write a blog I think about what I can give to you – how I can help you to grow, prosper and become a better person. I try to encourage and inspire you. In recent weeks I’ve talked to you about coaching, overcoming your fears, being an effective marketer, growing your business and even raising funds through crowd surfing. Am I pushing you too hard??!? I am an ambitious person. I am not ashamed of that and let’s face it, if you read these columns you must also be ambitious, again there is nothing wrong with that. It just means that you are determined to grow, prosper and become the best version of yourself possible. But we ambitious people drive ourselves pretty hard. We are always setting goals, making plans and acting on our decisions. We do not always give ourselves enough down time. In the past I have written about the importance of self- care. Eating right, exercising even drinking enough water. Today I want to talk to you about the importance of pampering yourself.
What is Pampering?
According to The Cambridge Dictionary, pampering is ‘to give someone special treatment, making that person as comfortable as possible and giving them whatever they want’. Now if you are a disciplined person you are going to recoil at the suggestion of giving yourself whatever you want. You are used to depriving yourself – setting routines, exercising, pushing yourself even when you are tired. But I want to remind you that a bit of pampering can also be beneficial to the body, mind and soul. Of course the first priority is to eat well and regularly exercise to keep yourself in shape, but self-care is also about spoiling yourself once in a while.
The Benefits of Pampering
Pampering or spoiling yourself is a guaranteed way to reduce your level of stress. Stress is a killer. It has been linked to cancer; it can also cause everything from headaches, anxiety and eating disorders. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which is okay in low doses but if released regularly it will even eat away at your bone density.
But pampering or indulging yourself has been shown to relax muscles, reduce pain and even improve concentration. There are times in our lives when we need to be pampered. This is particularly true when we’re under pressure and things are not going smoothly. If you have had a setback or disappointment, you should be especially kind to yourself. You should pamper yourself. Dr Kristin Neff, associate professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas found that people who pamper themselves in times of difficulty have a better response to stress – they don’t get as anxious as other people. They also have less body-wide inflammation, better immunity, and are healthier, suffering fewer colds and headaches than people who don’t pamper themselves.
How to Pamper Yourself
What is your favourite indulgence – a bubble bath, a good movie, a massage, chocolate, how about a good movie and chocolate? When you pamper yourself your body releases those feel good hormones, serotonin and oxytocin. I was reading the psychology site, PsychCentral recently and the author said that self-care must be fun stuff: “My definition of self-care is letting yourself do whatever you want to do. So if I randomly feel like reading a few pages of a fictional novel or walking my dog, I do it. I don’t push it aside or promise myself I’ll do it later, I do it right then.”
Please do not misunderstand my advice. If you are going to thrive and prosper you need to be disciplined and determined, but you also need to give yourself a break periodically and indulge yourself. This is restorative. If you like gardening, give yourself some time in the garden. As long as it recharges you and makes you feel refreshed.
There are so many ways to pamper yourself. Sit down and write whatever you want to, listen to happy music, sit in a park and watch the world go by, catch up with a friend, ask your spouse to give you a massage.
It is also okay to indulge and buy some yummy food, but do not get into the habit of treating or pampering yourself regularly with food. It might be a great way to break your stress cycle, but it’s not good for your waistline or your heart. Instead think about going to a concert or dance class or even have a swim.
Pampering for Health
Modern life is pretty harried. Too often we are under pressure but giving yourself some ‘pamper time’ can restore you. Sometimes the ultimate indulgence is just some free time. Tell yourself that for one afternoon you have nowhere to be and nothing to do. Just enjoy life and be at peace. Let self-pampering restore your inner strength. Pay for a massage or a hair-cut and shave. This pampering reminds us that we are worthy and cared for. And when we feel cared for and loved we are better able to care for others. A pampering session is a short holiday from life.
Today I challenge you to stop thinking of pampering as a luxury. Too often people feel guilty about pampering themselves, but today I want you to think about pampering as a healthy way to live.