This week is national self-care week. The nights are drawing in and those end of year deadlines at work are approaching. It is very easy to stop looking after yourself and get caught up in the hamster wheel of our lives! This article is your sign to stop and take time to think about how you can look after yourself both mentally and physically. After all, you only get one body. Self-care week encompasses so many things, but I’ve put together my top 5, writes Reading Chiropractor Beccy Norman.
Okay so I might be biased but taking time for your adjustments is so important. Your musculoskeletal system is literally what holds you up. If you are in pain through dysfunction, then this can impact everything from enjoying the activities you love, to your ability to focus on work, to being able to enjoy time with your loved ones.
Both Chiropractic and Osteopathy are well known to be beneficial for back pain, but we can also help with so much more. Conditions that we can benefit include: headaches, shoulder pain , hip pain , knee pain, pregnancy issues and so much more. Your chiropractor or osteopath can also give you the right tools to take better care of yourself once you leave the clinic. This ranges from ergonomic desk advice to personalised rehab programmes to improve posture and reduce reoccurrence of your previous issues.
Don’t forget that if you are a current guest ours then you can refer a friend or family member to us, and they will receive their initial consultation for £25 instead of £75. It’s important to remember that some of our practitioners in the clinic also are also qualified to treat little ones. We can help all ages as young as two weeks old!
It can be very tempting as the nights get darker and colder to stay at home instead of getting out and getting moving. However, there are so many benefits of exercise that I don’t even know where to start. Many patients are worried about exercise when they’re in pain as they are scared it’s going to make things worse. However, if you are smart about the exercise you choose then this movement is actually highly beneficial to your recovery. This particularly rings true when you start looking at low impact activities such as walking, swimming, cycling and yoga.
Exercise Is also so important when it comes to getting good quality sleep. So often we are mentally tired but not physically tired. Physical activity also helps to release endorphins (our natural happy chemicals) and improve your energy, which is exactly what we need coming in to winter. It doesn’t need to be a lot but even 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Always talk to your practitioner if you are unsure what exercise is best suited to you or whether something is appropriate, but self-care week is a great time to start a healthy new habit!
Approximately 45-60% of our bodies are made up of water. This is why keeping hydrated Is so unbelievably important. Being dehydrated can even contribute to your back pain. Your discs between each vertebrae in the spine are made of water. If the gelatinous part of the disc (imagine the jam in a doughnut!) is lacking water then this can actually be the cause of your back pain. If we are not hydrated then the water in our body will always go to our brain first which may mean water is taken away from our joints, muscles and fascia. This can leave us exposed to injury.
There are many chronic conditions that can be improved/worsened depending on our hydration levels. These include arthritis, fibromyalgia and migraines. Not keeping hydrated can also lead to headaches, fatigue and also leave us craving sugar. When it comes to how much, I would aim for 2 litres – this doesn’t include your coffee as this actually dehydrates you!
When we don’t sleep well there’s both immediate effects on our well-being but also long term effects. From a chiropractic point of view sleep is when your body takes the time to heal. You will struggle to get the same benefits from your adjustment or massage without a good night’s sleep. Ironically, many patients report they sleep better after an adjustment, so this is also a positive feedback loop. Sleep also triggers the release of growth hormones which helps the body repair your muscles. Sleep is also so important for your immune system. In the winter months we are always aware of more coughs colds and bugs being about. Sleep supports the proteins and cells in your body that detect and fight with any foreign invaders in the body. You may also realise that sleep or lack of sleep has a huge impact on your brain function. Long-term sleep deprivation has also been found to increase the risk of many brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There are many other benefits of sleep but one. I think some people may not release is the effect this can have on your weight management. When you are tired this can affect the hormone ‘ghrelin’ which affect how full you feel and your cravings. On top of this you will have less energy and therefore feel less motivated to exercise.
Finally, after all of my very boring and sensible recommendations for self-care week, I think doing things that make you happy is such an important part of self-care. Whether this is visiting our local coffee shop ‘The Collective’ for a coffee and muffin, having a massage with one of fabulous massage therapists, reading a great book (have you read Andy’s book: One Body One Life: Don’t Screw it Up?) or enjoying a walk along the river with a friend, investing in yourself Is so important. You can’t look after everyone else around you if you haven’t been looking after yourself! Society tells us that If we aren’t busy then we’re lazy and unproductive but sometimes the healthiest thing you can do for yourself Is sitting down and reading a good book or binge watching your favourite Netflix series. Just make sure you’re not so slumped you need to come In and see us the next day !
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.