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Daily Tips for Self Care Week

Self Care At Plym Physio
November 13th – 19th 2017 is National Self Care week and that encompasses both physical as well as mental health. At Plym Physio we do more than take care of you physically. We work with you to ‘help you help yourself’ in every way. In our Physiotherapy sessions you will often be given exercises to do at home, because we know that taking charge of your own health, is the fastest route to recovery. But mental health can be more difficult to approach, and it is still a taboo subject for many people.

At Plym Physio we can also offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as part of our ‘helping you help yourself’ ethos. Rachael joined our team in September, to offer private sessions for those who want to know how to look after themselves mentally. Mental Health therapy is still widely considered as a treatment for severe illnesses such as psychosis, paranoia or even schizophrenia, but it can be used for so much more. Life can be stressful, social media impacts us on a daily basis and not always positively. Money struggles and our busy lives means we spend less and less time thinking of ourselves. In the same way that we need to look after ourselves physically every day, we need to look after ourselves mentally as well. But how?

Nicola and Rachael have summarised 7 simple things that you can do, one on each day of this week, so that you can look after yourself, yourself!

Day One: Mindfulness
Be mindful of the thoughts you are having. Negative thoughts are destructive and yet we listen to them as if they are fact. We allow them to enter our psyche. But when was the last time you listened to the positive thoughts? So try this today… really listen to the thoughts you are having. If it is negative, ask yourself, would I say this to another person? And if you wouldn’t, why are you saying it to yourself? Turn it around, and make it into something positive. For example, if you are thinking about a certain situation and how it could go wrong, instead think about what could happen if it goes right! And if you have a positive thought, say it out loud! Listen to it, think about it for just a little bit longer and believe it! It sounds easy, but it isn’t, so do it for just one day and take note before you go to bed, did you have a better day?

Day Two: Posture
Something everyone can do. Use this day to really think about your posture when standing, walking, sitting or laying down. Getting into the correct position ‘switches on’ muscles and helps to bring your body into alignment. It makes you consciously think about your body and your movements and allows you to work at your most efficient level. It also decreases the stresses on your joints and spine. But what is a good posture? For this day, try this. Make yourself aware of what position you are in, are you slouching? Leaning? Sitting cross legged? Hold your head up, make sure your back is straight, not relaxed but also not tense. Are you feeling any strain anywhere, if so adjust your position. If sitting, keep your feet flat to the floor just over a 45 degree angle to your knees. If standing, distribute your weight evenly between your legs, shoulders back, tummy in.










Try it while looking in a mirror so that you know how it looks and feels. Then, when you remember to be aware of your posture, you know how it should feel. At the end of the day, take note of how you feel. You should feel less fatigued, perhaps less stressed or sore.

Day Three: Goals
Do you have a goal or goals you would like to achieve? Perhaps to be happier? Is it to be less anxious? Get stressed less easily? It is possible to achieve your goals when you break them down one at a time and really focus on what you want to achieve. Today, decide on one simple, realistic goal, and do it! For example, do you feel you go to bed too late? Then tonight, go to bed an hour earlier. That’s it, and you have achieved your goal. It’s only for one day and you can do it. Reward yourself (mentally) for achieving your goal. And wake up the next day, stronger and more positive.

Day Four: Move It!
Today, try to go out for a gentle walk for just 20 minutes, and take someone with you if you can! The benefit of this simple exercise is enormous. Your body will feel energised, your immune, circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems will be boosted, you will feel less stressed and your mind will light up, quite literally.






And if it is raining (this is England after all), enjoy it! You can wrap up warm and dry when you return home, but enjoy the freshness of the environment during a rain shower, the clearness of the air as you breathe, focus on the calmness of nature around you, your body and inside your own mind.

Day Five: Just Breathe
Have you ever noticed when you are feeling stressed, angry or anxious that your breathing is faster, shallower and harder? When suffering, for example, anxiety our breathing changes, our heart rate increases, and our body is flooded with chemicals so that we are ready to react to whatever is causing this distress (even if it is our own thoughts). Use today to really think about your breathing. If something happens that makes you react negatively, make sure you take deep, slow breaths. This in turn will reduce your heart rate, and will help you calm yourself more quickly. You will then be able to assess the situation more clearly. For example, the dreaded rush hour. A very stressful part of many peoples day. Focus on keeping your breathing regular and smooth, and you will feel much better by the time you arrive at your destination!

Day Six: Stretching… Dynamically!
A good stretch can be invigorating, in our Pilates classes you will learn how to stretch in a controlled and safe manner, focussing on one part of your body at a time. If you read our blog post with our 7 most effective Pilates exercises you can see how these are done. But for today, we are focussing on just one…the Total Body Rotation movement. With ‘dynamic’ stretching you get a lot more bang for you buck, working on balance, moving most parts of your body in one go and it is an essential movement that we need but is often neglected. For most, it is a good all rounder. To see how to do it effectively, Nicola is demonstrating it in the video below. (Click on the photo to view the video in a separate window)

Day Seven: Meditate
Meditation is a fantastic way to help keep stress and anxiety at a controlled level. Even mediating for 2 minutes a day can be beneficial. Just two minutes! And to do that, you are going to be concentrating on your breathing again. So sit down, anywhere you can, floor, chair, even your car seat (not while you are driving though!), anywhere without distractions. You can even set a timer. Make sure you are sitting up straight and place your hands on your knees or by your sides , somewhere that is comfortable to you. Shut your eyes and focus on taking deep long breaths in, and then slowly letting it out. Try not to think about anything other than the sensation of your breathing. If your mind wanders, just become aware of it and gently bring it back to each breath. Enjoy the moment of peace, and then you are ready to get on with your day.

We hope this week you have had a chance to look at your own self care, if you are interested in learning more, call the clinic on 01752 656340 or email to book a physiotherapy, Pilates class or a CBT appointment.


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