This blog follows on from the previous one, a part two if you like, discussing how you can utilise The Ultimate Self-Care Tool Kit to boost your immunity.
So let's talk about RELATIONSHIPS, RESILIENCE and RENOVATE....
If there was ever a time that our sense of connectivity and community has been tested, it's been this past 18 months. Lockdowns and restrictions have left so many people feeling isolated and lonely. The reality is that even if you consider yourself an independent person, even if you're an introvert, we humans are social creatures by nature and our ability to flourish and thrive largely depends upon our ability to connect with others. We have survived, evolved and adapted by creating communities and collaborating together. We're even programmed to produce feel-good hormones when we enjoy the company of others - oxytocin known as the Love Hormone, is a great example. It's not only produced in childbirth and breast feeding to bond mother with child, it's also released in social interactions and plays a part in empathy, trust and bonding.
In addition to the release of happy hormones and positive emotions, relationships and community can help us feel supported and cared for, and help to build a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. All of which help reduce stress and activate the parasympathetic nervous system and this allows the immune system to operate at optimum.
If you've been feeling isolated or noticing some of the important relationships in your life need a bit of attention there's no time like the present. Yes, there are still restrictions in place in some locations around the world, preventing many people seeing loved ones in person, but please don't let that be an excuse not to reach out and reconnect. Small gestures go a long way and acts of kindness (sending a card or flowers, or simply picking up the phone and making that call) create positive emotions for both giver and receiver. If you feel all your immediate relationships are in a good place, how about supporting a charity or community event - donating to a cause you belief in or volunteering your time or talents is incredibly powerful, especially during tough times when so many people are in need and would value your support.
Isn't it about time we stopped treating life is one big endurance test and start thinking about how we truly equip ourselves to be our most resilient selves? Life can be a roller coaster, so rather than pushing ourselves harder, why aren't we focusing more time and energy on building the tools and mindset that make us feel capable of handling those ups and downs? I speak to people every day of the week who are stressed and overwhelmed, almost at the point of burnout, and yet they're too scared to slow down and press pause. The thing is, you really can't take resilience for granted - you have to proactively invest in it.
In part one of this blog post we already discussed how detrimental stress can be to our immune response. So the more we can boost our resilience and reduce the amount of stress we experience in any given day or week, the more we're supporting our immune system.
So how often are you taking a step back from your busy routine and what tools do you have in your kit that help you to be your most resilient self?
Any self-care activities can help to ensure you feel resilient so never under estimate the power of a work-out, a hearty, nutritious meal and a good night's sleep. But to give yourself a bigger boost still, find meaning in the things you do, find joy and engagement in your day to day tasks, and spend time identifying and utilising your strengths. You will need to be present and create a little space and time to reflect for these activities to have full impact, and that may be a challenge in itself. But until you rise to that challenge, and make that investment in you, you may well struggle to feel your most resilient, healthy and happy self.
Life is a journey isn't it? How do you feel about your journey to date and do you know the direction you're travelling in and why? When we feel aligned to our bigger WHY we feel uplifted and purposeful - it's energising. But when we're simply going through the motions and doing things because we ought to, or simply because we're too busy to slow down think about the direction we're heading, it can be incredibly draining, even stressful.
The last 18 months of living through the pandemic has been quite a reflective time for many people. Before you launch back into a busy social calendar ask yourself what's meaningful to you in each part of your life - are you living your first class life in every way or is it time to renovate?
Create a clear vision of what your first class life looks like and start saying yes to things that align with this vision, and start saying no the things that don't align. There's no better time to renovate and upgrade every aspect of your life so you are truly living your first class life and remember, this might also mean it's time to declutter and let go of the items (and emotions) that are no longer adding value to your life.
RELATIONSHIPS, RESILIENCE, RENOVATING especially when combined, provide a massive boost in happiness and wellbeing. They help you to feel strong and well mentally, and when this happens, it has a knock on affect to your physical health, including your immune response. So ditch the stress, overcome the overwhelm and replace burnout with The Ultimate Self-Care Tool Kit. This is your time to flourish and thrive.