Category Archives: Pamper Yourself
“When you have a packed calendar, taking on even the smallest activity can send your stress reflexes soaring. Knowing how to say no tactfully and firmly is key to deflecting this type of stress, says Dr. Peeke, but it can be hard to do. An outright “no, thanks” may cause you to worry about upsetting the other person, while gentler phrasing “I’m not sure this is the right time” or “I wish I could” sounds wishy-washy and implies that you might be available under different conditions.Prefacing your refusal with a sincere “I’m sorry” softens your response without providing an opener for other qualifiers as would “I’m not sure”. “People will be less likely to press you further since they’ll feel you’re being genuine,” says Luskin. And you’ll feel better knowing that you asserted yourself without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Rewriting Your Internal Dialogue
Imagine that you’re stuck in a traffic tie-up so massive it will be a miracle if you make it to work by lunch — let alone in time for that must-attend monthly staff meeting. Sweat running down your forehead, you clench the steering wheel until your fingers turn numb and wail, “I’m going to be laaaate! (Insert expletive.) My boss is gonna fire me!”
Not a pretty picture, huh? Now, using the same visual, substitute this audio: “There’s nothing I can do about the traffic. In the grand scheme of things, this is not that big a deal.” Soon, your breathing becomes normal, and the feeling returns to your hands. What you’ve witnessed is the power of words — and how using the right ones can help deflect a full-blown stress attack.
Life doesn’t always go as planned — a flight is canceled due to weather, your knee starts to throb at mile 16 of a marathon. But it’s how you respond to these situations that can make all the difference. “The majority of the stress we experience occurs because of the way we talk to ourselves and others about normal life events,” explains Frederic Luskin, PhD, a psychology researcher at Stanford University and author of Stress Free for Good (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005). When we rewrite this dialogue, our emotional reaction will change too, he explains. Fortunately, by adding the following words and phrases to your repertoire — some that you say to yourself, some that you say to others — you can maneuver gracefully through awkward situations and everyday anxiety traps.
Invigorate Your Scalp (and evict flakes)
Mix 1 teaspoon sea salt into an ounce of shampoo. Gently massage the mixture into your scalp for a few minutes, then rinse and condition as usual.
Every woman deserves a room of her own. This week, find a spot for your sanctuary and make it yours. If it’s the bathroom, put a plant on the tub. If it’s a corner of your living room, place a candle and comfy pillow there. Or, choose your car and hang a wind chime from the mirror. Now you’ll know that wherever you go, there’s a spot where you can decompress and prepare to face the world again.
Although it gets a bad rap, sweating is a vital process — it flushes toxins, improves circulation, and is emotionally cathartic. This week, visit a steam room or sauna. Or, replicate the effects at home by sitting in a warm bath with a towel draped over your head, or by wrapping yourself in warmed towels and getting under the covers. If you’re pregnant or have high blood pressure or heart disease, check with your doctor first.
Make a paste of 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1 teaspoon plain yogurt. Apply, then let dry 10 minutes. Rinse with a warm, damp washcloth and remove any residual turmeric with a gentle toner. The turmeric reduces inflammation, while the yogurt kills blemish-causing bacteria. For best results, do it the night before you want to look radiant.
Treat your tired eyes to a treatment that’s as relaxing as it is beautifying. Soak two chamomile tea bags in lightly warmed milk until soft. Place the tea bags over your closed eyes and rest in a quiet, comfortable spot for 10 minutes. The milk replenishes moisture in the delicate skin, and the scent of chamomile is soothing to frayed nerves. After 10 minutes, gently rinse with warm water and apply your favorite eye cream.
Downtime has become a dirty word, but it’s a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. As world famous yoga teacher Donna Farhi writes: By not doing so much, we create natural pauses to reflect. This week, find 10 minutes in your schedule to do nothing — sit outside and feel the breeze on your cheek, or lie on the floor and listen intently to your favorite song. No reading, no TV, no talking on the phone. Just be.
Here’s something nice for your feet that revitalizes your entire body: Fill one large bowl with hot water, and one with cold. Submerge your feet in the hot water for as long as you can, then switch to the cold. Repeat several times. The process draws circulation down to your feet and gets blood pumping throughout your body. It’s faster than a nap and better for you (and cheaper) than a fancy coffee drink.
Remember when Mom used to make your favorite meal for your birthday, and how great it made you feel? Pretend it’s your birthday this week and treat yourself to one of your very favorite things — whether it’s homemade mac and cheese, a bouquet of fresh flowers, or even a nap. When you make it a point to treat yourself well, other people will be more likely to do the same.