12 Ways to Pamper Yourself
When it comes to your health and well-being, a little TLC goes a long way. Taking better care of yourself is the most important health responsibility — or resolution — you can have. To help you unwind, Dr. Abby Caplin suggests activities like drinking chamomile tea or taking a hot bath, even unplugging all your electronics. Even an hour offline could help relieve your stress and help you relax.
Scheduling weekly downtime is a great way to start taking care of yourself. A popular TV show uses the phrase “Treat Yo’self Thursday” to mark two characters’ annual pampering, but why not treat yourself every Thursday? Dr. John Munshower says that you can pamper yourself however you like, so here’s a list to start!
1. Relax with a bath
Make sure you won’t be disturbed, then light a few candles. Choose between bath salts, bath bombs, or bubble bath, then sit back and relax. If you’re pregnant, you can still take baths. OB/GYN Dr. Hector Chapa says, “Just remember not to make the water so hot that it’s uncomfortable, as your core body temperature may rise.” Enjoy your bath — just don’t stay in the tub for too long!
2. Take a long walk
Leave your phone at home and take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood or local park. According to Dr. Richard Lipman, walking for an hour could burn up to 200 extra calories, which adds up to about two pounds a month. Besides the health benefits, a walk could also take you somewhere you’ve never been before, like a new favorite restaurant.
3. Listen — really listen — to music
For audiophiles, this means it’s time to dust off those records. For the rest of us, find music that speaks to you — whether it’s relaxing music or the kind with sentimental value — and listen. Tune out the rest of the world and just listen. Dr. Tom Heston sums it up: “Music affects your mood and thoughts, which can affect your health.”
4. Eat dark chocolate or other comfort foods
Treating yourself to comfort food once in a while is perfectly okay. Some people like ice cream, others like grilled cheese and tomato soup, and still other like plain potato chips. If you like dark chocolate, then you’re in luck! Dr. Jessica Allan says, “Numerous studies have shown that chocolate may boost your mood as well as increase blood flow to the brain, which may help keep your brain sharp. Other studies show that it can improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and improve memory.”
5. Get a massage
This can be a once-a-month or once-every-few-months activity, but it’s definitely worth it. According to Dr. Hallie Robbins, “they are a healthy way to ease aches, soothe tight spots, improve circulation, promote relaxation, and provide [a] therapeutic or caring touch.”
6. Read a fun book
It’s usually challenging to carve out time to truly savor a good book, so this is an excellent way to pamper your mind. Dr. Marc Hirsch says, “Anything that puts you in the present moment and eases the restlessness of your mind can relax you physically and mentally and make you happy.” It doesn’t have to be classic literature for you to enjoy it, so go ahead, pick up that summertime beach read you’ve put off for months.
7. Get a manicure and/or pedicure
This little bit of pampering can do wonders for your self-confidence. It’s a two-for-one deal: you’ll feel both more polished (pun intended) and more relaxed. Even pregnant women can get mani/pedis — just make sure the nail salon is reputable. OB/GYN Dr. Sheila Goodman also suggests making sure the salon is well-ventilated. If you start getting dizzy or feel a headache coming on, get some fresh air.
8. Watch your favorite movie
Maybe you’ve been meaning to check out the new movie releases or want to try the screen offerings at the indie theatre. Either way, it’s the perfect activity for the next couple of tips. Just make sure to skip the unhealthy movie-theatre popcorn. According to Dr. Martin Fried, it’s best to eat air-popped popcorn and water, not soda. He says, “The popcorn is high in fiber, and you don’t need the oil or the fat [the movie theatres] add.”
9. Hang out with your friends
If movies aren’t social enough for you, why not try weekend brunch? It isn’t only for city dwellers — even suburban restaurants do brunch! Carving out regular time to catch up with your friends allows you to strengthen your friendship. Clinical psychologist Dr. Lawrence Smith says, “The essence of a relationship is the involvement/connection you have with each other. Listening strengthens relationships by supporting closer or more meaningful connections between people.”
10. Have date night with your partner
Call the babysitter, dress up, and spend the night out on the town. Spend some quality time together, and don’t forget the romance. Pathologist Dr. Ed Friedlander has excellent advice for both single and committed individuals: “Most people want a romantic relationship, and those who are successful here put their smarts and efforts into maintaining both this and other aspects of their lives (job skills, people skills, time management, personal organization) that make for happiness. Other folks like myself are happy loners, absorbed in meaningful work. Choose your own path through life caring for others, and it’ll be good.”
11. Slow down and meditate
Even if you don’t have the time for anything else, this form of mental pampering can help you de-stress. Take a deep breath, focus on your breathing, and imagine breathing out all the stress and negativity. For more ways to manage stress, check out our last blog post, 13 Habits of Stress-Free People.
12. Unplug and do nothing
This is both the simplest and hardest way to take care of yourself: unplug all your electronics (TV, computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) and just do nothing. Combine this with #9, and you’re on your way to a less stressful lifestyle.
How do YOU treat yourself? Comment below with your tips! If you’re looking for more healthy ways to take care of yourself, talk to a HealthTap doctor today.