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Facial massage isolated

Nurturing Yourself

Nurturing ourselves isn’t something most of us do naturally. When we’re ill or plain exhausted, we might think about taking it easy then. However, we really need to look after ourselves, not just through good food or exercise or when we’re forced to, but every day. You can, if you choose, build something into your daily life that nurtures you. Something you do for yourself and no one else.

For the foodies, you could enjoy preparing good food and eating mindfully, order dinner in, go to a favourite café or see your favourite film at home with a cream tea.

If you’re into pampering the body, you might:

Lie in a scented bath and indulging in a silk eye mask
Walk
Enjoy a massage, have a sauna
Get your hair done, have a facial, pedicure or manicure
Do some yoga
Enjoy a heated neck and shoulder wheat bag while sipping your favourite tipple
Restore rest periods during the day
Snuggle your tootsies into a feet warmer
For the creative, nature-loving part of you could engage in daily nature breaks, indulge in a craft project, enjoy regular child’s play, go to a flower show/round a garden centre or visit an art exhibit/museum.
The creative, nature-loving part of you could engage in daily nature breaks, indulge in a craft project, enjoy regular child’s play, go to a flower show/round a garden centre or visit an art exhibit/museum.

Getting into the psychological, how about:

Begin your weekly planning by considering the activities you choose to care for your physical, spiritual, mental, and social well-being. Caring first for yourself helps you to be more available to serve in each of your chosen roles without anger and resentment.
Let go of petty annoyances. Make a list of 10 things in your life that bother you. Then give yourself a month to fix it, clean it etc… or let go of it!
Cultivate contentment. Ask yourself: Will this activity enhance my life? Will this relationship move me toward or away from what I want to be and do in my life?
Let go of the past. Imagine where you want to be in the future and move toward it.
Identify activities that are all-consuming but not necessarily important to you. This is a case of “less is more” – doing less of what is not important enables you to do more of what matters most.
To nurture yourself, with someone else, open yourself up to a friend you trust or go out with someone special.

For some solitary nurturing sit quietly and daydream by scented candlelight, journal, read, shop (for yourself), watch your favourite soap, listen to a music or relaxation CD or sleep.

While you might think that taking the time to do just one activity from the above list each day is a waste of time – are you really saying you’re not worth taking care of? Guilt is a wasted activity. You will feel no better for it. So enjoy that time for nurturing yourself now.

Cold hands

Raynaud’s Disease – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Raynaud’s disease is a condition of the blood vessels particularly in the hands and feet. In Raynaud’s disease the tiny blood vessels in the fingers and toes suddenly and abnormally narrow. The reduced blood supply to the area leads a host of symptoms as the tissue in the fingers and toes are starved of oxygen.

Sometimes the condition occurs as a consequence of some underlying disease. In this case it is more specifically referred to as Raynaud’s syndrome. However, the vast majority of cases it arises for unknown reasons and is labelled as Raynaud’s disease. It is triggered by cold or stress, among other factors, but these are not the causes.

Causes of Raynaud’s Disease

The arteries in the body have tiny muscles in its wall. When these muscles contract, the artery narrows. Conversely, the artery widens when the muscles relax. In this way the amount of blood flowing to an area can be controlled. In Raynaud’s disease the muscles in the artery wall go into spasm suddenly. While this is not uncommon, in Raynaud’s disease the narrowing may be severe and sustained. It tends to occur as attacks.

The exact cause of Raynaud’s disease is unknown. It is therefore known as primary Raynaud’s disease. It tends to occur more frequently in women and develops around the 15 to 30 year age gap.

People who live in colder climates are at a greater risk, particularly if there is a family history of Raynaud’s disease. However, these are risk factors and not the actual cause of the condition.

Similarly, certain factors have been noted to trigger an attack, particularly cold and stress.

Symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease 

Blood partly contributes to the natural colour of the skin. When the blood flow to an area diminishes, the skin appears pale in colour. Severe or prolonged attacks can even cause the fingers and toes to turn blue in colour. Blood is also responsible for the warmth throughout the body, and in Raynaud’s disease the restricted blood flow leads to abnormally cold fingers and toes.

As a result of reduced blood flow and oxygen supply, the nerves in the area cannot function as normal. This is perceived as different sensations such as numbness or tingling but once the blood flow is restored to the area, most patients report a stinging or burning type of pain in the area.

Similarly there are other symptoms that arise once the attack ends, such as swelling and redness in the affected fingers and toes.

Although Raynaud’s disease primarily affects the fingers and toes, it may also involve the ears, nose, lips and even the breasts.

Treatment 

There are several drugs that can dilate the blood vessels, limit tissue damage and reduce the severity or frequency of attacks in Raynaud’s disease. However, it is not a cure and a person living with Raynaud’s has to focus on preventing attacks as far as possible. While stress management is a combination of good coping skills, environmental factors and personality, temperature control can be easier to manage.

People living in cold environments in particular should take precautionary measures as far as possible. Keeping the hands and feet warm and shielded from the cold with proper clothing is important. But just as crucial are conservative measures like heat therapy. Introducing external heat through the use of microwavable wheat bagsheat pads and warm baths increases blood flow to the area.

The body temperature naturally drops slightly during sleep. It is largely due to a decrease in metabolic activity as the body switches to a low energy state. As a preventative measure, especially at night while sleeping, the use of a heat pad can help prevent attacks. It is a safer option than a hot water bottle and does not require constant power usage like an electric heat pad.

Zhu-Zhu microwaveable heated glove

Zhu-Zhu microwavable heated glove

Feet Warmers

Zhu-Zhu Microwavable Feet Warmers

Senior Man Hiking In Countryside

Planning Physical Activity

Health and Activity Helps to -

 protect you from diabetes, high blood pressure, back pain, osteoporosis and heart disease.

 control weight by using excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat.

√  improve mood and reduce depression and stress.

Types of Activity

Aerobic

Aerobic means “with oxygen”  and the purpose of aerobic conditioning is to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscles which allows them to work better. Any activity that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time will improve your aerobic conditioning e.g. swimming, brisk walking, jogging, racket sports, bicycling, aerobic dancing and using aerobic equipment e.g. treadmill.

Dancing

Dancing is a weight-bearing activity and helps tone muscles, improve flexibility, makes your heart stronger and your lungs work better.

Lifestyle

To become more active throughout your day, take advantage of any opportunity to get up and move around, for example:

  • Park the car at the most distant point in the car park from the entrance to the building.
  • Walk the dog more often.
  • Walk while you talk on a mobile phone.
  • Play actively with the kids.
  • Walk the stairs instead of taking the lift.
  • Get out of your chair whenever you can at home and at work.
  • Use household chores as an exercise class.
  • Garden regularly.
  • Walk or ride a bike to work
  • Get off the bus before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way.

Water workout

Exercising in water helps increase flexibility. You can do shallow-water or deep-water exercises without being able to swim.

Walking

Probably the best activity to burn calories and increase endurance is walking. Try walking for 30 minutes each day. The faster you walk the more calories you’ll burn.

Bicycling

You can bicycle indoors on an exercise bike, or outdoors on a road bike. You could use a recumbent bike where you sit low to the ground with your legs reaching forward to the pedals (the seat on a recumbent bike is wider than the seat on an upright bike).  For biking outdoors, you may want to try a mountain bike which is heavier and has wider tyres.

Stretching

Stretching and muscle-strengthening activities e.g. weight training, use calories and strengthen muscles and bones.  Stretching helps increase  flexibility and relaxation, keeps muscles from getting tight after doing other exercises and improves blood flow. Yoga and tai chi are examples of stretching activities.

Top Tips for Better Activity

  • When you exercise early in the morning, it jump starts your metabolism and elevates it for hours meaning you’re burning calories all day long.
  • Drink lots of water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Do not do hard exercise for two hours after a big meal.
  • Wear the right clothes e.g. lightweight and loose fitting tops, good support bras for women, supportive athletic shoes for weight-bearing activities.
  • Start slowly allowing your body time to get used to new activity.
  • Allow time to slow down when coming to the end of your activity.
  • Using heat therapy with a wheat bag over tight muscles before exercise helps increase blood circulation. Heat is generally used for chronic injuries or injuries that have no inflammation or swelling.
  • Challenge yourself and celebrate every success.