Maintaining good health involves more than just a check-up when something goes wrong: the best route to feeling your best involves conscious daily practices that prioritise your body's well-being - as well as a regular body check-in with a trusted practitioner like an osteopath, to help you avoid injuries before they happen. In this article, we'll explore five self-care strategies endorsed by our brilliant team of osteopaths, each designed to enhance your overall health. From improving sleep hygiene to keeping an eye on your gait, these practices offer practical steps towards a healthier, happier you.
1. Focus on good sleep hygiene
Achieving a good night's sleep is a powerful tool for maintaining optimum health, with all sorts of benefits like lower stress levels, better recovery and improved mood. Consider these steps to improve your sleep quality:
Create relaxing bedtime rituals: lower the lights, have a warm bath, read a book
Keep it cool: a lower temperature means better sleep
Invest in blackout blinds or curtains to give you the best night’s rest
Avoid exposure to blue light for two hours before bedtime
Invest in good quality bedding: hypoallergenic pillows can make a big difference to sleep quality, especially if you have allergies
2. Take time to stretch throughout your day
Counteract the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle by incorporating regular stretching into your routine. A 10-minute break every couple of hours will make a big difference to how you feel after a day of sitting at the computer or being on your feet. Take walks and spend time outside if you can, even if it’s for a short while: this not only benefits your physical health but will also give your mind time to relax and unwind - and get a break from the screen.
3. Invest in your bowel health!
Consider adopting the use of a Squatty Potty to optimise your bowel movements. Placing your feet on this small step while using the toilet corrects your posture and aligns your puborectal ligament for smoother bowel movements. This simple adjustment can significantly improve bowel function, a cornerstone of overall health.
4. Take regular Epsom salt baths
Epsom salt baths offer serious benefits due to their high magnesium content. They can help lower blood pressure, relax muscles, and promote restful sleep. Aim to take your bath two to three hours before bedtime to allow your body time to cool down before sleep. If a bath isn't feasible, a foot bath with Epsom salts can still provide these excellent benefits.
5. Read the signs in your shoes
The wear patterns on the soles of your shoes can reveal valuable information about your body's balance. Even wear indicates good balance, while significant differences suggest an imbalance. If you observe an imbalance, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist or osteopath (particularly at a clinic like ours where you get the benefit of our osteopaths, physiotherapists and podiatrists!). Your clinician will help identify the cause of the imbalance and support you with a plan to address it. Simple solutions, like heel lifts, can often rectify these imbalances.
6. Incorporate mindful breathing exercises
Practicing mindful breathing exercises can have a profound impact on your physical and mental well-being. Deep, intentional breaths help to oxygenate your body, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. Take a few moments each day to focus on your breath, inhaling slowly and exhaling fully. This simple yet powerful practice is really easy to do wherever you are and can significantly contribute to your overall health and vitality.
We’re here to help you get to the healthiest, happiest version of yourself, and we’re always on hand to answer questions and point you in the direction of the treatment that’s right for you. We offer free 15-minute consultations with our clinicians to give you the chance to ask any questions you’ve got, or go ahead and book an appointment with one of our osteopaths, physiotherapists or podiatrists.