5 Self-Care Tips to Boost Energy and Reduce Pain

Tips to Boost Energy and Reduce Pain

We associate the month of February with hearts, love, chocolate, romance, and celebrating relationships—with another person. As humans, we relish connection and thrive in healthy relationships. What could be better than sharing chocolate with the person you love, right? But what if you don’t have a partner? Read on to learn our best 5 Self-Care Tips to Boost Energy and Reduce Pain

Oxytocin-The Cuddling Hormone

We know the health benefits of sharing life and hugs with another person. Oxytocin (the “cuddling hormone”) plays a vital role in male sperm counts, reproduction, and breast milk production. It’s a hormone that decreases stress and anxiety and increases trust and relaxation. It also positively affects social behaviors related to psychological stability. While sexual activity with a partner gives us an oxytocin boost, so do interactions with friends, conversation, and hugs with human companions. Connections with pets also increase the production of oxytocin.

Oxytocin and Pain Reduction

If you live with pain, oxytocin can be a potent modulator created by the body to boost energy and reduce pain. Have you ever noticed the difference between pain intensity after an argument with your partner vs. after intimacy?

What if you’re missing 50% of the equation? Does being alone or unattached mean you lose out entirely? Incidental touching of a non-sexual nature also increases our oxytocin levels—the light touch on the arm by someone who wants to express their empathy or encouragement or a coach’s pat on the back. Much of our standard human connections — touches, hugs, and handshakes —have been taken away over the last year. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we have increased anxiety due to isolation from social lockdowns, job losses, and social gathering restrictions.

Love Thyself

If you’ve had to endure the month of February without a Valentine’s Day card, bouquet of roses, or dreamy dinner for two, how can you contribute to your wellbeing when there’s no one with whom you can share such experiences? The answer is by practicing self-care and self-compassion. Even for those who share their life with a significant other, self-care is a vital skill that helps us manage stress and reduce anxiety. Self-care is essential to your health and wellbeing and ability to boost energy. So whether you have a partner in life, or not, learning to love yourself is vital to boost energy and reduce pain.

What is self-care?

What does self-care look like? We should not consider self-care as indulgent or selfish behavior. Humans are generally resilient, strong, and capable. But when “strong” and “capable” become identifiers that exclude kindness and compassion, we start to treat ourselves like we are machines. A heap of metal with an engine that runs forever without maintenance or overhauls. Machines and cars don’t run well when neglected, and neither do living, breathing humans. Consider self-care the essential upkeep required to keep your body and mind running smoothly with optimal energy levels. For more on this read What is Self-Care and Why is it Critical for Your Wellbeing? by Everyday Health.

shows title of the blog and a journal with "Self Care Ideas" on the page.

Read our 5 best tips for self-care. They will help you boost energy and reduce pain

Your Owner’s Manual

“Take good care of yourself” is the first sentence in any well-written Human Owner’s Manual. It might also say, “A well-running human who takes adequate time to care for himself/herself provides many years of reliable service and user satisfaction.” However, since humans don’t come with an owner’s manual, it is up to you to write yours. Just like cars, humans come in a wide array of makes and models, so it is critical to document what it takes to keep your unique self running well. Here are our 5 Self-Care Tips to Boost Energy and Reduce Pain:

  1. Love the body you were given

    Does your car frequently groan and say under its breath, “I wish I were a Cadillac?” Of course, it doesn’t, and neither should you. Wishing to be another person or wanting a different body is like arguing with reality—it’s a waste of energy. But there’s nothing wrong with washing off the grit and grime and applying some polish to make yourself shine! Take time to pamper yourself. What keeps you feeling balanced? A hot bath? Getting a massage? Reading a book? Try practicing gratitude for your body. Here is a positive affirmation to try:  “My body is a gift. It is my vehicle for experiencing this life, and I am grateful for everything it does to keep me alive and well each moment of every day.” Here’s more reading from PositivePsychology.com on body image and positivity.

  2. Take care of yourself first

    Just as the flight attendant reminds you to apply your oxygen mask before assisting another person, you must take care of your basic needs to engage in that most human pursuit of helping others. Without a well-charged battery, it’s hard to bolster another person. Do you take time for yourself? Are you getting adequate sleep? Review your self-care routine and make any necessary adjustments. Create one if you need to. More reading from Psychology Today on Self-Love in Difficult Times.

  3. Relish your routine

    It’s easy to think life should be full of amazing moments and breath-taking views. But when exhilarating moments are the norm, they soon fail to impress us. Start relishing the little things—the counter you just cleaned, the toilet you scrubbed, the sandwich you had for lunch, the daffodil that’s poking a bud out of the soil. Become friends with your daily routine instead of being bored. Make your daily routine the solid backdrop where you paint spectacular moments. What little details or moments occurring in your everyday life can become your foundation for cultivating gratitude?

  4. Select your assortment

    When you think about candy or treats, it’s easy to discover and sample a world of different flavors. In life, variety fuels our curiosity and builds admiration, or a desire to engage. Did you know the saying “variety is the spice of life” comes from the late 18th century? It is a quotation from the English poet William Cowper (1731–1800) in The Task (1785): ‘Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor,” according to OxfordReference.com.

    Try adding a new experience to your life every week. To expand your encounters, rotate through the following categories regularly:

    -Emotional (feeling/response, mood, expression)
    -Mental (intellect, learning, logic)
    -Physical (body, science, movement)
    -Pleasure (tastes, passions, hobbies, new activities)
    -Sensory (touch, sight, smell, taste, sound)
    -Social (companionship, interaction, connection, community)
    -Spiritual (quiet time, explore, nature, reading)

  5. Try For Active vs. Passive Experiences

    In physical therapy, this is the difference between having a tight muscle massaged (passive) and doing stretches (active). In language, using the word “by” in a sentence usually means you’ve ventured into the passive voice instead of having the subject of a sentence perform the action. For example, she picked the flower vs. the flower was picked by (fill in the blank). Wherever you tend to be passive, try an active variation:

    • participate vs. watch
    • seek to be challenged vs. being comfortable
    • give vs. receive
    • be curious vs. apathetic
    • eat whole food vs. convenient, empty calories

Remember that the best practices of self-care should not make you feel inadequate, weak, or incapable. Discovering ways to be the star of your show will brighten life and stimulate creativity. It doesn’t mean you’re more important than anyone else; it simply means you recognize the importance of self-care so you can be a responsible, functioning adult.

Being kind to the body and mind you occupy is the best way to influence your mood and reduce pain perception. Thank you for reading 5 Self-Care Tips to Boost Energy and Reduce Pain. Want to read more tips for reducing pain? Try 5 Tips for Living With More Intention and Peace or 6 Ways to Slow Down For Less Pain

About the Author: Becky Curtis

After a horrific car accident nearly took her life and her own long and complex recovery journey, Becky has assembled a vibrant team of specially-trained coaches—healthcare professionals who have gained proficiency in teaching and coaching, many who live successfully with chronic pain. Becky travels extensively to speak about the role of health coaching in pain management and has been a regular speaker at PAINWeek®, and many other conferences, in addition to coaching and managing TCC’s program. She lives in Utah with her husband and dog, Quigley.

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