Make Your Home a Center for Health and Wellness
Wellness is a common term used today to identify a state of mind, body and spirit that most people aspire to. For sure, some things that befall us in life are outside our ability to control, but for the most part, it’s the choices we make that determine our overall well-being. Time travel back several decades and you’ll find TV commercials that suggested wellness could be achieved by smoking a particular brand of cigarette. The wheels turned slowly, but society eventually discovered that just the opposite was true.
Our focus on health and wellness is ever increasing—from healthy eating and exercise habits supported by research, to therapy and practices that reduce stress and increase longevity. Health and wellness have taken priority positions in the hearts and minds of more and more people. Achieving a state of wellness offers 3 primary benefits: feeling good, avoiding illness, and living longer.
Discomfort of any degree or intensity most often indicates an imbalance of some type in the mind, the body or the spirit. Correct the imbalance and, theoretically, wellness is restored. It’s not always that simple, but there are many things we can do to put ourselves in a state of equilibrium. We can control our eating habits and engage in physical activity such as massage, stretching and exercise to keep our musculoskeletal system flexible and strong. We can keep our minds focused on positive, productive thoughts by keeping work and play in balance, and we can calm our deeper consciousness with a spiritual emphasis on meditation and prayer. To achieve and maintain balance in each of these three areas requires a conscious effort and decisiveness to reach for that condition we call wellness.
When an imbalance of some type within our being continues for an extended period of time, an illness can develop. Not all illness is self-inflicted. There are genetic and environmental factors that come into play. However, some of these factors can be reduced and minimized to a significant degree. For example, an air purifier can reduce the amount of pollutants in the air we breathe. Eating organic fruits and vegetables can reduce the amount of pesticides we consume in our food. Washing our hands frequently helps reduce exposure to bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses in the body. Again, conscious choices like these can have a profound impact on our health and wellness.
Along with the desire for wellness comes the potential for a longer life. Throughout human history, the search for secrets to longevity have captured the imaginations of people of every ethnicity and culture on the planet. Although the long sought-after fountain of youth has yet to be found, science has identified various lifestyle practices that promote good health and healing which has led to a statistical uptick in the life expectancy of people who have access to those lifestyle benefits.
The Enemies of Wellness
Stress and Anxiety
We live in a fast-paced world and in a culture that highly values wealth and success. These factors place many people in high-pressure situations that cause stress and anxiety—two adversaries of wellness that can lead to poor health and chronic illness. Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension about something that may or may not happen. It is the body’s natural response to stress. Feelings of anxiety that continue for an extended period can progress into an anxiety disorder requiring therapeutic attention and sometimes medication. But there’s a lot we can do to control stress and reduce anxiety before it gets out of hand. More about that coming up.
Pleasure is a powerful motivator. One of the most compelling sources of pleasure for just about everyone is food. We love it and not just for nourishment. A sizzling steak, a cheesy slice of lasagna or some buttery corn on the cob can start the mouth watering at the mention of their names. Consider the abundance of sugar-laden sweets we have access to every day.
The problem arises when pleasure overwhelms prudence and common sense, which is a very slippery slope. Overeating can become a routine practice leading to unhealthy weight gain. Even before the state of obesity ensues in a person, excessive body fat can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and depression. For many people, and with the exception of certain medical issues, controlling our appetites is largely a function of the mind. It requires discipline. Wellness practices set into motion can work together to help a person conquer temptation and strengthen the will to eat right and live healthy.
Fame and fortune are sought after in just about every culture on earth. Literature is rife with stories about buried treasure, pots of gold, and the power and prestige that goes along with wealth. For some people, that creates a lot of pressure to succeed in career and business. Stress, fear of failure, and struggles with self-esteem all cause anxiety for some. Working long hours with little sleep, eating junk food on the run, taking over-the-counter pain meds for headaches or drinking alcoholic beverages excessively to calm the nerves can also exacerbate an anxious state of mind. Ambition can drive people to neglect their health and the consequences can be dire. As mentioned earlier, anxiety is the antitheses to wellness.
Wellness Practices That Make a Difference
When it comes to doing what’s best for your health, the biggest challenge is usually discipline. How many fresh starts have we initiated that quickly peter out after a week or so? Sometimes we can barely last a few days. Whether it’s a healthy diet or an exercise routine, if it doesn’t taste all that great or make you feel really good, keeping up with the plan is always an uphill battle.
Here are a few tips that might help with the discipline dilemma:
- Work with a Partner: Find someone who will go with you—companionship and accountability can make a difference. Sometimes a little friendly competition can spur partners to press on. After all, who wants to be the first one to drop out?
- Work with a Calendar: Keep one in plain sight and mark down your plans for each week. If you’re starting a healthy diet, lay out some meals for the week ahead and create a shopping list. Buy only what’s on the plan. For a new exercise routine, write down what you plan to do for each day. Then, cross off the days as you complete each one.
- Reward Yourself for Successes: If you complete a week of your diet successfully, have something special on Sunday. Same idea for exercise. Even if your goal is weight loss, keep track of your progress and treat yourself for increments met on the way to your goal.
Diet and Exercise
These are the two pillars of a successful health and wellness plan. A good diet is not just for weight loss. Eating well includes an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. There’s some discrepancy of opinion regarding the benefits of organic produce, but going organic seems to be the better bet. Proponents of organic produce tout the fact that no pesticides are used in the farming processes. Also, they claim organics are fresher from farm to table and that they taste better than conventional produce. Combining that with a low fat/low sugar diet centered on lean meats, fish and whole grains can put you on the path to better health.
When it comes to exercise, some people find it very difficult to enjoy activities such as jogging, calisthenics and weightlifting. But there are lots of enhancements and alternatives to these basic exercise routines that can make physical activity more enjoyable or at least tolerable.
Most gyms place TVs in front of all the treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes. Some of the newer machines, that you can buy and use at home, have monitors built in that let you select a visual program that takes you running through a famous European city or along a lush wilderness trail complete with natural sounds and music. If you have a more traditional treadmill or fitness machine at home, place a TV in your line of sight to watch while you exercise. Having some form of visual or aural stimulation like this can take your attention off of what your body is doing and make the time seem to pass by more quickly.
Gyms and recreation centers also feature fitness classes such as Zumba, Pilates, yoga, Fat Burn Bootcamp, Life Cycling and dancing that put you in a room full of people, adding motivation for you to keep up. If social distancing is a concern, all these kinds of classes can be done in the privacy of your own home by tuning in on the internet. For example, just do a search on YouTube for Zumba or yoga classes. You’ll find dozens of opportunities available at the click of a mouse button.
Massage and Meditation
Massage does for the body what meditation does for the mind. It’s all about relaxation. Massage therapy relaxes tense muscle tissue, reduces contractions and helps to eliminate painful cramping. Muscles that are constantly tight can put pressure on nerves and joints, leading to chronic pain and a reduction in flexibility and range of motion. Such pain and discomfort can lead to elevated levels of anxiety creating a vicious cycle where mind and body are constantly pushing each other into worsening conditions.
Meditation is a procedure where you sit or lie down comfortably, focus the mind on a calming thought, and breathe rhythmically at a slower pace than normal. There are several different kinds of meditation, but all of them have the goal of slowing down the mind, which is most often in a state of frenetically racing from one thought to another. Stress reduction is probably the most common reason why people try meditation. It helps control anxiety and promotes emotional health. And it can have a profound effect on the body. Stress is a very common cause of muscle tension and headaches. Relaxation through meditation promotes healing and helps move a person along the path to wellness.
A Wellness Center at Home
In 2020, through unusual circumstances, we discovered a modified way of living. We voluntarily became socially distanced to address a problem, and a lot of the services we are accustomed to, such as barbers, nail salons and gyms, became temporarily unavailable. We find ourselves spending much more time at home doing our own haircuts, manicures and exercise workouts. Stress and anxiety came at us in a different way, as health and wellness became our primary focus, and the economy dictated our being more cautious with our spending.
Reducing stress, eating healthfully and getting our exercise are more important now than ever before. People all over the world are making their homes into wellness centers complete with fitness equipment and relaxation devices. Sanitation has also become paramount in our homes—disinfecting surfaces, washing hands and keeping everything as clean as we possibly can.
Under our new and unfamiliar situations, reducing stress and anxiety are important steps we can take to maintain our sense of wellness and to help others in our family remain as healthy as possible in mind, body and spirit. There are many wellness practices you might not have considered until now. We have some suggestions that can help you get started.
Relaxing tense muscle tissue through massage can be done by just about anyone with a little coaching. Rubbing the muscles by hand, almost like kneading bread dough, can work out tension and “knots” that can cause pain and discomfort. Start with the neck muscles at the base at the back of the head and proceed down into shoulders. Muscles of the arms, legs, hands and feet can also be massaged. Apply a little oil to your hands to prevent irritation and chaffing.
Powered massagers can be very helpful, especially for the inexperienced, amateur massage therapist. For example, the Conair® Handheld Massager with Vibration, Heat and 4 Attachments does what your hands can’t do. Pulsating vibrations penetrate muscle tissue with heat, which relaxes and soothes. Different attachments enable you to pinpoint specific areas of the body with deep or gentle massage with or without heat. It’s battery powered and operates at 2 speeds. Unless you are a professional massage therapist, your hands can get tired pretty quickly. A device like this can make the process a lot easier.
Another approach to personal, powered massagers can be found in the Vibration Body Roller by Conair Sport. This handheld massager features massage nodes on the roller that deliver tension-relieving vibration to sore muscles. The roller can be used with varying degrees of pressure—lightly for gentle, vibrating relief or firmly for deep muscle penetration. The quartz tip enables you to pinpoint trouble spots near joints or wherever contracted muscle knots develop. Using a massager like this combined with gentle stretching exercises, can help provide some relief when muscles have been overworked or strained.
For a massage that’s a little more like a spa experience, a hot stone massage uses heat to relieve muscle tension and improve muscle relaxation. It also helps improve blood circulation, promotes better sleep and helps manage stress in a gentle, calming way. Conair makes the Hot Stone Spa Massage Experience available on their website. This device includes the hot water basin, 10 flat stones in assorted sizes and tongs to handle the stones when they are hot. You place the stones on specific body areas, and the relaxing heat penetrates into muscles. You can also massage specific areas by placing a drop of massage oil on the muscle area to be treated and gently massage it with the flat side of a warm stone. Use the edge of the stone and a little more pressure for deeper massage.
Massage is great for couples and close friends. Parents can massage their children, and there is lots of massage that you can do for yourself. If you’ve never tried it, massage can become a valuable addition to your wellness plan at home.
Of all the body parts we have, none works quite as hard as our feet. They spend most of our waking hours serving as the foundation between the earth and the entire weight of our bodies, and they take a formidable pounding whenever we walk or run. Modern foot-bath appliances are quite posh, featuring heat, vibration, bubbles and surfaces with rollers that let you massage your feet as they soak. A couple of good examples are the Conair® Heat Sense Foot and Pedicure Spa with Heated Bubble Massage and the Conair® Foot Spa with Heat, Bubbles & 3 Attachments.
The heated water, combined with the bubbles, provides an invigorating foot massage. Slide your feet along the foot rollers and attachments for relaxing sensations from heel to toe. It’s as close to a spa experience that you can get at home, and a wonderful addition to your wellness routine.
An important quality for a happy home, and one that can also help you feel relaxed and less stressed, is cleanliness. There are some things you can do to try and keep your clothes, furniture and other fabric items as germ free as possible. A fabric steamer is used primarily to remove wrinkles from fabrics, but it reaches a temperature hot enough to kill most bacteria and germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat of 167°F or more is sufficient to kill respiratory viruses like the flu1. Steamers must reach the boiling point for water, a temperature of 212° F, in order to create steam. If used properly, a good quality steamer can kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria.
The Turbo ExtremeSteam® Handheld Fabric Steamer from Conair® is a good example of a high-quality steamer you can use to help sanitize clothing, bedding, and furniture at home. Don’t forget, it will also remove wrinkles. The Turbo ExtremeSteam® features 1875 watts of power and 5 steam settings, from delicate to supercharged turbo for more robust fabrics. It has a dual-slotted, ceramic-coated soleplate for a smooth glide, and it’s engineered for fast results.
Steamers come in a variety of styles from the portable handheld models to professional models that operate for longer time periods. This extra measure of sanitation at home can contribute to having a safe environment.
Body Analysis Scales
Keeping track of your weight is important because it’s directly related to our health and wellness. Having a good scale in the bedroom or bathroom can be added incentive to keep your weight under control, combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
Wellness has become high tech. Scales today are more sophisticated than the simple weight-in-pounds type we used growing up. Now they give you full body analysis measurements that can really help you track your progress on the path to wellness and help you stay in the best shape possible. In addition to your weight, these digital scales can measure your body fat, body water, bone mass and calculate your body mass index or BMI. Some even come with an app you can use on your phone to keep tabs on these measurements over time. Such a record can serve to motivate you to stay on track for your goals and make the battle with discipline a little easier.
WW Scales by Conair™ offers a selection of body analysis scales with a variety of useful features. One example is the Glass Body Analysis Scale available on the Conair website. It will keep track of the data for 4 individuals and uses bio-impedance technology to measure each user’s body fat, body water, bone mass and BMI. Another model, the Bluetooth® Body Analysis Scale, works with both iPhone®, iPad® and Android™ devices using an app to record measurements over time. This one has can memorize data for up to 9 different users and can recognize each user automatically.
Having these kinds of devices in the home can help make health and wellness a priority for everyone in the family. Explore the entire selection of health care products on the Personal Health page on the Conair website. There is much to discover.
Spirituality is a very personal aspect of life for every individual. Some people pray, while others use meditation to center oneself or to be more self-aware. Music can be very spiritual. Reading the writings of deep philosophical thinkers can elevate the spirit of some to greater peace and tranquility. Whatever you choose to inspire and encourage yourself, make time to experience it. Try not to get engulfed by the demands of everyday life.
Sound can have a powerful effect on our sense of well-being, especially the sounds of nature. When you can’t get outside to venture to the beach or the wildness, getting far away from the media chatter and traffic, recorded sounds can be the next best thing. The sound of ocean waves, the patter of rainfall with the distant rumbling of thunder, songbirds or the tranquil sounds of a tropical rainforest can all have a calming, soothing effect on the mind. The Conair® Soothing Sounds Machine is perfect for creating a relaxing environment at home, and to gently ease yourself to sleep. Nature sounds can also enhance meditation by filtering out distracting noises around the house. The Soothing Sounds Machine features 10 different nature sounds and has a 60-minute auto-off timer. It can run powered by 4 AA batteries or using a plug-in DC adapter.
At the most fundamental level, the key to living a wonderful life is setting priorities. What is most important to you? Achieving success in your career, providing a future for your children, having the best in life and enjoying it to the fullest, or leaving a legacy for the world to ponder long after you’re gone? Whatever it is that you value most, determines how you will invest your time and effort. Being in a state of wellness enables us to pursue our goals unimpeded by unhealthy factors that can upset the balance in our lives. For most people, wellness comes in 3-part harmony, consisting of the mind, the body and the spirit. Let’s try to keep them in balance and live our best life possible.
1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/images/multi-language-pdfs/contamination_cleaning_english_508.pdf
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