Updated: Jun 5
In the craziness of modern life, we often neglect one crucial aspect: taking care of our Earthly Vessel. Taking time for ourselves is a must for maintaining optimal well-being.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance of self-care, particularly in reducing cortisol levels, and the many benefits it brings to our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Let’s begin with understanding what self-care is.
Self-care can be a range of activities and practices that prioritize our well-being. These practices and activities can range from hiking to setting and enforcing boundaries. It involves making intentional choices to nurture and rejuvenate ourselves. Sadly, self-care is seen as being selfish. We have been taught not to put ourselves first.
Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not selfish; it is an act of self-love and self-preservation. By investing time and effort in self-care, we can effectively reduce the negative effects of stress on our bodies, especially when it comes to reducing cortisol levels.
Let’s do a little dive into what cortisol is.
Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone," because it is released by the body as a response to stress. While cortisol plays a vital role in regulating our body's functions, prolonged high levels of cortisol can have negative effects on our health. Increased cortisol levels are associated with a weakened immune system, disrupted sleep patterns, weight gain, anxiety, and depression.
Having prolonged high-level exposure makes it hard for our brains to make rational decisions because prolonged stress affects our frontal lobe. By engaging in self-care practices, we can effectively lower cortisol levels and manage these negative consequences.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Engaging in self-care such as meditation, yoga, bilateral stimulation, exercise, and spending time in nature helps to lower cortisol levels. Lower cortisol levels help relieve stress and anxiety. These practices help the body release all the happy and love hormones which help promote a sense of calm and relaxation, allowing us to better manage the challenges of everyday life.
Improved Physical Health
Self-care practices like regular exercise, nutritious eating, and sufficient sleep contribute to overall physical well-being. By reducing cortisol levels through self-care, we can enhance our immune system, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
(Fun Fact: I conducted an empirical study while in college to see if there was any correlation between stress levels and eating habits, good sleep, and exercise. I found that people who had good eating habits, get 6-8 hours of sleep, and exercised regularly reported lower levels of stress and felt like they could manage stressful situations better than those who didn’t have these practices in place.
Enhanced Mental and Emotional Well-being
Self-care activities such as journaling, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies provide an opportunity for self-reflection and emotional healing. Self-care supports mental clarity, improves mood, and fosters resilience.
Taking care of ourselves allows us to show up as our best selves for the most important relationship, with ourselves! When we learn to give ourselves the best version of ourselves, we can show up as our best selves in other relationships. When we prioritize self-care, we have more energy, patience, and empathy to not only give to ourselves but to also give to others, leading to healthier and more fulfilling connections.
Practicing self-care is crucial for our overall well-being. Society talks about the importance of these practices but often times people aren’t aware of the science behind it.
Our bodies are amazing and with our help can heal themselves and reverse cortisol production. I encourage you to go against the norm and popular belief and put yourself first. When we prioritize caring for our earthly vessel, we can watch as our life transforms for the better and happier!