August is National Wellness Month, a time to focus on self-care, stress management, and healthy routines. It’s the perfect time to create some new, wholesome habits to look and feel better than ever. When you practice self-care, you naturally feel happier and less stressed. These benefits have another unexpected advantage: pain management and recovery from injuries (such as sports injuries). Stress, poor nutrition, and inadequate rest can all make your pain worse and your recovery longer. Instead, try these four healthy ways to celebrate National Wellness Month and manage your pain and injuries better.
1. Drink more water
Drinking more water is a highly achievable goal and one that has almost immediate benefits. Water lubricates your joints, something that’s even more important as you age. It also helps transport the nutrients you need for energy and overall health. Plain water is your best bet, but you can also get water from other fluids such as juice and tea. Just be sure not to consume too much sugar – any sodas or other flavored beverages should be sugar-free, as sugary drinks are packed with empty calories, and excess weight can make pain and recovery from any injury worse.
2. Make exercise part of your daily routine
If you’ve been thinking of starting an exercise program, there’s no time like National Wellness Month to make it happen. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and is terrific for your mental health, especially when you exercise outdoors. Furthermore, exercise can help significantly with pain management. Regular exercise improves your pain threshold, reduces mental stress, increases flexibility and strength, and promotes healthy circulation – all aspects that help you manage pain and recover faster from an injury.
3. Practice deep breathing
It’s well-known that stress exacerbates pain. It can also interfere with your breathing, and you may not even realize it. When you’re stressed, you may tend to take shallow breaths or hold your breath, which can increase tension in your body and, in turn, pain. There are many ways to practice deep breathing, such as this one: Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for another count of four, and then exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. You’ll quickly notice that you feel calmer and more relaxed.
4. Try massage
Massage is a fantastic way to pamper yourself, reduce stress, and promote overall physical and mental well-being. Ask your doctor about remedial massage or treat yourself to a luxurious relaxation massage at a local spa. If you can’t or prefer not to have a massage at a spa or in a physical therapist’s office, you can still reap some of the benefits by trying your hand at self-massage. Giving your feet, calves, lower back, or neck a rubdown can refresh and calm you and help reduce your perception of pain.
Incorporating wellness into your daily routine is an excellent way to feel better daily and promote overall health. What better time to start than National Wellness Month?