It’s officially the new year, and many people are committing to both the resolutions that better their mental health and products that boost self care. While helping usher in 2023’s World Health Esteem Month this January, it can be useful to take some time to research and discover the types of products that make it easier to increase the self-care habits and practices that support your long-term goals. To make the research process more convenient, we’ve made a list of some of the most reliable types of self-care products to improve your mental health this year. Make it your resolution to put your mental wellbeing first!
Everyone knows that getting cozy with a thick blanket can feel comforting and restorative. But have you ever considered how the actual weight of your blanket affects how relaxing it feels? Specifically, research suggests that a heavy, weighted blanket can feel more comforting while also benefiting your health more than a lighter option.
A weighted blanket is specifically designed to use “pressure therapy”, which supplies calm-inducing amounts of pressure across your entire body. You might compare this pressure and its comfort to the feeling of being hugged or held. It’s important to note that the proper size and weight of a weighted blanket can vary depending on the person’s needs.
Biologically, weighted blankets’ pressure helps put your autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode, mitigating some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a faster heart rate or breathing. This can even help with anxiety, sleep disorders, ADHD, and more.
Acupressure mats are composed of specially-designed spikes made of non-toxic plastic. These pads are created specifically so that the spikes gently press into your skin without puncturing it. Depending on your needs, you can sit, stand, or lie on the mats. If you are experiencing back pain, headaches, or stress, an acupressure mat can substantially improve how you feel.
For example, one small study concluded that people who used an acupressure mat benefited from improved circulation in their back, which could also help reduce muscle tension. These individuals also show more relaxed symptoms, with lower heart rates and slower breathing. Additionally, other individuals who laid on an acupressure mat for 15 minutes a day reported an improved sense of well-being, more energy, deeper sleep, and less pain. Research that included more participants also discovered that acupressure mats can help with depression symptoms.
Sun Lamp Therapy
Light therapy lamps, and sun lamps in particular, can be very useful tools to help reduce the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and even depression. They’re designed to emit light that looks and feels like natural sunlight, although with varying degrees of brightness. In a 2019 review of previous research, scientists found evidence that supports the idea that bright light exposure could help people with both seasonal and non-seasonal depression.
Essentially, using sun lamp therapy means exposing the body to artificial light made to function like sunlight. This therapy has the potential to help reduce a range of SAD symptoms. In particular, sun lamp therapy may improve how your body regulates its circadian rhythm, which helps determine when a person wakes up and when they feel sleepy, in addition to contributing to digestive health and other functions.
Medication App Subscriptions
Meditation is a long-standing mental health technique defined as a mind-body practice where you focus your attention to reduce stressful, depressing, or distracting thoughts or feelings. It can even benefit you beyond simple relaxation; meditation is known to provide a variety of health benefits, too, based on research from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Meditation itself includes a variety of practices that focus on mind and body integration and are used to calm the mind and bolster overall well-being. Whether you’re concerned about a crisis or situation that is out of your control or just need to clear your head, meditation can be a calming and focusing place to start. There are even well-researched apps you can subscribe to to get started with medication. Headspace is a popular and scientifically-backed option that many individuals have used to improve their self care.
The team at the Lehigh Center for Clinical Research is always looking for reliable ways to help people improve their self care and mental health. If you’re interested in improving any mental health challenges, feel free to contact us today! By enrolling in our depression study, you can also see a board certified physician free of charge and potentially get access to new clinical depression treatments, so don’t hesitate to apply today!