Dr. Lin NEXUS HEALTHCARE dishes on the importance of Self Care - Irvine Moms


The winter holiday season – for a lot of us it’s our favorite time of year. We’re looking forward to dinner parties, vacation, family gatherings, gifts, and sweet, sweet holiday sales events. Of course, we also get the stress of scheduling parties, traveling, dealing with relatives and awkward social situations, trying to stay on budget for gifts and shopping! Before we know it we get sucked into a miasma of holiday planning and to-do lists, and despite being flooded by ads depicting holiday cheer, many of us wake up tired, drained, and wondering how we let all this stress creep up on us.


And it’s not your fault! Since the late 1980s, researchers in psychology have developed a theory of cognitive load. It theorizes that the more effort it takes for us to remember something, the less we are able to utilize that information for reasoning and decision making. Also, our short term memory has a limit to how many units of information we can recall! For example, memorizing a phone number. It’s difficult enough nowadays given that we tend to just rely on our smartphone contacts list, but trying to remember ten digits while your kids are screaming, or your neck and head hurts, and you’ve got multiple tabs open in your browser to check airplane ticket prices, and chances are you’ll only remember the area code. More things going on during the holiday season means higher cognitive load, and thus it’s easy to feel like the more we do, the less we get done.


So what can we do? Enter self-care. Take a minute out of your day to check in with how your body, physically and mentally, is doing. You can ask yourself:


  • Do I have any aches and pains?

    • Does my body feel “off”, and if so is it the right side, left side, upper body or lower body?

  • How high or low is my energy level?

    • Am I sleeping well through the night?

    • Do I feel rested after waking up?

  • Am I more emotionally stressed this week compared to last week?

We can’t decrease the cognitive load coming from external sources, but we can decrease the cognitive load coming from our own body, and awareness of a problem is always the first step towards a solution. The quick fix might be as easy as getting back to your exercise routine, or 10 minutes doing something you enjoy to relax. Chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical therapy are also great to relieve physical aches and pains, while acupuncture can help with both physical and emotional stressors. Acupuncture needles are very thin, less than 0.2mm diameter, and upon insertion create put pressure on the body just like a massage therapist’s thumb during a massage. Acupuncturists are essentially forcing your body to unconsciously relax, so you don’t increase your cognitive load – the practitioner will do all the work for you.


So if you’re feeling particularly drained this season, remember to just check in with yourself and treat yourself! Dr. Lin





Photo Credit: Irina Popa

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