This practical guide to self-care should inspire you to create simple steps to making self-care a part of your daily or weekly routine… But first, pour yourself something hot (Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix with Reishi helps melt away stress), grab a notebook (these Ecojot Journals are fab!), find your favorite spot, and read on!
Self-care seems to be all the rage lately, thanks to social media shares using the hashtags #selfcare and #selflove. But when it comes to self-care, what does it entail and how do we get started?
Finding Your Zen
Now, I know – You’re busy and that finding the time to find your zen can be hard. But if you don’t, it won’t be long before you’re overly exhausted and operating in a mental fog where it’s practically impossible to care about anything or anyone. It may seem overly simple, but scheduling in time alone, for daily exercise, or for fun will allow you to know yourself better and to know what you need, not just to function but to flourish.
Let’s talk about “zen”. Traditionally speaking, Zen is a form of Buddhism that emphasizes the knowledge achieved through emptying the mind of thoughts and giving attention to only one thing. In other words, finding relaxation and not worrying about things that you cannot change.
Start with your breath, becoming mindful of your breathing is the simplest form of meditation.
Belly Breathing – is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips (as if you’re whistling). Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Focusing on your breath has the added benefit of bringing you out of your head and into your body. Don’t try to force your breath or worry about how you’re breathing, just notice it rising and falling. A great way to add clarity to the mind is to pop a few drops of your favorite essential oil into an aromatherapy diffuser (I’m crushing on the Le Comptoir Aroma Jingle Diffuser this holiday season)
Ramp Up Your Nutrition And Hydration.
One of the best self-care practices is to make healthy food choices and to stay hydrated throughout the day. Opt for unprocessed foods like whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, grass-fed lean proteins and a minimum of two liters of pure water. (Santeivia have a great line of mineralized alkaline water products, perfect for the home)
Give Ancient Art A Go.
Although yoga has experienced a boom in popularity, it began in India as a set of verbal teachings on spirituality more than 5,000 years ago. The teachings prescribed a specific way of thinking and acting, which were designed to quiet the mind and balance all systems of the body. The physical poses you picture, when thinking of Yoga are known as Hatha and were formed primarily to enhance meditation. Yoga offers seemingly endless physical benefits, from increased flexibility to strength and endurance.
Open your mind and move your soul with a daily Yoga routine, you don’t have to join a studio per se – there are oh-so-many fabulous routines available online – just slip on your yoga pants (Manduka has a fantastic lineup here) , roll out your mat in your favourite space and let the wisdom of the ancients allow you to experience the benefit of this truly existential art.
While on the topic of “ancient art”, let’s discuss acupressure mats. Also known as an “acupressure needle stimulation pad” or a “bed of nails,” acupressure mats are foam mats with thousands of very sharp, short plastic needles. It is said that these mats can help you sleep, relieve muscle tension, and even reduce stress and anxiety.
Spoonk Acupressure mats have 6210 acupressure stimulation points that, once pressed against troubled areas of the body, will increase circulation and relax stiff muscles and decrease pain. In the process, the body can release endorphins (pleasurable hormones), which induces a feeling of wellness and a positive attitude.
Write It Out!
Journaling can be a great outlet to dig deeper into how you are feeling, grab your notebook or a cute little journal (these Ecojot Journals are simple stunners) and let it all out. Start with a simple daily writing prompt: “How do I feel?” is a great example. Be completely honest with yourself, no judgment – just pour your heart out, if that’s what you feel. Another great way to clear your mind, by journaling is to write down everything on your mind. It really doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. What matters is that you clear your mind of any thoughts you may have. You could write a gratitude list, practicing gratitude is an act of self-care. It shifts your mindset from worry to abundance. Instead of worrying over what your life is lacking, similarly, you’ll find yourself feeling more blessed and thankful for all that you have.
Self Love Soak Up
A Self Love Bath Ritual encourages you to bring the focus back to cultivating the self-care and self-love. Fill your tub with as warm of water you can handle. Add some relaxing Himalayan Crystal Bath Salt, light a few aromatherapy candles (Salt Spring Island Candle Co Sitka will make you feel like you’re in a rainforest) and listen to some relaxing sounds. One of the most pleasurable tools for supporting your body in its natural detoxification process is weekly or daily therapy with salt and water. Soaking in salts or scrubbing down with them feels fabulous. Plus it draws toxins out of the body and lets important minerals soak in.
Indulge, relax, and enjoy… Happy Holidays!
When it comes right down to it, self-care starts with self-awareness. Even if your logical brain knows self-care is important, deep down it can be really hard to devote time, without feeling guilty. Practice telling yourself that self-care is just as important as anything else on your to-do list, if not more so!