Anyone else feel like winter dragged on for a bit too long this year? The dark, dreary days seemed to never end and I found myself majorly feeling the effects of that - the winter blues are no joke. I let a lot of my daily self-care routines fall to the wayside too often and put others before myself a lot.
No matter the time of year, it’s important to incorporate self-care routines into your daily life. I find that when I’m down-in-the-dumps or in a funk is when I need these acts of self-care the most. There’s a reason you feel more refreshed and revitalized after a yoga class or after eating a meal full of whole, nutritious foods. These things matter and make such a difference.
These are also little snippets or time where you can recenter, relax, and rejuvenate - either alone or with others. We have a tendency to always being doing things for others or going places with others, but we sometimes forget to pay attention to our own needs. It's important to spend some time alone and be okay with it.
CARVE SOME TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY TO JUST BE WITH YOURSELF AND ENJOY YOUR OWN COMPANY.
Self-care has gotten a bad rap recently. With people saying “I cant believe you spend that amount of money on a manicure” or “You should act your age and spend your Saturday nights hitting up the town,” it can be really easy to second-guess yourself and start to believe you’re not worthy of doing these things. That you should be putting others ahead of yourself. Well, let me tell you something:
YOU ARE WORTHY OF HAVING OR DOING ANYTHING THAT BRINGS YOU JOY AND PEACE.
With that being said, it’s important to note that not all acts of self-care have a price point attached to them. You don’t always need to buy things to feel joy - this is something I’m constantly trying to work on. Something as simple as eating your breakfast in silence without your phone can be a great act of self-care. But let’s not get it twisted, a good manicure can make your whole week.
I’ve put together a short list of simple things you can incorporate into your days to add a little sweetness into your life.
Create a peaceful shower or bath routine.
This is a great time to become in tune with our body's needs. Whether you choose to bathe at the beginning, middle, or end of the day, it's an opportunity to unwind, release, and, quite literally, cleanse. For me, bathing has shifted from something I feel like I need to do to something that I want and get to do, just for me. Bathing can be one of those mindless times throughout the day where you turn on autopilot mode and go about cleansing your body in the usual sequential order while thinking about all the stressors of the day. But what if you really tapped into your body's needs every day? Chances are they're not the same from one day to the next. Fill your space with candles, essential oils. and music. Start cleansing your body outside of the shower, as well. I've been dry brushing for some time now and have noticed a great difference in my skin's texture and appearance - it's brighter, smoother, and my cellulite has decreased. I tend to dry brush before my shower, but it can be done post-shower, as well. After you bathe, it's crucial that you do some sort of abhyanga, or self oil massage, to moisturize your skin. This can be such a soothing and somewhat meditative practice that allows you to become intimate with your body - your home.
Stretch. Move. Meditate.
This is so freaking important. When we become stagnant, we tend to feel more irritable, achy, and lethargic. There is a direct correlation between your mood and moving your body. This can be as simple as incorporating a few yoga poses into your morning routine before you get out of bed, or trying out a new workout class once a week. Meditation doesn't mean you need to sit on a pillow and stare at a wall for an hour. I find that cooking and reading are both very meditative for me. But, there is something to be said for taking just 10 minutes out of your day to sit, breathe, and focus inward. Often times we get so caught up in our fast-paced lifestyles that we let our thoughts fall by the wayside. Sitting with those thoughts and exploring them is transformational. I leave a yoga mat out in my apartment at all times so I'm always reminded to stop and recenter myself. There are so many wonderful meditation apps if you prefer guided meditation. Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer are some of my favorites. Often times, fitness studios have great deals, sometimes including a free first class! Do some research, put your confidence pants on, and get movin'.
Sunshine cures all blues am I right?! Once the weather started turning the corner for spring and the sunshine showed its face a little bit more each day, my mood instantly boosted. Whether it’s a ten minute walk after dinner or an afternoon hike on the weekends, I cannot stress enough the importance of exploring the outdoors. Taking some time to experience nature has been proven to reduce stress, fear, anger, and depression and increase feelings of positivity, joy, and pleasure. Search for a new park in your area, find an interesting podcast to listen to while you stroll around your neighborhood, or take your lunch break outside if you're stuck indoors all day. Notice the smells, colors, and feelings that come up while you're outside and tap into that. With warmer weather approaching, one of my favorite things is to take a book to a local park, set a blanket down, and bask in the sunny rays (with sunscreen on, of course). Such a peaceful way to spend an afternoon. Getting outside and unplugging from the chaos of everyday life is crucial for our mental health.
Plants. Plants. Plants.
Anyone else talk to their plants like they're your children? Just me? Plants in the home or at your office desk are an instant mood booster. They're beautiful, vibrant, and give you something to take care of and watch thrive. If you're new to the plant life, I would recommend purchasing more resilient plants, such as snake plants or succulents, that can thrive with little attention. Another great tip is to wrap a bundle of fresh eucalyptus around your shower head - your shower will instantly turn into a spa! Plants are also great for improving the air quality in your home and can reduce stress levels. Plus, they're so aesthetically pleasing! My apartment is starting to look like a jungle and I'm 100% okay with that.
Tidy up your home.
When things are out of wack in my apartment, it almost instantly carries over into my life. I feel disheveled and unorganized and it sends my anxiety spiraling down a 60-foot cliff. Now, to the untrained eye, I keep my apartment and things very clean and organized. But I know my space like the back of my hand and if just one thing is off, I can sense an energetic shift throughout my whole home. Creating and maintaining a clean, clutter-free (start the spring purge, folks!), and organized environment is very satisfying and, chances are, will spill over into other parts of your life. Spend a Sunday afternoon going through your closets and cabinets and choose to donate things that no longer serve you. If you haven't worn a shirt in 5 years, chances are someone else could benefit from wearing it more than you. It feels really freaking good to let go.
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
There's a reason you feel sluggish and crappy the next day when you've only gotten four hours of sleep and you're thriving off of energy drinks. Getting enough quality sleep plays a huge factor in our immunity, hormones, and overall health. In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, the hours between 10pm and 2am are dedicated to the Pitta dosha. During these hours, the liver begins detoxing the body and preparing it for the next day. The body also takes this time to make sense of the emotions and mental experiences you had throughout the day. Trying to get to bed either before or right around 10pm is a great way to set your body and mind up for success the next day. Some other tips for a good night's sleep include: setting your phone aside an hour or two before bedtime, reading before bed, having hot tea or an adaptogenic tonic, or practicing some sort of meditation. This can include seated meditation, abhyanga (self oil massage), or simply practicing a few restorative yoga poses to prepare the body for rest. This is a rejuvenating act of self-care that we can practice every single day. You'll wake up feeling refreshed, well-rested, and you might not even need a drop of caffeine!
Make yourself some tea or an adaptogenic latte.
There's something so peaceful about making yourself a warm beverage and taking a few moments to relax and settle. I've incorporated this into my night time routine a couple of nights a week when I have more time. Adaptogens are great for adjusting the body to natural everyday stressors and I incorporate them into my diet every single day. I love to sip on turmeric-ginger tea, chamomile tea, peppermint tea, or this nighttime triphala latte to aid with digestion.
Nighttime Triphala Latte
- 12oz non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon triphala
- 1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
- A dash of cardamom
- 1 medjool date
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender like a Vitamix and blend for 2 minutes.
- Transfer liquid to a saucepan and heat on medium heat until warm.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy!
Delete all social media apps from your phone for a day.
This is crucial for mental health. Social media has the biggest effect on our mood and self-confidence. One moment you're innocently scrolling through Instagram and the next you're comparing yourself to fitness models and self-depricating. It's a vicious cycle. Practice becoming more mindful about the accounts you're following and how they make you feel about yourself. Experiment with choosing one day out of the week and deleting all social media apps from your phone. Notice how it feels to have an entire day to yourself without the hustle and bustle of notifications, emails, or the stress of how many likes you get on a picture. It will clear your mind and set you up to have a calm and peaceful day.
Cook yourself a healthy, nutritious meal.
I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been meal prepping and eating kimchi for my whole life. It took me awhile to truly adapt a healthy, nutritious diet. Ever heard of a junk food vegan? That was certainly me before I started seeing a nutritionist last August. She opened my eyes to so many new foods and, more importantly, the effects those foods have on your body and mind. When I find that I’m getting particularly overwhelmed or stressed, I turn to sugar. With sugar being more addictive than virtually any narcotic on the market, you can see how one medjool date turns into two and so on and so on… This often times leaves me feeling sluggish and bloated. Support your healthy gut bacteria by eating fiber rich foods (flax seeds, legumes, or almonds) and fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, or kombucha). You'll quickly notice that you feel more rejuvenated and energized when you choose greens and healthy fats over a drive-thru meal.
Find your creative outlet and flourish.
Finding something you can put your time and energy into and actually enjoy in the process is extremely fulfilling and joyous. Start a journal, find a new hobby, do that thing you've always wanted but never had the courage to. Maybe you dedicate the first 10 minutes after waking up in the morning to journaling, or you spend some time before bed working on your website. Whatever it may be, incorporate it into your daily routine and let it stick. Set reminders if you have to. Notice the feelings that come up when you create space for these things.
Surround yourself with people who make your ribs ache from laughing or watch a funny tv show or movie. I find that laughing instantly lightens my mood if I'm feeling especially rigid and tense and it actually alters the cortisol levels in our body which can decrease stress and fight off harmful free radicals. Sounds like a good trade-off, huh?
Whether it's a face mask, a phone call with your mama, or getting a massage, I encourage you to do something that brings you joy every single day - your body and mind will thank you.
How do you practice self-care everyday?
With love and light xx