Ever since the term “self-care” got trendy I think it garners an eye roll from some people. I even do it — when I see young, single people who don’t have children or much in the way of life stress yet using the term self-care I think “your LIFE is self-care right now!” That’s probably not entirely fair either (stress is relative to where you are in your life I suppose) but I get the urge to find the self-care trend a little self-indulgent. But everyone does need to be mindful of self-care: getting enough sleep, doing things you enjoy, taking time to center yourself, exercise, stress-management, etc. It doesn’t have to be all spa days and meditation retreats. It can be simple things that restore our minds, bodies, and spirits. I’m sharing a few things in my self-care toolkit to show you how simple it can be to take a little time for yourself.
1. Essential Oils: I know, I know. You’re rolling your eyes already, right? Here’s the thing about essential oils: they are an all-natural way to add aromatherapy to your life. And aromatherapy does work. It is why we love the smell of baking bread or fresh-baked cookies. It is why we have a favorite candle or scent. So don’t knock it till you try it. Some of my favorite oils for self-care and stress-relief: lavender, ylang ylang, neroli and geranium but there are others as well. I either diffuse them or make a roller and apply and inhale when I need a little help.
2. A Dry Brush: dry brushing is a great way to increase blood flow and circulation in your body. It stimulates the lymphatic system and helps your body detox. It exfoliates your skin (and doing it dry in this way exfoliates without robbing your skin of moisture). It also feels really good. I do it before I take a shower a couple times a week.
3. Epsom Salt Soak: Epsom salt baths are so good for you. The magnesium is stress-relieving and eases sore muscles and helps detox your body. Add a good book and you’ve got a winning self-care combo.
4. Smudge: I like to smudge palo santo or sage to clear energy. If you aren’t familiar you light the palo santo or sage, wave it in front, behind, and above you. You can also do a monthly energy clearing of your space by walking the perimeter of your home, making sure to wave the palo santo in corners of the ceilings and other spaces (closets, etc) where energy can become trapped and stagnant. My favorite smudge bundles are from Catherine Rising.
5. Face Mask: I love a good face mask. It feels indulgent even if you are really only taking a few minutes for yourself. Most require you to stop and wait for 10 minutes and just the act of doing the mask makes you slow down. My favorite mask is the Beautycounter Charcoal Mask, because it gives you a nice detox cleansing without being drying or harsh. I do this once a week, unless I’m in a PMS stage of my cycle and tend to break out more — then I usually do it a couple times a week. And one tube has lasted me a good 9 months so far with plenty left!
6. Moisturize: On the rare occasion I take an indulgently long (i.e. 10 minute) shower and am not in a rush to get somewhere or tend to someone else’s needs, I like to moisturize my whole body in a really luxurious and yummy smelling body butter. This one is my fave. Typically these occasions only arise before I go to bed, but getting all moisturized and hopping in bed means I wake up with super soft skin. And it is a quick way to show love and appreciation to your body.
7. At-Home Acupressure: It isn’t often that I can get a massage or head to a spa but I recently discovered a way to get acupressure relief at home with this acupressure mat. It is wonderful for neck and back pain, tension, stress, and to help you sleep. I highly recommend it!
8. Meditate: Ever since I downloaded the Insight Timer app on my phone and started regularly meditating I have done so much better managing my stress. I am not good at the quiet self-meditation but I love to follow guided meditations. From relieving stress to cleansing your chakra to falling asleep, or whatever your specific needs are, even 10 minutes of meditation can be incredibly helpful. I listen to one every night as I drift off to sleep (I’ve never heard the end of my 20 minute meditation!) and I try to listen to a 10 minute gratitude meditation to start each day.
9. Take a Shower! I know this sounds so simple but anytime you are feeling stuck, yucky, down, tired, stressed, overwhelmed — a shower works WONDERS. Sometimes it is the littlest things that make the biggest difference.
10. FWTFL: This last one is a bigger commitment to yourself but it is also the best form of self-care I’ve given ME in years. The Faster Way to Fat Loss is a scientifically-based way of eating and/or exercise (but it is 80% about the food) that will make you look and feel better. It gets your body into fat burning mode through intermittent fasting, carb cycling, and a healthy balance of progress over perfection. In my first round I lost 9 inches, was down almost 2 jeans sizes, and most important of all I FEEL BETTER (you can read more about my experience here). If you feel stuck in your eating or fitness or in a body or mind you don’t recognize (especially if you are a woman and after you have had children, but it works for anyone) then I cannot recommend the FWTFL enough. If you want to sign up, you can do so here and you can find lots more info on my IG profile under my FWTFL saved story.
How do you ensure that you get the self-care you need? Do you have a favorite method or a “toolkit?”