NEWSFLASH!: SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH.
This week I wanted to share 10 ways that I practice self care on the regular. I know I talk about it daily or show you through my stories or feed, but I wanted a dedicated self-care post because that is how important it is to me.
I used to never practice self care and at times I was pretty self destructive to my body and my mind. I usually found myself constantly stressed out, super irritable, anxious, over exercising, not eating properly, not eating enough, going out too much, barely sleeping, over caffeinated, and just in general ignoring what I truly needed and masking it with external, material things that brought me temporary happiness.
I realized over time, that once I became truly happy with myself, what I was doing with my OWN life, happy with how I felt on the inside, become content with how I looked, how I was taking care of myself from the foods I was eating, to who I was surrounding myself with, to how I was taking care of myself mentally. I realized how quickly a shift in how I felt changed. No longer did I need to prove to anyone my worth because I developed my own self confidence, I began to appreciate my body and all that it actually does (like for example, we, us ladies, have the ability to make babies, real live humans in our bodies wtf!, this still amazes me every single day, so I want to treat this with respect because we only have ONE), I started to feel less anxious, I was sleeping better, my digestion improved, things started to just roll off my back more and I could go with the flow, and I was just all around more grateful for everyday moments and life, even on "bad body days" or days I was just in a funk. These self care techniques would help bring me out of those moments.
I began to develop more of an appreciation for my mind, my body and understood the importance of taking care of oneself. I don’t find the need to push myself and run 13 miles anymore or go to the gym for 2 hours at a time (I am not saying that this is bad, but this isn’t for me, if this brings you pure joy then go for it!). What I am saying is that, my body was already completely stressed out, over tired, anxious, and under cared for it needed some love and by working out intensely continued to stress out my body, raising my cortisol levels, and completely inflaming my body. I needed rest, soothing activities; quite simply; a change. Implementing these daily self care routines in my life regularly gave it just that!
My mind and body were acting as two and they needed to be connected and I truly believe that focusing on practicing self care regularly and finding internal happiness, a happiness within yourself, making no excuses, the two can work in harmony and be in sync with one another. For me, doing things that make my mind strong are more important, when you are mentally tough you can accomplish, do, and succeed in anything. I welcome rest days when my body craves it upon waking instead of dragging myself to a yoga class or re-schedule a date with a friend if mentally I am not OK. Remember, it is OK, to not be OK, all of the time. I listen to the signals my body sends my mind in regards to what it needs to eat that day and listen, even in terms of how much. Your body is smart and so are you. It tells you things. I think that developing self care routines into your daily life will help you achieve that and become more attune with what it is you need on the reg!
Here are 10 days that I practice self care daily and I hope that some of them inspire you to start or to incorporate into your own life!
1. Epsom Salt Baths: If you could add one thing in your life, I hope it is this! While, I would love to say that I take one every single night, I strive to take them 4 times a week. Trust me on this, you will notice a difference in your sleeping, your anxiety, the way your body feels, you’ll feel calm, less inflamed, your digestion will improve and completely appreciate your body the more and more you take one. Why? The epsom salts, break down into magnesium and sulfate in the water and then get into your body through your skin. Magnesium, for me is great personally speaking because it helps with my headaches/migraines, helps keep me regular, improves my digestion, and helps with my mood (I’ve been taking magnesium supplements for years now). In a epsom salt bath, you can replenish your body with any magnesium it might be missing: you’ll ease stress, promote a more restful sleep, detoxify your body, and reduce any type of muscle pain- just to name a few! I love to take a pretty warm bath, although I’ve heard that if it is too hot it can be hard on our skin, but I find that the warmer the bath, the better I sleep and the more detoxified I feel. I fill the bath with about 1-2 cups of the salts and soak for about 30 to 40 minutes. To make the time pass, I usually listen to music, read a book, (no phone!), face masks (I love the Frank and Whit face masks and scrubs/ code balancewithb for 20% off), or completely chill the __ out. I take them in the evenings right before I am heading to bed, after I have eaten dinner, watched a few TV shows, and completed my work for the day. When the bath is over, I drink some water, and head straight to bed! It honestly makes me pretty tired and at this point I am ready to sleep!
2. Regular movement: I make it a point to schedule in my work outs for the week, BUT I wake up each day deciding what I want to do that day depending on how I feel. Normally, my exercises consistent of walking, swimming, and hot yoga. This is what I love and this is what I stick to. My body does not respond well to high intensity workouts as it once did and it isn’t what it craves anymore. I finally figured out what works for me mentally and physically and I stick to it! Plus, hot yoga is hard! Mentally and physically. I also do not stress out or become anxious if I miss a day of exercising or even 2 or 3 in a row! Mentally, I love being able to move, but if I am physically exhausted and I have to force myself to go, chances are I need a complete rest day. I take it, knowing I will be that much stronger the next day. I’ve realized that sometimes the MORE I workout the more stressed out my body is, the more inflamed it becomes, the less I sleep, and the more anxious I am! Just as with eating, you have to find a balance with working out.
3. Walking: I like to think of these daily walks as my mental breaks. I try to take them every single day, sometimes I walk over an hour around my city or when I am at home before I get my day started in the morning or sometimes it’s just 15 minutes, or 30 minutes after dinner. Fresh air, sunshine, moving, listening to music, and just being alone with my thoughts seriously can cure many things and make you feel a little more rejuvenated. I’ve also noticed that my digestion has improved just from moving every day, my mood improves greatly, and I just generally feel so much better from getting outside once a day, feeling the sun on my face and soaking up some fresh air. If you work in an office, walk during your lunch break, walk to and from work if possible, or take a few 5 minute walk breaks throughout the day. These daily walks help me take a step back, recharge, breath, and just take mental breaks during the day!
4. Make your to do list, before you go to bed: This one is simple! Each night before I go to bed, I write out my to do list for the next day. This list doesn’t have to be set in stone either, it can be a guide for you. I do this to get all of my racing thoughts out of my head about what I ‘need’ to do that is going to prevent me from sleeping. Sometimes when you write it all down on paper, it doesn’t always seem as overwhelming OR it can allow you to see how you can break down each little thing that you need to do and that you actually CAN accomplish what you need to do! Then, when you wake up, you know exactly what you want to do for the day and aren’t wasting time trying to figure out what needs to get done. Time management can be key in reducing your stress and this also helps me work more efficiently.
5. Buy yourself flowers: I'll be the first to admit, I am not a girly- girl and I've never been the type to want someone to buy me flowers, even when in a relationship! What I will say, is that flowers certainly are gorgeous, brighten up any room in your house/apartment and put a smile on your face the moment you walk in. They smell amazing, are cheerful, emit feelings of happiness, colorful, and are there is nothing you can't love about them! I buy them a few times a week, keep them in my kitchen where I work and in my bathroom!
6. Develop and establish a morning and a nighttime routine. I will write a dedicate post for each of these in the next week or so, sharing mine, but this is important! For a nighttime routine, it can be as simple as taking a epsom salt bath, packing your lunch for the next day or gathering your things for work the night before, or signing up for a work out class with a friend. These types of things will make you feel less stressed and rushed in the morning, keep your mind at ease and allow you to have a restful night sleep. In the morning you could stretch for 10 minutes, drink warm lemon water before you do anything, walk, take a yoga class etc! I like to try to have a set number of things that I like to do each morning and night but realistically make sure I do a few of them that I know will put me at ease and make for more a productive day, less stressful too!
7. Eat with a positive attitude and mindset: This might sound out of the ordinary and a no-brainer, but seriously! How many times have you thought about what you were going to eat before you ate it, wondering if it will bother your stomach, make you feel sick, make you feel bloated, or thought that you shouldn't eat it because of this or that reason. I know that whenever I think that this certain food is going to wreck havoc on my already extremely sensitive stomach, chances are it will. However, when I just eat and not think twice, have no attachment or thought to any food, guess what, I tend to feel completely fine. Sometimes so much time is wasted on thinking about what we are going to eat or what we are not going to eat and that can stress out our bodies so much; when that happens to me, I become so inflamed and my digestive system becomes out of sync and it feels that I am intolerant to all foods! Eating freely, eating positively, and eating what your body is craving can truly do wonders for you mentally and physically. Try to stress less about what you are eating, eat foods that will nourish your body, make you stronger, make you feel good physically and mentally, but foods that are also good for the soul.
8. Warming drinks: I *try* to drink a warming drink every single day, even when it's hot outside! I love my turmeric milks once a day; I keep them plain at night but in the morning I love adding dark chocolate or raw cacao powder. They sooth my stomach, my mind, my whole system, and make me feel really dam good! BUT, maybe you aren't into these; and maybe you love a good matcha, coffee, or something else! I love coffee, but it doesn't always agree with me, so I am picky about it, but if you can tolerate it, then go for it! I also try and have these drinks with no distractions so I can fully relax for a few minutes!
9. Family/Friends/Social: We all get caught up in our own lives and it can be so hard to make time for our family, friends, or significant others. You cancel once and then it becomes a continuous cycle. Working from home, I realized how important it was for me to get out and see friends, even if it is for walks, coffee, a yoga class, a drink, or a quick lunch. I made a pact with myself that I needed to see friends at least 2 times during the week and once on the weekend. Sometimes, it sounds pathetic that you have to schedule in times with friends and your family and it just doesn't happen naturally, but after working all day, trying to fit in a workout class, being stressed out, being tired, sometimes the last thing you want to do is socialize and all you want to do is sit on your couch and stare into space. I get it. BUT, part of taking care of yourself doesn't always involve food and moving your body, it is being social and being with people you want to be with; having fun!
10. IF ALL ELSE FAILS DANCE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR TO YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC. Honestly. I really don't know how you can't get much happier than that if you are feeling stressed out, physically and mentally; and hey, you'll get in a little exercise too! This always makes me happy, makes me get off my couch when I need to take a break or if I need blow off some steam, I just dance! Taking care of yourself doesn't always involve food, it is moving your body too! Do it!
I hope that some of these inspire you to add into your routines or you start your own daily self care practices! I'd love to hear what you all do! xx