Hey guys! How are you? I’m going to be 100% honest and say that I’ve been swamped. My husband has been gone the entire month and I’ve been tired pretty much the whole time he’s been gone. MAJOR props to single parents who work full time or work full time and go to school too. I don’t think I could do it. Most days knowing that this situation is only temporary is what keeps me going.
Any other parents have kids that just started kindergarten? I thought for sure that when my daughter started school I would have SO much more time to get things done….nope. I know that if I weren’t doing my massage internship I would have more time, but alas, that is not the case. I’ve barely even had time to keep up with the blog, so I’m grateful for you guys who read what I am able to get out.
Also, much of my time has been spent creating the content for my upcoming journal course, Cultivating Self Love. I’ve gotten the really important half done – actually creating the content. Now it’s just the transferring it over into digital content part. And honestly, I find that part of the process more difficult than creating the meat of it all.
Next week I’ll be sharing the details of this course. I’m so honored/excited/pleased to offer another journal course and this one will be super content heavy. I’m talking recipes for self care, mindful rituals to bring you back to your body, and original affirmations every day. This course is much larger, content-wise, than my last so I’m even more excited.
Anyway! Today’s post is something that came to me while I was prepping for the upcoming course. Self care is an indispensable part of self love. In fact, the more I love and accept myself, the more I want to participate in self care rituals. In all honesty, sometimes self care can feel kind of overwhelming. Do you ever feel that way?
I think for parents and for people who work in the wellness field (massage therapists, yoga teachers, physical therapists, counselors, etc.) self care can seem kind of daunting/overwhelming/time consuming. I know since I’ve started my massage internship my self care needs have doubled. Not only is my brain tired from learning, but my body is tired from massaging, and my energy levels are low from all of the giving I do while working and as a mom.
So, if this resonates with you I’d love for you to check out my list of self care acts/rituals that you can do today.
Ideas for Self Care
1 – Go to Bed Early – How many times have we all heard this one? Tons, right? Well, that’s because this is the number one thing we can/should all be doing when we’re stressed. Sleep = healing. Sleep = patience. Sleep = wellness. It’s not always easy to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but maybe if we frame it with the lens of self care & self love it will be easier to catch those ZzZzZz’s.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, check out my Guided Meditation for Sleep.
2 – Take a Bath – As adults we shower mostly for hygiene purposes, but we may have forgotten how amazing a bath can actually be. Look at kids, for example. Most of them LOVE taking baths. I just got some yummy smelling Babyganics bubble bath for my daughter and every night she is absolutely stoked to take a bath. What would make you stoked to take a bath? Maybe it’s a few drops of essential oil in the water, epsom salts, reading a book while you soak, a bath bomb, or bubbles. It’s OK to spend a little bit on this indulgence, especially if you find baths really relaxing. The key to this one is really enjoying the bath. No phone, no TV, no interruptions. Just you, the warm water, your breath, and your chosen indulgence.
3 – Take a Walk – This can be hit or miss depending on where you live, but I definitely think it’s worth mentioning. It’s not just about getting out of the house or office, but about being out in natural light, observing the trees, plants, and animals around you. If you live in an area where you can be around more plant life than concrete and cars, even better. I often find myself resistant to walking in our current neighborhood because it is so noisy with cars and yard work, but in the evenings when most people have made it home, it can be nice with the evening breeze and sunset.
4 – Journal – I find this to be so important. Even if your day has been one big shit show, write it down! Get it out! This year I’ve actually gone back through my journals and read some of the things I’ve written over the past couple of years and some days read like a stream of consciousness that is mainly expletives. This is ok. We don’t always have to be doing soul searching work when we journal. On the flip side, you could set aside a certain part of your journal where every day you write down 1-3 things you’re grateful for about that particular day. That way even when you have a shitty day you can reflect back on things from the past that made you feel grateful.
5 – Tea/Coffee Ritual – Many of us drink tea or coffee every day. For me it is so habitual that I often have no recollection of the actual process of making my morning coffee. The difference for this is that we infuse this everyday act with mindfulness. Maybe we open the container for the tea or coffee and close our eyes while we breathe deep, savoring the smell of this delicious beverage we will soon be enjoying. Maybe we light a candle, some incense, or essential oil first to make this little ritual special. Then we mindfully pour hot water into our cup, or watch as the dark liquid flows from the pot into our mug. How does it look? Does it smell different now that is has been transformed from leaves/beans into a drink? How does the mug look? How does the mug feel in our hands? And course, tasting….mmmmm…the best part. Savor it, drink it slowly, and definitely, definitely, don’t Instagram/Facebook/Twitter while you enjoy it.
6 – Turn Off Push Notifications – This is…huge? Scary? Freeing? How do you feel about it? I have never used push notifications and never will so I sort of assumed that most people didn’t use them either. Um, I was very wrong. And some of you may be wondering how this is an act of self care. Do you use push notifications? If so, how do you feel when they go off? Like something is urgent, like you have to see to it right now, right now? If so, you may be unintentionally activating your stress response. I know I feel stressed out when my phone is constantly going off with text messages. In fact, my phone is on silent 98% of the time because I don’t even want to hear that I have a text message or a phone call. If it’s not within immediate reach, nothing that’s coming in is that important. Even if you aren’t ready to have your phone on silent all day, how about going 48 hours without push notifications and see if you don’t feel more ease in your life? What do you have to lose? Social media will still be there for you when you make the time for it.
7 – Have a Meal Out – This one is more aimed at people who generally cook/make almost all their meals at home (like me), but are also very busy and/or stressed (like me). We don’t need to feel guilty about eating out once in awhile and we don’t need to feel guilty about our kids not having a serving of vegetables at said meal out. Sometimes everyone is hungry, there are no leftovers, no easy-to-make real food, and the people responsible for cooking are just too wiped. This is ok. If you’re like me and want to cook/enjoy cooking at home, don’t let yourself feel guilty about the night off from cooking (and the worst part – cleaning!).
8 – Take a Class – This can be any type of class: yoga, pilates, body pump, zumba, pottery, painting, wine making, beer making, sewing, quilting, knitting, flower crowns, etc. The possibilities are endless. This could be a workshop you’ve been wanting to do for months, but just never signed up for. There’s no better time than now! What’s stopping you? Are they real reasons, or just excuses? You deserve some quality time for you. ♥
9 – Self Massage – Oh boy this is a big one. As a future massage therapist it may seem counter-intuitive of me to advocate for self massage, but it’s not. I L O V E getting a massage, but let’s be realistic, we don’t always have the time or money for it. Enter self massage. There are literally TONS of videos out there that will show you how to use balls, foam rollers, theracanes, reflexology mats, and more for self care. Many of my clients really need to self massage, but how many of them do it? Maybe 1 in 20-25. This is not enough. Our modern lives leave us with chronically tight & weak chest muscles and chronically over stretched back muscles because of all the texting, typing, cooking, driving, etc. that we do. Driving is a huge culprit of muscle tension and soreness, especially in the back, glutes, and right leg (pedal foot). I have a video on self massage for the upper back, which you can find here. I shot this ages ago so it’s not fantastic, but it will get you headed in the right direction. I’ve been doing self massage for a couple years now and I can tell you first hand it is amazing. Everyone should be doing some type of self massage. If this piqued your interest, check out one of my all time favorite people that advocates for self massage: Jill Miller. Her book, The Roll Model, is fantastic.
10 – The Mindful Pause – I left this for last because it is so important. I believe that infusing our days with mindfulness infuses our days with love. When we are mindful we enjoy life more, we are more patient, we are more forgiving, we are more kind. Mindfulness is self care in action. Not only that, but mindfulness can be done literally anywhere at any time. You don’t have to be sitting still or have your eyes closed, you simply become aware of what you are experiencing in the moment. This could be when you are eating: you look at your food, smell it, look again, take small bites and notice the subtleties of flavor while you eat. This could be while you are upset: how are you feeling emotionally, what types of physical sensations arise from your strong emotions? This could be during sex: the feel of your lovers skin on yours, their lips, their body, what does your body feel like when it’s fully tuned in to the sensation of pleasure? The common thread running through all of these is the singularity of focused attention. This does take practice, but it is so worth it. Mindfulness infuses my whole being with peace.
Bonus: Stretch – That’s it! You don’t have to do yoga, you don’t have to breathe a certain way, just stretch and move your body in whatever way it’s asking. Tune in, drop out, and enjoy.
Of course this list is by no means all there is to do for self care, but I hope it gets you started.
I’d love to know, what is your favorite self care act/ritual? Or, if you don’t have one, which one of the above most appeals to you?
I hope you’ll come back next week when I reveal the details of my newest course, Cultivating Self Love. Until then, have a great week friends. ♥
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