Life brings constant motion and everyone needs their own way to wind down. I find that when I don’t take care of myself, the neglect seeps into other aspects of my life such as work ethic, relationships with other people, and my relationship with myself.
With the new year upon us and a climate empowerment, I wanted to share some ways in which I plan on continuing to give myself the care I derserve. Here’s my any-time list for when I need to de-stress from a rough day or week (or last month woes of wedding planning), need to re-energize my body and mind, or just have some free time to give myself some care.
Power down your phone and put it out of reach.
Nothing has become a greater distraction to me than to have endless information at my fingertips. My curiosity has latched onto answers being quickly accessible and so my thoughts will stray to pieces of information I half remember. Research then becomes too tantalizing to pass up and I can spend hours reading articles and wiki-hopping if left alone. That bleeds into diving into Instagram and getting lost in inspirational photos.
As much as I enjoy learning of new things and people, self-care needs to be about being aware of the moment you’re in. Turning off my phone helps me refocus all of my attention to myself without the jolting sound of messages or the lure of checking something only for a moment.
Burn your favorite candles or incense.
I love candles. Filling my space with a pleasant aroma relaxes me and sets me at ease. Incense is commonly used during ceremonies and meditation, so bringing that atmosphere into a self-care routine elevates the feeling for me that I’m doing something special for myself.
My favorite scents include: lavendar (calms nerves), cedarwood (mood balancing), and apple (reduces anxiety and headaches)
Get yourself moving with some yoga.
I always find that when I’m feeling down, some form of movement (going on a walk, going to the gym, stretching) boosts my mood and eases any pent-up emotions bubbling too quickly to the surface. Out of everything I’ve tried, yoga provides me with the most benefit when finding my center. Its movements require you to focus on your body, breathing, and balance. Without the distraciton of the outside world and my favorite sent around me, a 10-15 minute yoga session leaves me feeling awake and serene.
Find comfort in the 3 B’s: bath, book, & beverage.
The water has always been my go-to when I’m feeling down. Baths, showers, a walk around the nearest lake, some time on the coast – nothing calms me as much as water does. I’ve recently been enhancing my bath with bath salts, bath bombs, and bubbles. Lush is a long time favorite and I discovered Herbivore Botanicals last year. Not only is Herbivore based in Seattle, Wa, but they make plant-based products that are never tested on animals. Their Detox bath salts have an earthy, eucalyptus scent which is perfect if you’re like me and tend to stay away from the sickeningly sweet or heavy citrus scents many bath projects have.
Get comfortable and open your favorite book. As a child, I always had a book in my hand: during recess, meals, in the car or bus, before bed. They were my constant companions. Now, as an adult, I’ve faltered on that relationship and have made a resolution to reconnect with reading. Sitting in a bath with a book is a wonderful way to set yourself up to leave your stress behind and get lost in a story, learn something you’ve been wanting to, or find inspiration. Putting effort and time into myself doesn’t just mean pampering my body – it means feeding my mind with useful, though-provoking topics that leave me more knowledgeable, either about the world I inhabit or about myself.
If I’m not currently reading something, I reach for a beloved favorite or start the next book on my list. I’m currently nearing the end of Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel, which I borrowed from a friend who recommended it. It’s a wonderful look into Galileo’s life through his relationship with his eldest daughter and the letters they sent to one another. If you’re in need of some reading inspiration, I suggest browsing The New York Times Best Sellers List or something from David Bowie’s Top 100 Books.
For a bit of decadence, I make myself a favorite drink. Iced or hot, I choose something outside of my everyday drink to reinforce this time as special. Personal favorites are apple cider or a new tea to warm up and iced tea or smoothie (love chocolate and banana) to balance the bath’s heat.
Make a plan/ list of what you want to accomplish short-term and in the long run.
By this time in my process, ideas normally float around my head of things I want to get done. It could be as simple as what I want to make for dinner or as complex as coming up with a personal 10 year plan. I find sitting and jotting down any thoughts or plans at this point incredibly beneficial. It gives me a direction and action to perform that reconnects me to the world around me.
I plan on taking time to myself this way at least 2 times a month this year, and see where that leaves me in 2019. I hope you had a wonderful New Year celebration and are looking forward to all you’re going to do this year.