The importance of self-care has been buzzing on social media lately and it makes me so happy. Taking care of yourself - sometimes putting YOU before your kids, husband, wife, friend (gasp!) - used to be seen as selfish. I think this cultural shift signifies a lot about how incredibly important we’re all realizing it is to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. It’s amazing what just a few minutes of stepping back to make a cup of tea, go for a walk, paint your toenails or do a face mask can to do benefit your whole being, and therefore everyone in your life.
The holidays are the busiest time of the year for many. Stress is often the go-to response, our body reacting in the way it always has. Noticing this happen is the first and most important step. If you feel yourself getting stressed from being overbooked, leaving too much to the last minute, or from the fact that you ate 7 cookies at the holiday party - acknowledge it, take a deep breath, and just try and hold that feeling without trying to change it. This conscious recognition of a pattern is the first step of unwinding it and therefore lessening reactivity. Like my wise yoga teacher always says, “respond, rather than react.”
Here are a few of my self-care tips that have been quite effective at filling my tank back up. Everyday is different, and consistently making myself stop to take this time is a real work in progress.
For many of us, having even just a few minutes of alone time in the morning is a great way to get charged and grounded for the day. Being intentional about how you spend this time can really help start the day on the right foot. Having a routine where the first 30 minutes of your day is spent drinking a cup of coffee or tea while reading a book, stretching and doing yoga, or even writing a list of a few things you’d like to achieve that day. Having control in this early part of the day sets the intention for the day. I’m not so good at this one myself as I’m historically “not a morning person,” but whenever I do wake up early, I find I have much more to give all day long!
Drink a full glass of water upon waking. Fill a large glass of water before you go to bed and keep it on your bedside table - that way it’s right there when you wake up. And, it is the first thing you do - rather than checking your phone, turning on the TV or doing something for someone else. This is a small way to start your day with your own well-being as a priority!
Take time on the weekends to prepare snacks and/or meals for the week. This may not seem like an obvious self-care strategy, but when we have food prepared we are much less likely to get to a dire hunger state - which rarely ends in healthy food choices. If we prepare food and eat regularly, we’re both nourishing our bodies and prioritizing feeding ourselves! If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail - this may sound harsh, but it is so true.
One of my current favorite ways to spend a little quiet mama time morning and evening is with my skincare routine. Having steps to follow makes me feel more intentional with my routine. As I’ve seen results - both in my skin, and with my whole attitude during this time of day - it has become a truly sacred time. What used to be a dreaded task, is now a time I genuinely look forward to everyday and can’t go without.
Take a bath! There are bath people, and there are non-bath people...but if you’re for them, make them a weekly occurrence. For a “detox bath” - use 2 cups of Epsom Salt, ½ cup of baking soda and a few drops of lavender essential oil in as hot of water as you can stand. Make yourself a cup of tea and apply a Beautycounter+ mask for a real treat!