Hey everyone! I know we focus a lot of our posts on self-care which makes sense because our products basically ARE portable self-care, which I’m so very proud of! I’d like to share with you what else I do on a regular basis for self-care, because there’s way more to it than wearing an aromatherapy scarf and mala.
We’ve talked before about the four pillars of self-care and how these are equally important to nourish on a daily basis: 1) Physical, 2) Emotional, 3) Mental, and 4) Spiritual. If I miss nourishing even just one of these areas in my daily self-care routine, I feel like something is missing, my proverbial cup isn’t full and I’m not able to give or receive as much. I’m not complete.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t prioritize self-care, but over the past three years, I’ve made room for it at the top of my list. Boy, am I grateful I did! I’m going to break it down for you and will be writing a four-part series. Some of the items may feel redundant from post to post, but that’s because many of these self-care initiatives hit on more than one pillar of self-care. I’ll list them out and you’ll see what I mean but, first, let’s cover off on Physical self-care.
My biggest self-care staples for nourishing my Physical body include:
Getting at least 8-9 hours of Sleep per night (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual): I don’t function well without at least 8 hours of solid sleep a night and on days when stress is high, or it’s just taken more out of me emotionally, I might need 9 or even 10 hours. This isn’t an excuse to sleep - I really am my best self at 9 hours of sleep and while it’s not always doable, I do my best to prioritize it. I have SO much empathy for those who struggle with sleep … I shared this struggle for a long time, which very much stemmed from my trauma history. I am proud to say that I’ve finally gotten that under control over the past few years by getting rid of my nightmares via EMDR therapy, using the right mattress, pillow, and blanket (this can make all the difference!), taking my nightly supplements via functional medicine to support my immune system (more on that below), using lavender essential oil on my pillow, and drinking chamomile tea. I also like to pray and meditate right before bed, or if I’m not quite tired yet, sometimes I will read.
Drinking plenty of Water throughout the day (physical, emotional, mental): And yes, La Croix makes up a lot of my water intake! I noticeably feel sluggish and lethargic when I am dehydrated. If I’m only drinking coffee and limiting my H2O intake, I know my body (and skin) will take a hit. I also try to limit my alcohol consumption to one-two glasses at a time (usually red wine) and no more than a few times a week. If I notice I want to drink more often, especially when I’m stressed, I will take a detox break. One way that’s helped me drink more is by drinking out of Mason jars (3 cups), I’m able to monitor and actually how much I drink. When I’m on the go, I always make sure I have a full swell bottle of cold water in the car.
Eating Healthy, but not perfectly (physical, emotional, mental): I started a ketogenic lifestyle in October 2017 and am really digging it! Not only do I not crave carbs and sugar anymore (used to be big addictions for me -- and are for most people), but I don’t get quite as “hangry” or starved as I used to. My sleep, mood, and stress levels have all improved as well. I feel leaner, healthier, and more intentional about what I’m putting into my body. In order to help me stay focused, I think about the outcome versus the initial satisfaction of eating something unhealthy. For example, “Mmmm this _____ (insert: bread, pizza, or cake) looks good and I know it will taste good, but I know I’ll feel emotionally (i.e. guilty) and physically (i.e. stomach upset) bad after eating it.” This is a very different mindset for me, but I feel much more balanced and in control with food. That being said, no one is perfect and I’ll give myself some wiggle room while on vacation, at celebrations, or when I feel like I’m getting too extreme and want to relax and keep myself balanced. I often splurge on Keto friendly milkshakes, cookie dough, and ice cream from Leopard Spotted Hippo (all low carb/low sugar and I think it tastes amazing)! Ketogenic may not work well for you - we all respond to different factors when it comes to nutrition. Just do what makes your body feel good!
Functional Medicine: Personalized supplementation and “flow” chiropractic (physical, emotional, mental): Thanks to my holistic chiropractor, I’m learning how important our nervous systems are! In his words, “The nervous system is the communication center through which we experience our lives. It not only supports optimal health and healing, but it is what ultimately allows us to experience deep states of peace, love, joy, and happiness.” When our nervous system is out of whack … it impacts every other system in our body. With his guidance, we focus on functional medicine which is essentially a personalized, all natural, herbal supplement plan based on detailed blood work analysis (as well as stress levels, hormones, nutrition, tension in the body, family history, trauma history, etc.) In addition, he’s keeping my nervous system in balance with an approach to chiropractic called, flowtrition (flow for short). It’s also known as tonal chiropractic and involves very light touch compared to the more traditional chiropractic methods. I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my sleep, stress levels, depression and anxiety since I started supporting my body and nervous system in this way. This process isn’t cookie cutter - it’s a plan developed just for you. I highly encourage you to find a professional who specializes in these areas and try it - especially if you have a history of trauma, hormonal imbalance, or mental health issues.
Exercise & Yoga (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual): I exercise via high-intensity cardio + weights two-three times a week and I go to yoga twice a week. One yoga class is focused on the basics and the other is high-level intensity. Yoga helps me be more mindful, patient, connected with my body, grateful, aware of my breath, and I love my fellow yogis! Breath and anxiety are highly correlated, and I wasn’t mindful of my breath for much of my life. I consider yoga an important puzzle piece for my spiritual nourishment. The balance of working out, lifting weights and yoga in my life is how I feel my best, strongest, and most flexible.
Horseback Riding (physical, mental, emotional): Passions and hobbies are SO important and I went without one for years. Horseback riding is a new hobby to me, as I just started lessons regularly a little over a year ago. It’s not about competition for me - it’s a leisure activity where I can connect with a majestic, beautiful creature. It’s also surprising how much it’s challenged me. I used to think riding was “easy” because you just sit on the horse, right? Wrong! It’s challenging on a physical, mental, and emotional level. There are a lot of similarities to yoga as it forces you to activate your core and pelvic floor. It requires a lot of body awareness and at the same time, you have to mentally relax your mind so you can be calm, connected and present. There is something about a trail ride on a beautiful, sunny, warm day that is the ultimate self-care! Plus, hugging my horses is such a heartwarming feeling. I hope everyone gets the opportunity to try riding one day … or find another hobby that’s a good fit for you.
Hygiene (physical, emotional): Daily showers and/or bubble baths not only feel amazing, but they can greatly improve your self-esteem!. Ladies … I’m not saying you have to wash your hair every single day (trust me, I for one don’t)! But, when we neglect our hygiene, it can also be a red flag for depression and it becomes overwhelming. It’s a big sign to me when I notice I’m putting off showering (ewww, gross right?). The simple act of taking time to wash and care for our body esteems - what better way to show ourselves we care?
Finally, you can use the acronym below to help you check in with your self-care triggers. Many of you may be familiar with the acronym “HALT”, but this goes a little deeper. I know my big ones are hungry, angry, lonely, tired, sad, scared, hormonal, and space. I try my best to prevent and minimize those triggers with my self-care routine. Take note of which are triggers for you on a regular basis and then ask yourself the question: “What can I do to minimize feeling _______ within my self-care routine?”
H - hungry
A - angry
L - lonely
T - tired
D - drugged / drunk
A - attitude
F - fat
U - ugly
S - sad
S - sick
S - scared
H - hormones
S - space (environment)
I’d love to hear what you do for self-care, as well as where you struggle - start the conversation below! Just as it’s important to pay attention to what’s wrong, it’s so important to pay attention to what’s right. Where are you a rock star with self-care? Are you able to practice regular self-care without feeling guilty?