6 Self-Care Practices You Should Start Today
If you start to think about all of the things that you ‘take care of’ on a daily basis, your head would likely start to spin. The fact is, in this busy day and age, we tend to take care of A LOT of things: Our kids, our families, our homes, our cars, our cottages or chalets, our pets, our businesses, our careers (the list could go on and on…).
But, when was the last time you practiced a little self-care?
For many of us, the practice of actually taking care of ourselves is a foreign one. It sure was to me for many (many) years. After having kids and starting the family/life/career juggle, I pretty much gave up on the idea of doing anything for myself, period. It was a rare thing for me to go to the gym or a yoga class, to get my hair or nails done, to take an hour to read a book or even to take more then 3 minutes in the shower! I thought I was being the best mom (and the best person) I could be by taking care of everyone else first. But I finally realized that, by not taking care of myself and doing the things that I have always loved, I was actually not being the best person I could be, because I was stressed out, unbalanced and exhausted all of the time.
So what is self-care? Self-care is essentially any action or behaviour that we love to do that benefits us by reducing our stress levels and improving our mental, physical and spiritual health. For each and every person this is going to look differently (something we like to refer to as bio-individuality!). For some of you, it could be having a warm aromatherapy bath complete with candles and your fave playlist or taking 20 minutes to chill-out while listening to a guided meditation, while for others it may be heading to the closest mountain for a hike, taking a trip to the spa for a mani/pedi or just simply reading a good book (by yourself).
So, in the spirit of the hashtag #treatyoself, we’re sharing our favourite 6 ways that you can start to practice a little self-care in your life today.
Take a warm aromatherapy bath
One of our favourite ways to easily add a dose self-care into your daily or weekly routine is to take a warm, healing aromatherapy bath at the end of your day. Setting an intention that you are going to give yourself 20 minutes of quality time and being grateful for this alone time will help set the tone of your bath. Dim the lights, light some candles and let go of any negative energy you accumulated that day. We love to add lavender bath salts as they are known to decrease stress and anxiety, relieve muscle tension and relax your body and mind.
Do a guided meditation or visualization
By now you probably know that we’re BIG fans of meditation. Even five minutes a day has been proven to have enormous health benefits including reduced stress and anxiety, increase mental clarity, a boost in overall happiness and well-being and increased focus and mental concentration. Download one of our fave meditation apps and then pick a guided meditation that resonates with you. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably, close your eyes and let your body and mind unwind and let go.
Take a yoga class (if that's your thing) or any other type of class
Be it yoga, pilates, body pump, or spin, finding a class that you love is an easy way to add some self-care into your life. The fact is, if you don't love (or even like) the exercise that you're doing, there is a very good chance that you will not stick with it, long term. But, if you love the class, the people and the atmosphere, you will be more motivated to go and the habit will become a life-long one!
Head to the spa
Far from indulgent (although yes, it absolutely can be), heading to the spa for a massage, facial, mani or pedi is one of the most wonderful self-care practices that you can do for yourself. Why? Because, the fact is, we do a lot. We work hard and our bodies and minds are exposed to many stressors each and every day. So it's a great thing to just truly reward yourself once in a while. Being pampered in a spa is not only relaxing, but it can actually make you feel like your best self. So push aside any guilt or feeling that you should not put yourself first and instead think of that hour to yourself as one of the best things you can do for yourself that week.
Go for a run, walk or a hike
The point is to get moving doing something that you truly love. If you’re not a fan of running and you think of it as more of an (agonizing) chore, then this is not the self-care practice for you! But, on the other hand, if you relish the thought of sweating it out while you pound the pavement, heading out for a 30 minute run can be the perfect way to take care of your mind, body and spirit. Our best advice? Find the type of activity that you love best, and then try to do it at least twice a week.
Have a glass of wine or a coffee with a good friend
Your social connections, friendships and relationships and the people you surround yourself with daily have a direct effect on how you feel. Moms especially, can get so busy doing all the things we need to do for our kids, our families and our homes, that sometimes we forget that quality time with our friends is so important to our overall happiness and well-being. So push away the guilt, get dad to watch the kids (or hire a sitter) and head to your local coffee joint or wine bar. And remember, a coffee or a glass of wine (or two!) with a good friend can be incredibly therapeutic, so sit back, enjoy and dish on whatever your fave topic is.
→ If you enjoyed this article, check out How To Prep Your Body & Mind For An Amazing Sleep