Recently, I lead a discussion at The Riveter (A female-forward workspace located in Seattle) on the topic of #self-care.
This subject is majorly trending lately, and for good reason. Times are tense RN, and many of us are dealing with feelings of frustration, anger, fear, helplessness and despair.
It’s hard not to get sucked up in or overwhelmed by these emotions — but I’m learning one of the best ways to deal is channel them into taking positive, meaningful action in order to move forward and create a better world.
Along with taking action, it’s important to find ways to lift each other and ourselves up on a daily basis.
Now more than ever we need to take care of ourselves and spread as much love as possible in this world. We need to practice gratitude and cultivate joy daily in our lives, which rubs off on others and inspires them to do the same.
Now TRUST I know, we’re all busy and as much as we’d love to schedule a massage or spa day, sneak in a luxurious bath, take a long vacation or throw a charity event, we don’t always have the time or means to do so.
Enter in my fave easy, yet totally effective self-care rituals for BUSY PEOPLE. Think things that take 10 minutes or less, you can easily do any time of day, anywhere in the world. You in?
#1 TUNE INTO YOURSELF + HONOR YOUR NEEDS —
When I asked the audience at The Riveter what self-care meant to them, the overwhelming, practically unanimous response was self-care is ultimately about being able to tune into what you need and then giving yourself permission to do so.
As intuitive beings we can sense and feel what we need — but we allow our mind and what we “think we should be doing” to tell us otherwise (i.e. we’re exhausted but we HAVE to go to that thing bc what would so and so think, or we don’t feel well but we NEED to be productive and get XYZ done).
This is the perfect opportunity to take a pause, ask yourself what serve you best in this moment and then give yourself permission to do it, sans guilt. By honoring what you really need, you’re undertaking new practices that reflect self-worth… and recognizing you’re worth it is the first step on the path to taking care of yourself.
#2 CREATE A BEVERAGE RITUAL —
Many times we tend to distract ourselves in order to avoid uncomfortable feelings (i.e. instead of leaning into our loneliness we eat a plate of brownies). Instead of giving into a habit that makes you feel good in that moment but remorseful after (i.e. too much emotional eating, drinking, shopping, etc.) try replacing it with one that feels good in the moment AND after too.
My favorite hack is to reach for a delicious, functional drink (like a peppermint tea that curbs sweet cravings and optimizes digestion or a hot chocolate made with magnesium-rich cacao that tastes delicious AND boosts my mood).
Need help finding a new bevvie that isn’t an entire bottle of wine? Try some of my faves to get started:
+ Bulletproof Coffee, So Fresh N So Green Style
+ Red Velvet Latte + Peppermint Hot Chocolate (find the recipe on my instagram feed)
+ A cup of Vital Proteins Chicken Bone Broth
#3 TRY ESSENTIAL OILS —
Previously deemed too “woo woo” for me, it’s only been within the last year that I’ve really gotten into essential oils — and in case you haven’t noticed I’m now obsessed.
While there are a ton of different benefits to using essential oils, I particularly love that it’s such an easy and quick way to influence your mood and instantly make your day or a routine feel more “special.”
Need some essential oil use cases? Try the following below:
+ Add a Balance or Motivate Blend to your Diffuser (to balance or motivate you of course)
+ Rub lavender on your wrists, on the soles of your feet or dab a drop on your pillow to relieve stress and promote relaxation
+ Put a drop of Onguard under your tongue when you feel run-down or a cold coming on
+ Add some Eucalyptus or Deep Blue to your bath to open up your sinuses and relieve sore muscles
+ Put some lemon in your water to aid with digestion + detoxification
+ Add a drop of peppermint to your tea or hot chocolate (or just breathe in the scent) to invigorate and enhance digestion
+ Rub Digestzen in a clockwise motion on your stomach at night or after a heavy meal to relieve gas and bloating
PSST — The brand I use is called DoTerra, a certified pure therapeutic grade oil company who’s oils are by far the most effective, safe and best-smelling I’ve ever used. Use this link to get a 25% discount on all products.
#4 GET OUTSIDE —
Okay I realize it’s nasty out RN, but bundling up to spend 10 minutes outside can have a HUGE impact on your health and mood (plus it’s easy, quick and FREE).
Try combining your outing with a brisk walk, jog or hike — research shows just five minutes of “green exercise” results in improved mood + self-esteem.
Bonus points if you can sneak in some sun sans sunscreen (up to 20 minutes daily) which will boost your body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D, a critical component for optimal energy and mood.
#5 TRY A DIGITAL DETOX —
You can further the benefits of your outdoor adventure by leaving your phone at home.
Often one of the biggest reasons we feel exhausted all of the time is because we’re in constant, non-stop go-mode. But the happiest and most successful people all have one thing in common, and it’s that they allow themselves to enjoy breaks to recharge.
Take breaks (5-10 minutes) from your phone or computer throughout the day. Snag your dog or friend for a quick walk, read a book, pay attention to your surroundings and give yourself some down-time so you can recharge and restore. You’ll feel more energized and motivated when you do.
#6 EAT MINDFULLY —
Another big buzzword, eating mindfully means being fully present with your food, ultimately allowing yourself to experience more pleasure from it.
Think about it — what are some of the most memorable meals you’ve experienced? Chances are they were out at a great restaurant or around the family dinner table — rather than inhaling food at your desk while staring at the computer.
Make it a point to enjoy your meals mindfully by arranging your food on a plate or in a bowl, sitting down at the table, and removing anything that might distract you from your food (books, phone, computer, tv, etc.). Then tune into your physical hunger levels in your body. Eat slowly, tasting (and enjoying) each bite you take. When you’re full, stop eating. Remind yourself that you’re respecting your body by listening to it’s needs. #self-care GOALS
#7 DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE ELSE —
While this may seem a bit counterintuitive, one of the easiest and most effective ways to make yourself feel good is to help others feel good. And while it’s great to volunteer your time to those in need, something as simple as giving out compliments can make you feel more positive about yourself and the world around you.
When you’re out and about make it a point to compliment and connect with others. Make sure it’s something genuine and authentic you notice (like a person’s smile) or focus on asking someone a question and truly LISTENING to their response. One of the most impactful ways to make a person feel good is giving them your uninterrupted attention and being present with them.
#8 DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE —
So much of the time we focus on the things that we “have” to do that we pay little to no attention to the things we love to do.
Carve out 10 minutes (or more if you can!) in your day to do something simple you love. This can be literally whatever you want (after all it is about what you love) but some ideas to get your creative juices flowing are — reading, writing, playing an instrument, listening to music or dancing, singing, drawing, painting, cooking, baking, photography, flower-arranging, journaling, skateboarding, riding a bike….you get the idea. Just don’t do it to be productive/because it’s on your to-do list, do it because you genuinely want to and enjoy it.
#9 BREATHE BABY, BREATHE —
You didn’t think I’d forget THIS one did you?
Just a few minutes of deep breathing or meditation can calm your nerves, increase focus + mental clarity and lift your mood.
I like this simple and quick box–breathing technique:
- Inhale for a count of four.
- Hold for a count of four.
- Exhale for a count of four.
- Wait for a count of four.
- Repeat until you feel calm and centered again.
When your lungs expand slowly, the vagus nerve picks up on the expansion and signals the release of acetylcholine, which tells your heart to slow down. A slowed heart rate calms your entire nervous system.
You can also try adding a mantra, for example every time you exhale, you exhale tension, and every time you inhale, you breathe in an intention (how you want to feel). So exhale fear, breathe in courage or exhale stress, breathe in calm, etc.
#10 APPRECIATE YOURSELF (PRACTICE GRATITUDE) —
Owning your unique qualities, special gifts and true worthiness is the ultimate act of self-love and self-care. After all beliefs stem from your thoughts, so chances are high if you repeatedly recognize the good in yourself, you’ll start to believe it.
One way to do this is to write down three things you love and appreciate about yourself every day. You can take this a step further and write down three things you love and appreciate about someone else as well, or about your life/day in general.
One of the simple self-care rituals that has had the biggest impact on my life is filling out The Five-Minute Journal every day. It only takes five minutes (obvi) and asks me to list 3 things I’m grateful for as well as 3 amazing things that happened that day. This practice has given me the opportunity to shift to a positive, appreciative perspective and recognize all the things I have to be grateful for in life (including my own qualities).
Okay, that was a lot of good, juicy info, but now I want to hear/learn from you! What is one simple act of self-care (on this list or something new!) you can commit to adding to your daily routine? LMK in the comments below.