Self-Care for Self-Love
Happy Love Day j’adore Detroiters!
Today is a perfect day for us to dive into Habit Number 4, self-care. When practiced consistently there is no better act of self-love.
While self-care is a buzz topic that has gained a lot of mainstream media in recent years, I have noticed most individuals I talk to are still confused as to what it really means and how to practice it regularly.
Let’s break it down. By definition self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve one’s health.
To put it simply, self-care is the daily maintenance needed to help our minds and bodies feel their absolute best. This can and does look different for each and every one of us, which is why it’s important to develop an individualized menu that nurtures your specific needs.
When I ask clients about their self-care regimen I often sense subtle defensiveness or excuses about time, money, resources, etc. and I get why. For years massages, facials, pedicures and the like have been touted as the “gold standard” of “self-care”.
Here are 7 simple & relatively free ways you can practice self-care daily:
Intentional Breathing - The breath is the one activity in the body that is both autonomic and conscious. This means that you don’t have to think about it and you’ll stay alive, but you can also actively control the rate & depth of your breath which is one of the best stress-reducing techniques there is. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth several seconds longer than your inhale to activate your parasympathetic nervous system—a.k.a your relaxation response. Start with 10 deep breaths, notice how you feel, & if needed do 10 more until you feel an initial sense of relaxation begin.
Movement - Whether you prefer to go for a jog, practice yoga, or hit the weight room movement releases feel-good endorphins reducing feelings of physical & mental stress, increases circulation delivering more oxygen & nutrients to cells, as well as helps with natural blood sugar balance. The most important aspect is to find movement that brings you joy so you look forward to doing it often. Allow yourself to release any specific rules about what exercise “should” be and explore what makes you feel your best!
Epsom Salt Baths - Unwind after a long day by dimming the lights, turn on your favorite mellow tunes, and fill a hot tub with two cups of Epsom salt & your favorite essential oils such as lavender, black pepper, white fir, ylang ylang, or roman chamomile.
Deep Conversation - Nothing can fill the soul quite like a great conversation with a loved one or honestly a complete stranger. If you’ve been caught going through the motions of life to survive the never ending to-do list call, facetime, or better yet create time to catch up in-person with your bestie.
Meditation or Journaling - “White space” in an age full of noise & distractions is essential for increasing your stress resiliency buffer or inner feelings of peace, calm, & the ability to deal with life’s challenges. There are multiple forms of meditation so don’t let the imagery of sitting cross-legged in silence dissuade you! Journaling or brain dumping at the end of the day is another great way to create a blank slate and release any challenges from the day and/or celebrate your wins.
Fresh Air - Especially in winter months getting outside is key. Bundle up in a few extra layers and get outside! Sunlight, fresh air, & gentle movement is a winning combination for the body to reconnect to nature, rebalance its circadian rhythms, & create more “white space”.
Setting Boundaries - Feeling overstretched & annoyed by all the commitments on your schedule? Creating boundaries may be the best free form of self-care you can begin implementing immediately. Notice where you say ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘no’ & where you say ‘no...’ when you would love to say ‘YES!’. While it may feel difficult to begin saying no without justifying why, remember it allows you to say yes to what you most value & enjoy in life!
Our needs are constantly changing depending on which phase of life we may find ourselves in. What works brilliantly one week, might not do the trick the next. Check-in with yourself often to take stock of how you are feeling to understand what will be most helpful for you in any given moment.
Practice one or more of the above & let me know how they go by sharing in the comments below!
Always rooting for you,