Self-care is a topic that has started to take center-stage in the wellness scene. People are starting to catch on to the belief that before they can care for others, they must first take care of their own well-being. Running ourselves to the ground trying to help others, while forgoing our own health and personal needs, will eventually leave us feeling drained, tired, and even sick.
If you haven’t yet, perhaps it is time to implement a self-care routine in your own life. Self-care can be implemented throughout your day, or you can designate a specific time each day, either in the mornings or evenings, where you solely focus on YOU. Include self-care activities that resonate with you. We all have things we say “We would love to do, if only we had the time,” perhaps those may be good areas to focus on. When we take care of ourselves, it allows us to be able to give more to others. Self-care routines can also help to bring us into the present moment allowing us a chance to slow down, and just be.
Favorite self-care rituals to get you started:
1. Dry brushing
Dry brushing is something that can easily and rather quickly be done before taking a shower each day. You will want to use a natural bristle brush and start by brushing at your feet and moving the brush up towards your heart. Continue to do this until you’ve covered your entire body. Then, shower as normal. Dry brushing is a great way to get rid of dead skin, and stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps to eliminate cellulite by getting toxins out of the body. It also increases circulation and improves digestion.
Set aside 10-20 minutes once or twice a day to meditate. This can be done in the early morning and/or in the evening before bed. There are many applications out there to help you cultivate a daily meditation routine such as Headspace. Meditation gives you a chance to just be in the moment; to focus on breathing, and less on thinking. Additionally, it helps you to live in the present moment, reduces stress, and even boosts your immunity, which are all health benefits we can use in our lives.
3. Starting your day with gratitude
Before starting your day, write down three things you are grateful for and make a habit of doing this every morning. Keep a journal or even store your answers on your phone. Gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem, physical health, and increase happiness. It’s a great way to help you start seeing the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. This ritual will help you to begin your day with an optimistic, even excited, attitude.
4. Spending time outdoors
Make time to get outside for at least 20 minutes every day. Perhaps this means eating your lunch outside at work, planning a hike on the way home from work, or taking your dog or kids to the park with you. Getting enough sunshine on a regular basis is proven to help improve one’s mood. In addition to feeling better, spending time outdoors can help reduce stress and helps you sleep better.
5. Taking an Epsom salt + essential oil bath
Ending your day with a bath is a great way to unwind and can improve sleep. By taking a hot bath, you are helping to remove toxins from your body. Additionally, Epsom salt helps relax your muscles, and essential oils like Lavender can ease stress. This ritual will allow you time to reflect on your life, and mentally prepare you for the following day. Maybe this isn’t an every night thing, but something you commit to doing at least a few nights a week.
6. Reading for 15 minutes a day
Instead of a book you may have to read for work or school, use this time to dive into a book you truly want to read. Block out 15 minutes a day in your schedule to allow you time to tune-out from the world and tune-in to a good story. It can help reduce stress, while increasing knowledge. Fifteen minutes may not sound like a lot, but even doing this 5 days a week equates to an hour of leisure reading weekly!
Pick 1-2 self-care rituals you would like to try adding to your routine first, and schedule them on your calendar, so you stick to them. Self-care should be something that is non-negotiable. Just like you most probably wouldn’t leave the house without brushing your teeth, you shouldn’t end the day without spending some time on yourself. Remember, this isn’t being selfish because a healthier, happier you not only benefits yourself, but those around you.
Britt Martin is the founder of Fitbrittnutrition, a Holistic Nutrition Consulting company based in LA. She is a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Yoga Teacher who is passionate about teaching her clients and community how to nourish their bodies and live more holistic lifestyles. She considers herself a health-foodie who aside from holistic nutrition and yoga, loves hiking, cooking, her dog-child Logan, and traveling as much as possible. Follow her on Instagram: @fitbrittnutrition