What do you say to someone when they ask, "How are you?" If your response is as expected of most women, you might say one of three things: stressed, busy, or tired. Those three words are overused in our vocabulary today. The most important thing we need to know is if we keep burning ourselves to the ground day after day, it can lead to some serious illnesses later in life. My personal experience with this was in my tenth year as a hairstylist. I was on my feet all day running around taking client after client, and if someone needed to be squeezed in I never said no. In the summer I would always take a few weekends off just to feel like I was able to enjoy it somewhat. By the time my weekend off came around, I barely wanted to do anything. I was a bump on a log. I was a bump on a bump on a log. I would sleep away the whole weekend and come Monday I was back on the grind again.
Sound familiar? I never felt like I was enjoying life and I always felt like I could never say no to other people which left very little time for just me. Me time is the most important time you can gift to yourself. Walking around exhausted and drained every day is no way to live your life. Now, I'm not saying that you should quit your job and move to Costa Rica to find peace in daily life. (Although wouldn't that be nice!) I'm merely suggesting that a quick 10 minutes of your day, or more of you have it, could be solely committed to "me time."
Adding in a few simple self-care rituals each day can reduce your stress, therefore cutting your risk of preventative disease and leading a healthier, more positive life. Who doesn't want that? So, let's start before your foot even hits the ground when you wake up.
Julia Cameron, an award-winning poet and author, wrote an amazing book called The Artists Way. The book was about unlocking your creative dreams and becoming the person, you want to be. Her core concept was to wake up and immediately write down anything you thought of in the morning. Get it all out. Every thought. It's not supposed to make sense at all that day, but the longer you did it the more things would come into perspective. Keep a notebook by your bed and get those thoughts out from the cozy comfort of your own bed.
Stretching gets the blood flowing through the body and helps to wake up the brain. It could be just a couple quick toe touches or raising your arms over head and leaning side to side. Be present in the moment and feel your muscles stretching. Take a couple deep breaths when you are moving around to help oxygen flow to you brain. If you are looking for some more intense stretches, I recommend this amazing book The Genius of Flexibility. It guides you to which stretches are the best for your specific mind and body ailments and uses resistance to gain strength and flexibility. It has helped with my anxiety and digestion very much.
I know you've heard this buzz word around town and may be wondering where it came from. Dry Brushing is said to boost circulation, sweep away dead skin cells, stimulate the lymph nodes, improve digestion, diminish cellulite, and help the body to eliminate waste. Sounds amazing, right? It is! I recommend doing this before your shower in the morning and then slathering coconut oil all over before jumping in. Then only wash your private areas. Skin is soft and supple and you are energized for the day.
Hot/Cold Hydrotherapy shower
I know! I know! It's early and the thought of a cold shower is making you cringe in your sponge bob square pants, but trust me, your body will love it! Post dry brush session, heat the shower up to a temperature you can stand. Rinse your whole body and get nice and toasty. Wash away the toxins from your dry brush session. Then, step away from the water and turn to full blast cold. Get the whole body under there. It's exhilarating! Repeat this 3-4 times and have yourself a happy day. This is also an extremely helpful remedy for when you are sick or hungover to help the body eliminate quicker. For a total body hydrating experience try my daily ritual, Hello glow, Goodbye dry.
As one of the most important self-care rituals, leaving the house without the proper nutrition is like asking someone to put a hole in your head, literally. Your body has been in starvation mode all night. You must break the fast and feed the brain it's proper nutrients to keep your blood sugar from crashing and turning an innocent normal day into a sugar binge feeding frenzy. A proper breakfast contains all the macro-nutrients your body needs to fuel your day and keep you moving in the right direction. Sit down and enjoy it and now you've doubled the brain power.
Or deep breathing if you haven't gotten into meditation yet. Ten deep breaths in the middle of a chaotic day is enough to ward away that crazy outburst you've been trying to avoid. Not to mention, the practice of deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for activities that occur when our body is at rest, countering the Sympathetic nervous system's fight or flight response. Think of the PNS as the calm sister and the SNS as the non-sympathetic crazy sister on the verge of a breakdown. I'm sure you can make time for a few quick breaths, right? If you'd like to get into meditation, I like the Headspace app. It's a great basic introduction into meditation plus the guys voice is swoon worthy and would help any woman go into deep relaxation.
Epsom salt bath
Before bed, melt away the stress of the day by soaking your body in a warm bath. Just a half a cup of Epsom salts is enough to draw out lactic acid that accumulates during the day as we work. It keeps muscles and joints loose preventing injury and reduces your stress hormones. Plus, it helps produce melatonin in the brain for a peaceful sleep. Add a drop or two of lavender essential oil and some baking soda for added detox and sleep benefits. If you are TTC and avoiding hot baths or you are short on time, you could start with a foot soak. We eliminate lots of toxins through our feet and they are the passageway for many organs. A 10-15-minute soak should do the trick.
Turn off all electronics at least 2 hours before bed. The stimulation on the eyes will disrupt your sleep patterns and keep you tossing and turning. Instead reach for a book to calm the brain for a restful sleep. Not getting enough shut eye can increase anxiety and reduce brain function. It is also commonly linked with weight gain and depression.
Completely disconnect from all electronics. Shut the computer and cell phone off, leave it at home, and venture out into the world "hands free." Maybe even for a whole weekend!!! Trust me, you won't miss anything. In fact, it will heighten your senses. You will have deeper, more meaningful conversations, and you will ground yourself. If you experience a small amount of panic at first, it's normal. You are just experiencing electronic detox. Push through it and connect with people, nature, and the small things of life. Take a long walk and literally smell the roses.
A quick 10 minutes is all you need to get started on some of these self-care rituals. Start with one or give them all a try. You will find yourself humming to a different tune day in and day out once you add some body loving to your life. Making time for your health is one of the most important things you can do in your life, especially if you are a mom. Let's be honest, the world cannot survive without strong women, so let's keep us that way!
XO Jaclyn Renee
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