Feeling burnt out and overwhelmed? With the pandemic going on for more than a year now and with only a slight prospect of going back to "normal" this year, it's probably time for you to indulge in some self-care activities to lift some of the weight off your shoulders. In a series of posts every Sunday we'll explore the different elements of self-care: physical, spiritual, mental, emotional and spatial.
We are kicking off with what is most often associated with self-care as a modern day jargon: the physical health and pampering routines. Although it is not the most important element, it is still vital for our overall wellbeing. It teaches us to respect our body by nourishing it, caring for it and celebrating it. It rids us from the the centuries-old imposed hate on our body by the mass media. A healthy relationship with your body strengthens and supports your mind and spirit work. Self-esteem, self-love and well-being are all intertwined.
Things like weight, ageing, clothing choices can carry uncomfortable associations rooted in expectations, and make it harder for you to accept, love and cherish your physical body. We are exploring how to take care of it in a loving and nurturing way, leaving all pre-existing expectations at the door.
Start at the basics: Water!
We often post reminders on our Instagram page to give you a hint to hydrate. Believe it or not, we often forget to drink enough water. We reach or the caffeine to help you perk up and stay awake, drink a few cups of tea during the day, smoothies to maximize your protein, fruit and veg intake (ok this last one is actually really good). But most people still need a lot more water than they drink on a daily basis.
How to remind yourself to dunk more water?
Get a reusable water bottle and keep it by your desk at all times. To spice things up and make it a bit more enjoyable, try drinking it cold, infused with berries and cucumber.
Nutrition as self-care
Proper eating habits are often the first things to go out the window when we are stressed. Perhaps you drop eating almost entirely because of time constraints or lack of appetite. Or maybe you start reaching to more sugary treats in order to comfort your soul.
Eating good nourishing food is one of the most basic forms of self-care. It is essential to give you energy to handle all your other daily tasks.
Food also impacts mood. Your mood is regulated by hormone production, which takes a hit when you short yourself on adequate nutrition. Always listen to your body's needs in regard to food.
Preparing your food can be a daunting task especially when you are busy and stressed. After all, this is why it slipped off in the first place. To make planning easier, take half an hour each week on a Sunday to plan out your meals for the week, so you're not caught half an hour before dinner, starving, wondering what to make. Make a master list of everything you'll need to make for this week's meals and everything you already have in the fridge. Notion is an excellent tool to keep your food planning organized.
Bath and Shower Care
Hygiene is a necessity, but there’s no reason why you can’t max out the enjoyment at the same time! Self-care can include the basic level of hygiene, just as it can include the basics of eating food to survive. But turning it into an enjoyable experience and a special moment…that’s magical, and it really nourishes the soul beyond simply the body.
Scrub scrub scrub all over
Exfoliating the skin cleanses it deeply by removing dead skin cells, toxins and impurities, revealing a smoother softer texture. It stimulates blood circulation and brings more oxygen and nutrients in the skin. The circular massage motions stimulate the lymphatic system. If you are sitting around too much or are stressed, as most of us are during the pandemic, your lymphatic system can become stagnant. When that happens, our bodies struggle to flush out the bad stuff that doesn't benefit the body like pesticides from food or environmental toxins.
Make your own sugar scrub using the Rebel Blends body oil.
- Add 4 table spoons of your favourite Rebel Blends oil
- 1/2 cup superfine/castor sugar or any other sugar you have available
- Mix them together and use immediately. You will feel like a divine goddess after this skin-smoothing ritual.
Oils can be a simple, but indulgent addition to your bath ritual. Drop a dew dropper-fulls of our luxury body oils into the bath to nourish your skin and your senses. You can also add any type of plant-based oil of your choosing.
Going through your however-many-steps skincare routine is also an important element of self-care. But please please please, don't neglect your body. Your skin doesn't end at your neck. Besides neglecting your body is often because you are uncomfortable within it. One way to become more comfortable in your body is to pay it more attention, to honor and respect it. Take some time each evening to gently and lovingly massage it with nourishing oils. We promise, it will ignite your senses and your appreciation towards your body.
One of the key ways of reducing stress and taking good care of your body is getting adequate sleep. Easier said than done! Your mind can keep you awake long after lights out, sabotaging restful sleep, or keeping you from reaching a deep enough sleep for it to be properly restorative. Maximizing your sleep benefit can lower blood pressure, regulate your appetite, and improve concentration and productivity. A reliable bedtime routine can help your mind settle into the proper wind-down for an easier time falling asleep:
- Don't overeat before bed
- Take a moment to reflect on your day, writing in your self-care journal. Try to avoid overly negative thoughts and if you have them, make sure you contradict them with positive affirmations and plans for a brighter future ahead. Otherwise you might become overwhelmed by anxious thoughts and negatively impact your sleep.
- Put away any devices at least half an hour before the lights are out. The light from your phone will disrupt your circadian rhythm, making you more awake when you don't want to be.
- Clean your bedroom and make sure your surroundings are as unchaotic as they can possible be.
Take a nap
There is a lot of discussion about how a nap makes you more productive and helps you with mental clarity. But it isn't always the case. If you struggle with anxiety, trying to take a nap can be excruciating. Recommending naps often assume you have time to take them which many of us don't have. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Instead of napping, why don't you try one of these two, mood and energy lifters:
- meditation: Take a few minutes to breathe deeply
- Light exercise - Yes, it may be a drag getting yourself up and going, but a brief walk outside can clear your head and lift your mood. Part of it is the change in surroundings and the fresh air, but part of it is getting blood flowing through your muscles and breathing more deeply than you would when sitting home.
Rest your eyes
This is another thing we tend to forget to do and a very underrated aspect of self-care. Your eyes get strained from all that sitting in front of different sizes of screens.
Try this exercise as a way to take a couple of minutes off work and reconnect with your inner self as well as rest your eyes:
- Center and ground. Close your eyes.
- Breathe in and out deeply five times, then repeat to yourself: "I am relaxed and focused.I see clearly"
- Continue breathing and affirming for a couple of minutes.