Happy Valentine’s Day! Although every day should be about love, sharing, giving, and cherishing the people in our world who we care about. But in order to care for others (I have learned this more and more while growing in my adult life) it is so vital to care of yourself first. We can only give our best to the world once we feel our best – it makes sense, right?
So this Valentine’s Day, let’s make it special by giving some attention to our body, mind and spirit. I will share 10 simple self-care tips that you can do any time, whether it’s to wind down from a long week or to rejuvenate yourself on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. And all of these things are economically-friendly, so you don’t need to book a day at the spa in order to have some “me time” to relax. Also, anyone can do these things and in fact everyone should – these tips are not tailored just for women. Men also need to take time out for their well-being!
Some of these tips I do daily, while others I have to make a little effort and find a little time to do on a weekly basis. But it helps to balance my attitude and refresh my energy, which is completely worth it.
1) Get a Good Night’s Sleep
They say it’s important to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night so that you can function better the next day. For majority of my years in university, I was definitely only getting about 4-6 hours of sleep with many all-nighters thrown in as well. But I can’t imagine doing that now. Our brains and our body need a good night’s sleep to find the drive for the next day. Lack of sleep will always effect our moods and push our limits. Plus, you will always feel much better the next morning after some good rest. So, try to get in those 8 hours every night and sleep as early as possible.
2) Full Body Stretch in the Morning
Do you stretch in the morning right after you wake up? Although many of us these days are involved in some sort of fitness routine, we usually tend to underestimate the power of stretching. Having a full body stretch right in the morning not only sets the tone for the day, but also it can feel as good as a full body massage!
I’m trying to incorporate this habit in my daily routine because I can feel such a difference throughout the days when I do it. I try to do about 15 minutes of stretches from head to toe and then another 15-20 minutes of simple yoga poses that I feel my body needs. Rather than taking yoga as a form of exercise, I practice the poses that I feel are needed for me at that time and take it very slow rather than rushing it …. (as yoga was intended to be practiced). Try it and see how you feel!
3) Creative Zone-Out
By this I mean finding some time in the evening to infuse creativity in your life. Whether you’re a creative person or not, you can do some simple activities that inspire your brain and gets you excited. This can take many forms – be it painting, singing, dancing, or even simpler tasks such as reading a novel, or DIY handcrafts – but the point is to take that time slot to expand your perspective and push you out of your comfort zone. When I read a book, I feel completely zoned out from my own life and put in a new atmosphere, living the life of those characters. Find your creative interest and give it an hour of your time to let it move you.
4) Facial Mask, Hair Mask, all the masks…
Don’t get tricked by the heading, brothers… this also applies to you! I personally use a facial mask twice a week and hair mask once a week (all natural, of course). Applying masks not only aids toward healthy skin or healthy hair but also the process of it is so very relaxing… I have to admit, I was never really into masks or just skincare/haircare in general for most of my life. But in the recent couple of years, I’ve been trying to improve this habit and really its the process that makes me look forward to it each week.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on this step either. There are plenty of DIY homemade masks that can be made with ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Do some research on YouTube and try different methods that may suit your needs!
5) Eat a lot of Fruits & Veggies
I may be sounding like your mother when I say this, but really, it’s the truth! Eating a lot of fruits and veggies on a daily basis is so good for your body and your mind. Fruits give so much energy and have a magical gift of lifting your mood.
I never paid so much attention to fruits before but ever since I’ve been living in Brazil where I’m still learning about new fruits I never knew existed, I realize how magical they can be. They’ve improved my immune system drastically compared to how I was in Canada! Instead of eating junk food that may taste good in the moment but can crash your mood after an hour, try to replace that more with fruits or smoothies. Adding veggies to your smoothies is also a great way to get it in your diet without actually dealing with it’s taste!
6) Drink More Water
As you probably already know, our bodies are made up of 65% water… which means it needs to be hydrated through out the day… a lot! Water is a great source of detox and you can even play around with it by using different infusions to change the taste. Generally in the hotter days of the year, I infuse my water with lemon and mint – that takes the experience of “refreshing” to a whole new level.
7) Go for a Walk in Nature
Walking is great for your body and it works best for everybody regardless of any health issues you may have. Walking in nature, on the other hand, pushes you to absorb more of the world around you. Even if you’re living in the city, you can walk laps in the nearby park or find some trails close to your neighbourhood. Living in Toronto a few years a ago, I used to take a good 40 minute walk during lunch hour to a park that was close to my office. You can always find time to be in nature, and nature will always give back more to you than you may expect.
8) Take Up a New Hobby
Other than finding a creative outlet, it’s also nice to find a hobby you can do every now and then – maybe even on a weekly basis. Hobbies are great for personal development but also a form of self-care because you nurture your desires. For me, I’ve taken up gardening. In our small studio apartment, I’ve created a balcony garden with flowers, plants and herbs. It’s been a wonderful outlet for me to slow down the pace of my everyday activities. It’s relaxing, peaceful, and joy-giving… especially when I see the plants thriving or new flowers blooming.
9) Create a Healthy, Relaxing Atmosphere
We can’t run away from our daily responsibilities. And even if we truly enjoy what we are doing (which is an amazing thing in itself to be happy with your work and your routine), we can still feel moments of exhaustion or stress at the end of the day. So to help release that burden on your shoulder for the time-being, you can create a healthy and relaxing atmosphere around you.
Try aromatherapy with a diffuser and essential oils in the night, or change your cup of coffee to a herbal tea that day. Things that often nourish your emotional and psychological well-being can also release physical stress as well. Don’t take your mental health lightly – do what you can to lighten up your atmosphere. Go for a swim, a bike-ride, or even meet up with a close friend for a conversation at a local bakery. Destress when you can, as much as you can.
I have been practicing Sahaja Yoga Meditation since I was 13 years old and without a doubt I can say it is the sole reason for who I am today. Sahaja Yoga has opened up a way of life for me where I can easily take a step back and see the greater purpose rather than the mundane. Meditation allows oneself to be detached from internal thoughts and running minds, to be in a state of thoughtless awareness, which in turn opens up an entire domain within you. Self-care can only be possible when you have a connection and deeper understanding to who the “self” actually is. This quote by C.S. Lewis sums it up quite well:
You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
Try it out yourself by visiting freemeditation.com. Sahaja Yoga is an international organization so you most likely can find a class – completely free of charge – near you.
And with that, I wish you Peace & Love, as always! ♥