Contributing Author, Jenifer Kinder, YTT-200
Everyday life can take its toll on all of us. Juggling between work and home life while trying to carve out time for ourselves can be challenging. This life can leave us feeling a bit ungrounded and out of sync. I’ve learned over the last few years that spending a good majority of my time around other people can affect me both emotionally and physically. We all need time to decompress – alone time. Selfcare is extremely important for achieving and maintaining a healthy mind and body.
There are so many ways to practice self-care. The most challenging part is usually making time to do so. Keep in mind, if we aren’t caring for and nurturing ourselves, we won’t have anything left to give others. It is also crucial to learn to care for yourself so that the people in your life will understand that your needs are essential as well.
Keeping a healthy body means keeping the body fluid.
Any type of movement will do! Some excellent self-care practices include dance, yoga, going to the gym, tai chi, swimming, walking, cycling, running. All of these can be done in solitude. Many times, we like to have work-out partners or someone along to go on walks. Try taking that time to be with yourself. You will be amazed at the clarity you can get by being alone with your thoughts without anyone infiltrating.
When we go through a trying time, or we are stressed out, we tend to push those feeling deep down. Those feelings and emotions then become stuck in the physical body, causing dis-ease (disease). Our healthcare providers always stress how important exercise is; it also applies to the holistic healing world. Keeping the body in motion helps to break up and move that stagnant energy out, so it won’t reside in us and cause harm to our physical body.
Meditation is free and easily accessible if you can set aside even 10 minutes a day. There are many excellent guided meditation recordings and videos that you can find on the internet and digital music platforms. Taking time to go inward and being still can bring many benefits to the mind and body. Meditation allows us to be present, in the moment, with no agenda, no judgment. Just simply breathing and being all that you are at that very moment. Meditation can be a very powerful experience when looking for clarity. It allows our external world to stop and allows us to check in with ourselves and regroup. We connect with our breath, our prana, which is our life force.
Links to my beginner-friendly guided meditation are at the end of this blog.
Nothing says self-care more than an indulging bath. There are so many healing benefits we can get from a simple 20 – 40 minute bath. While traditional bubble baths are luxurious, detox baths can make all of the difference in your self-care routine. One of the simplest detox baths you can do is an Epsom Salt bath. You simply add 2 cups of Epsom Salt to your water and settle in and relax for the next half hour. Make sure to have plenty of water to sip on, as the salt will be pulling toxins out of your body, causing you to sweat. You want to keep yourself hydrated. Try adding six to ten drops of essential oils, such as lavender, for a calming effect, or eucalyptus for fighting colds and respiratory problems. Adding peppermint oil can help alleviate back pain, while tea tree oil can help soothe skin ailments. Make sure to check your essential oils before putting them into your bath to make sure they are safe for use on the skin. You may need to blend them with a carrier oil before putting them into your bath. Another great addition is ¼ cup of baking soda. All of these methods help in neutralizing the acid in your body, removing germs, and aid in overall healing.
Milk baths are also very nourishing for the skin, relaxing, and visually beautiful experience. Try adding a few cups of coconut or oat milk to your bath. Throw some fresh flowers in as well!
Make your detox bath a whole self-love experience. Light candles, put on some relaxing music, maybe grab your favorite book to read while you let the water soothe you from the inside out. Remember, this is YOUR time. Do whatever feels right for YOU.
Journaling is a beautiful way to express how you are feeling without the fear of judgment of others. You are writing down your thoughts, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Journaling is your safe space to be free. Our thoughts can consume us, replaying specific scenarios over and over again. After a while, our minds become exhausted, and those thoughts start to affect our physical bodies. Writing it down and getting it “out” is therapeutic and necessary.
Many of us have partners, family, or friends with whom we can speak very openly. But writing for yourself opens you to a whole new world. Here you are safe and free to say whatever you are feeling. You don’t even have to form complete sentences or use proper grammar. You can write down a thought, poignant song lyrics or poetry. You could simply scribble on the pages. Make sure to write about the good things in your life as well. Writing things out holds extraordinary power. We are spelling out our thoughts and feelings, letter by letter. Writing is an excellent outlet for when you are feeling overwhelmed and have nowhere to go with your feelings. Say what you feel. Feel what you say. Writing in a journal is having a healthy relationship with your mind.
The Art of Saying “No”
Learning your boundaries and implementing them into your relationships can be one of the most challenging forms of self- care. Every time we agree to do something that doesn’t feel right to us, we are disrespecting our intuition and our self-worth. We tend to take the weight of the world onto our shoulders, only to be left with a load that drains us only to serve others. Not to say we shouldn’t do for others or that we always have the option of saying no (telling your boss “no” may not be the best idea in specific scenarios). We must learn to put ourselves first. Check-in with yourself and ask, “Does this feel ok to me?”, “How can this benefit me?”, “What is my gut telling me?”. These are not selfish questions or thoughts. When you are doing something for the benefit of someone else, you owe yourself that same care and concern.
If something doesn’t feel right, most likely, something isn’t right. Being forced to do or say things that we aren’t comfortable with leaves us with feelings of guilt, resentment, sadness, regret, and shame. It can even become a health issue if you don’t learn to acknowledge your inner guidance. We put aside what feels best for us to make someone else comfortable or content. Remind yourself that it is NOT your responsibility to make anyone else happy. Setting up boundaries will bring along a level of respect from yourself and others.
Mind, Body and Soul
Learning to calm the mind and the body can take some time and dedication. It isn’t easy to just let go and allow yourself to not “do” anything. Practicing one or more of the above suggestions will help you get back in alignment with your true essence. Treat yourself as you would treat a small child. Making sure all of his or her wants and needs are being fulfilled, safely, with love and care. Show concern and be nurturing to your body and spirit. Do things that make you smile, double over with laughter. Watch movies or read books that make you cry happy tears. Tap into every feeling and emotion that makes you, you. Nurturing yourself will help you to understand better how to maintain that mind, body connection at all times, whether in the company of others or solitude. No one is more capable of loving and understanding and caring for you than yourself!