Self-care means something a little different to each of us. For some, it looks like green juice after a heart-pumping barre class, and for others, it may look like curling up on the couch with a cup of herbal tea for some much needed R&R. While it seems like what constitutes “self-care” is constantly shifting, its core principle has remained unchanged: self-care is the act of intentionally giving to ourselves in a way that supports our mental and physical well-being so that we can more freely give back to others.
No matter what your life looks like, self-care is always available to you. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, it just needs to be authentic to who you are and what you are seeking from it.
Whether you are already a self-care junkie or have yet to figure out a way to incorporate it into your weekly routine, getting started with new self-care rituals is simple. Here are five no-hassle, affordable ways to add self-care to your week that you can do any time, any place!
Practice Self Care with Yoga
It’s no secret that yoga has the capacity to transform. By combining the elements of breath, posture, and movement, practicing yoga allows us to connect with ourselves as a whole. Yoga allows us to escape the stories in our heads and drop directly into the present moment. Through yoga, we get to experience ourselves as we are in the here and now, without judgment.
When we practice yoga for self-care, we are able to change our perception – when we step onto the mat, we can instantly shift our mindset from a place of lack and scarcity into one of abundance, optimism, and peace. We are able to rewrite the tired old narratives that brought us to a state of fear and overwhelm and replace them with ones of peace, stability, and joy.
Yet too many of us get trapped inside the narrative that yoga is supposed to look and feel a certain way – we need a full hour and the sanctity of the studio walls to feel like we are doing it “right”. The reality couldn’t be farther from this. In fact, something as simple as a quick 20-minute yoga practice can work to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and even boost energy and focus.
While there are many different ways to practice yoga, the power of a morning yoga routine to prepare the body and mind for the day ahead is an incredible way to add some quality self-care into your daily life. A quick morning yoga session will not only help you build strength, flexibility, and balance in your physical body, but it can also have a major positive impact on your mental health as well. Starting the day this way is a profound act of self-love that will spill over into all areas of your life – pick your next fresh FLOW here and get ready to feel the transformation!
Meditation as a Self-Care
Meditation is how we cultivate presence and calm. It is how we disconnect from the outside world long enough to tap into who and what we really are. When we are present, we allow ourselves to see the truth. In stillness, we are finally able to hear the voice inside of us–our intuition, our authentic self, the real us.
Meditation is becoming more and more mainstream for a reason; research suggests that practicing some form of meditation can be responsible for lowering blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and even insomnia. Additionally, meditation is incredibly accessible, all you need is yourself and a quiet place to just be.
For some of us, the concept of stillness might not seem like self-care at all. When you’ve been conditioned to always do, sitting in stillness can feel unproductive or downright uncomfortable at first. But the reality is, we have to clear out space in our minds for new things to come in. To allow ourselves to receive, we must be willing to push past the initial discomfort of being faced with our own-ness.
Getting started with meditation doesn’t need to be complicated. Try finding a quiet corner in your home and taking a comfortable seat. Start by closing your eyes and placing one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths feeling into the sensation of your belly and chest expanding in your hands. Now, focusing only on your breath, sit in stillness for however long you like. It is okay to start with just a minute or two and slowly work your way up from there. Just like every other muscle in your body, your mind needs training, too!
To spice up your meditation practice, try incorporating a few ritual items to enhance your experience. Burning some sustainably sourced palo santo is a great way to cleanse your meditation space of any unwanted energies. Crystals are another great way to uplevel your meditation game; they channel loving energy, foster connection to your intuition, or move stagnant energy or emotions. Try either holding a crystal or placing some around your sacred space and envisioning the colors and vibration of the crystal surrounding you as you meditate.
Self-Reflection & Connection
Self-care is all about self-connection. The modern epidemic of stress and anxiety we are currently living through ultimately stems from a lack of self-awareness–we aren’t fully aware of why we feel the way we do because we are so out of touch with our real, authentic selves. We are unaware of the subconscious programming that inhibits our ability to live as freely as possible today because we don’t have the tools to access and come to terms with what happened in our past.
It is up to us to find the self-reflective tools that foster deeper levels of self-awareness. Tools to help us cultivate our relationship with our true selves, explore, and expand as individuals. Through practices like journaling, we are able to get in touch with our inner voice. If we keep all of our thoughts in our heads, we can never fully understand them. When we put words on a page, we get exposed to the deepest parts of ourselves and are forced to make sense of it. Journaling for 10-15 minutes a day either in the morning or before bed is an excellent way to practice self-care.
Tarot cards are a great way to uplevel your current journaling practice and self-care routine. If tarot cards are mirrors to the soul, then tarot journaling is the self-reflective tool that brings them to life.
If using decks is speaking to you, a daily card pull in the morning is a great way to find a moment for self-care and connection. You can use any deck that speaks to you. Simply shuffle, cut, and select one card using your intuition and sit with its meaning in silence for a bit. Take some time and either meditate or journal on what this card could mean for you. It is in your reflection where the magic happens!
Self-Care day in Nature
Nature is truly our greatest healer. Spending time outside and consciously connecting to the elements is a way to instantly reduce stress and disconnect from the urgency of the modern world. Separating from the distractions and stimulation from work and technology gives our nervous system a chance to restore and rebalance itself.
Science confirms this; plants are medicine. It is now known that just exposing yourself to outdoor green spaces can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stress. To learn more about the connection between humans and plants, the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kemerrer in the Ohana Shop is a great place to start. This book teaches readers about the wisdom of plants, the greater ecological consciousness, and our relationship with the living world. The natural world isn’t static, it is a force with which we have a reciprocal relationship, one that is constantly ebbing and flowing. When we spend time in nature, we are able to better understand the life-giving gifts the world provides and invite them directly into our own energy fields.
To take in the therapeutic medicine of nature, all you have to do is walk outside and notice the little pockets of nature all around you–the smell of the flowers, the sight of green sprouts popping up from the cracks in the pavement. Spending time in a wooded area with lots of trees is ideal for absorbing the most energy and power from the natural world.
If you don’t have easy access to a space with trees, try going outside (your backyard works just fine!) barefoot and connecting your feet directly with the earth. Whether it is grass, soil, or sand, the earth has an electromagnetic surface that interacts directly with your own energy field. If you can’t be outside in nature physically, you can also try bringing in a new plant or some fresh flowers inside your home. Incorporating these natural elements into your work and living space will bring their positive vibratory qualities to wherever you are.
We can also connect to nature through the foods we choose to eat. True self-care involves feeding ourselves foods that will nourish us and sustain our energy, which often looks like foods directly from nature: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seeds, etc. The less processed a food is the higher its vibrational quality. To exercise self-care on a daily basis, try opting for as many whole, real foods as possible throughout your day. A good rule is that all ingredients should be real food!
True Self-Care starts with Rest
In today’s hustle culture the most important form of self-care is often not talked about: Rest. In our productivity-obsessed culture, we are conditioned to feel guilty for taking time to slow down and replenish ourselves. But rest is a crucially important function for our mental and physical health. Our bodies need time to repair and restore themselves just as our minds need time to unplug and just be.
Some days, self-care might mean taking a quick nap. Other days, your body might be calling for some restorative yoga to allow your muscles and fascia to fully release and relax. Rest for self-care is especially important for women in their reproductive years. When you are in the menstrual phase of your 28-day cycle, the need for rest is especially important to honor when thinking about your self-care routine. During this time, testosterone levels are at their absolute lowest and your energy levels feel zapped. The idea that you should be doing intense exercise during this time to relieve period symptoms is seriously outdated advice and negates all available science.
Rather, practicing self-care during our menstrual cycle asks us to slow down and go inward. Besides restorative yoga, other good options for slower-paced self-care are reading a good book, taking a warm bath, or giving yourself an abhyanga massage with some oil or a luxurious melt-in-your-hand lotion bar!
Make Time For YOU
From a 20-minute online class to getting a full night’s rest, or spending time in nature, there are many different ways you can practice self-care throughout your day and week. Make time each day, whether it’s a part of your morning routine or scheduled into your day planner, to spend some time catering to your specific needs. Tune in and see what your intuition is telling you that you need. It will change from one day to another. Be ready to embrace the ebbs and flows that your body needs to prosper.