Self-Care Wellness Habits to Incorporate Into Your New Year
The term, “take care” runs much deeper than lavender bubble baths and remembering to eat your greens. Often misinterpreted as selfish, self-care is not a luxury. It’s a reflection of how you feel about yourself that directly connects to wellness. When you listen to your body, you gain insight to prevent potential illnesses, strengthen immunity and maintain emotional harmony. Even though the benefits are profound, time for one’s self can easily fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, when you overlook your own needs, life falls out of balance. Without time to regroup, you may experience weakened immunity, burnout, and more.
For ways to find a little bliss each day, read on...
There’s nothing funny about sleep deprivation. All the pampering on the planet won’t be enough to counteract poor sleep habits. When it comes to self-care, sleep is essential; its health benefits are boundless. Your body needs proper rest in order to refuel and replenish all your organs. Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? If so, try preparing yourself and your environment each night for optimum slumber: stay away from electronic devices for a minimum of a half hour before going to bed. And give your digestive system a break during sleep: have dinner as early as possible. Eliminate stimulants and unhealthy late night snacks. Allow your eyes to fully relax. If light seeps into your eyes during the night, think about wearing a sleep mask so your natural body rhythms won't be disturbed.
Falling asleep with makeup on your face promotes the growth of bacteria; additionally, product residue prevents skin from being able to breathe. So help your skin along by thoroughly cleansing before you slip under the covers. Skip chemical laden products that strip your skin of natural oils and opt for a gentle plant-based cleanser. Or make your own. Always wear a green sunscreen, approved by the Environmental Working Group. And to replenish moisture throughout the day, carry a hydrosol in your bag. Just the act of pausing to close your eyes and spray a fragrant healing mist on your skin can uplift the senses and add positive vibes to your day.
How you apply lotions and serums matters too. Enjoy the ritual of healing touch as nourish skin. Come evening time, massage your face with an antioxidant rich plant-based oil, such as apricot, rosehip seed, or coconut, in gentle circular motions. Release tension from the face and neck. Give way to the comforting feeling as you prepare for sleep.
Declutter Your Mind
The health benefits of meditation are ever-expanding: stress reduction, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and strengthened mental clarity. Plus, it just feels good. New research is exploring the possibility that meditation may be capable of altering brain chemistry. So try a daily centering meditation. Give yourself a minimum of 15 focused minutes upon waking and before bed. Shut off all distractions. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position. Draw your awareness to the breath. After a few moments of quiet, observe your thoughts. It helps to offer yourself an encouraging intention. Think about your talents, or choose a gratitude reflection. How can you offer words of encouragement that will help propel you forward?
How you eat and self-care go hand-in-hand. A meal can be a guilty pleasure that damages your health, or a delicious source of nutrition. So find out which superfoods benefit your unique body and mind. Gain deeper insight by examining how and when you eat with a food diary. Even if you try it for as little as a week it can help shine a light on unhealthy habits, and enable you to create solutions. List your food intentions. Do you need to eat heart healthy? Are you seeking to lower inflammation? If so, you may be interested in learning more about the alkaline diet, and increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods; alternatively, check inflammation expert, Jenny Carr’s article on how to detox from the top inflammatory foods. Or maybe you'd like a diet more centered around the gut and digestion? Then become familiar with gut-friendly foods, and incorporate them into your diet. Make a list of your personal top 10 healthiest foods, and consume liberally throughout your week. Additionally, research and explore new foods. Develop a taste for them by slowly integrating them into daily meals.
Enliven Your Spirit
Gathering with others may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about self-care, and yet it's crucial to emotional wellbeing; research shows social interaction positively impacts mental and physical health. So no matter how hectic life gets, make it a point to meet friends for a brief coffee or lunch. And welcome new people into your life as well. Even if you're hesitant, be open to expanding your circle. Explore events that align with your interests. In Yoga, Sangha, is Sanskrit term that translates to “good company,” and emphasizes the importance of gathering with a like-minded group of friends. They are your support system. There to inspire and uplift your spirit. Part of self-care is figuring out how best to nurture your own needs. At times it means enjoying extended periods of tranquility and solitude. Other times, surrounding yourself with positive energy from friends is a wonderful way to generate warm, loving feelings.
Another way to think of self-care is as a manifestation of self-love. So offer yourself compassion, understanding, and the gift of time. Make space for tranquil moments... Linger in them.
And rest in the awareness that you are always worth the effort.