AV 077 – Self-Care: 10 Simple Ways To Take Better Care Of Yourself

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Self-Care has become a trend and buzzword lately – which is great! We are happy more people are becoming aware of the value in attending to their personal needs! However, maybe you hear (or read) the word self-care and think “I WISH!”, the idea of a bath, a spa day or just curling up with a good book sounds more exhausting than it does rejuvenating. 

We know: Life can be “busy”. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. As Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, says, “We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture. Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don’t.” It seems there is always something that needs doing, always someone who needs our attention. “Unfortunately,” Moore says, “we don’t get a lot of support in this culture for doing nothing. If we aren’t accomplishing something, we feel that we’re wasting time.”

In order to live a happier and more productive life, we need to change this mindset. Self-care is an accomplishment. It is important that we take care of ourselves so we can be our best (for us) and for everyone around us. With our busy society, self-care is pretty much a necessity now, and it can actually be easier than you think (trust us). 

When we reference self-care we are not implying that it should be more “to-dos” that you add to your list. What we are encouraging is that you start to cultivate habits that make you feel healthier, happier, and more connected.

For instance, start with your nutrition. Include more fruits and veggies into your life and see how it makes you feel. After a week or more of including these healthy foods, we’re sure that you will begin to feel better. This is a great way all of us can start to take care of our selves. Next, carve out time for some movement. This doesn’t have to be planned and overly thought out – just head outdoors for a walk. 

These options are a perfect start, and there are so many other ways to create space and time just for YOU. We must note that these and the ones we will list below are suggestions. True self-care requires a deeper personal understanding and thought – ask yourself “What do I really need at this moment… what will bring me back to my centre?” listen and obey this calling.

Let go of the “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time“ story that you keep telling yourself. You will end up believing it and ultimately allow it to run your life. Here is how you can change that: Think of a time when something serious in your life happened (you got sick, someone you love was diagnosed with an illness, or passed away), all of the important stuff you had on the go – stops! Suddenly those “big”, important things become small. 

What if you chose to live with this awareness without something serious having to happen? What would it feel like if you gave yourself more time and space to connect with YOU?

Oil Pulling

You may have heard of oil pulling by now as it has had its trendy moments (at least it has here on the west coast).  

Similar to tongue scraping, oil pulling claims such health benefits as improving oral flora, preventing tooth decay, alleviating bad breath, and strengthening the tissue of teeth and gums.

Traditionally this was done with Sesame Oil due to its rich nutrient value and versatility. However, coconut oil has taken popularity as more people are likely to have it on it. Plus, there are many easily absorbable benefits you gain from using coconut oil. I love to use these natural remedies, but when the time comes I visit my Dentists Mentone too as prolonging an oral problem may exacerbate it to get worse. 

The practice of oil pulling is a wonderful addition to your morning routine! Creating a ritual with it (like brushing your teeth) is not only beneficial for oral hygiene but also for adding a sense of consistency and balance to your life.

The Benefits:

  • Reduces the bacteria that causes cavities.
  • May aid in preventing gingivitis.
  • Kills bad breath.
  • Improves symptoms of oral thrush.
  • May help remineralize teeth.

*You can also check out our full detailed article about oil pulling. 

Dry Brushing 

Another Ayurvedic technique – Garshana, a.k.a. dry brushing. This technique refreshes and stimulates the skin and lymphatic system, enhancing blood circulation and the release of accumulated toxins. Seeing that our skin is the largest organ of detoxification, dry brushing is one of the easiest practices to encourage the body to cleanse. 

When we dry brush we usually accompany it with a cold shower or a hot Epsom salt bath. Both of these support dry brushing by continuing to help cleanse the body.

A few important tips when it comes to dry brushing are: 

> It is best done in the morning before bathing, with dry skin that is free from lotion or oil.

> Keep the direction of the stroke always toward the heart

> Start from the feet upward, continuing to the torso and on to the neck

> Use circular strokes on the stomach and joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, hips, and ankles), and long sweeping strokes on the arms and legs (toward the heart)

The Benefits

  • Increases muscle tone
  • Improves skin texture (luminosity and suppleness)
  • Reduces the effects of stress on the body
  • Promotes weight management by supporting a healthy metabolism
  • Supports natural detoxification
  • Improves lymphatic circulation
  • Enhances circulation
  • Stimulates areas that accumulate cellulite

Cold Showers

We have all experienced that bone-chilling cold shower moment (usually involuntarily). The next time this happens, don’t be so fast to freak out, and instead, embrace the cold. Because this ice cold shower has amazing effects on your overall health and wellbeing. 

Not to mention you are building incredible willpower when you are able to embrace then cold in a calm and collected manner. 

The Benefits

  • Improver Emotional Resilience – cold showers train your nervous system to be more resilient to stress. 
  • Reduce Stress – lowers levels of uric acid, and boost levels of Glutathione in your blood – making you less stressed in general.
  • Increases Alertness – at first, it may be hard to breathe – so when you start deep breathing this will actually leave you feeling more alert.
  • Improves Hair & Skin – one of the best ways to improve your skin (and hair) is by taking cold showers this prevents the skin and hair from losing too many natural oils.
  • Promotes Weight Loss – there are two types of fat in your body. Brown fat & white fat. White fat is bad – it’s the body fat that we all hate so much. Brown fat is good. Its function is to generate heat and keep your body warm. When you take a cold shower, brown fat is activated, resulting in an increase in energy and calories burned to keep your body warm. 
  • Improves Circulation – improves circulation by means of sending blood down to your organs to keep them warm. This stimulation of the circulatory system is great for your overall cardiovascular health.
  • Improve Your Immunity + Drain Your Lymphatic system – when alternating between hot and cold water – this will help your lymphatic system, by contracting the lymph vessels when exposed to the cold and relaxing them when exposed to the heat. This essentially pumps the fluid that may have stagnated in your lymph vessels out, resulting in a stronger immune system and healthier you. Many of us have become soft. Reconnecting to the outside environment is imperative for optimal health.
  • Speed Up Muscle Recovery
  • Relieve Depression
  • Help You Sleep Better

Epsom Salt Baths

When we think of self-care it’s safe to assume that a nice hot bubble bath comes to our mind. It’s the perfect way to unwind, and create a quiet space for your self so you can disconnect and reconnect with yourself. So why not include some Epsom salts and increase the benefits of this “you-time”. 

We usually have an Epsom salt bath after a hard training session to help with muscle soreness and recovery. Seriously, active or not just one Epsom salt bath a week can have an incredible impact on your health.

The Benefits

  • Boosts Magnesium Levels
  • Reduces Stress
  • Eliminates Toxins
  • Reduces Pain and Inflammation
  • Improves Your Sulphate Levels – this helps extract toxins from your body but they can also help promote wellness. When absorbed through the skin, sulphates can promote good skin, joint, and nervous system tissue.

BONUS: Females can benefit from increased magnesium intake.  Magnesium and serotonin deficiencies have been found to exacerbate PMS symptoms.  Studies show that starting Epsom salt baths as early as two weeks before your period will lead to less pain and significantly fewer negative mood changes frequently associated with menses.

Meditation

There are numerous studies that support how mindfulness meditation can positively impact our mental and physical health. We can both attest to this, having meditation as a regular part of our routine we have seen incredible benefits. This is especially true when we choose to start our day with meditation.

“How you start your day is how you live your day. How you live your day is how you live your life.” — Louise Hay

The Benefits

  • Better management of stress, anxiety and depression
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Improving happiness and general wellbeing
  • reduces stress
  • Controls Anxiety
  • Promotes Emotional Health
  • Enhances Self-Awareness
  • Lengthens Attention Span
  • May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss
  • You Can Meditate Anywhere

There’s a great variety of styles too, each with different strengths and benefits. No right or wrong way to do it. 

Resource: One Minute Guided Meditation

Inversions

If you practice yoga you have likely heard of this term. This includes all things that literally have turning things upside down. From shoulder stand, headstand to legs up a wall. These are all inversions and you do not need to be a super yogi to incorporate it into your daily life. Simply laying with your legs up a wall will have you reaping the benefits of inversions. 

You can also take it to a different level and use a supportive sling to invert. We use something similar and find it incredibly beneficial. Here is a funny video to give you a better idea of what we are talking about: 
 

The Benefits

  • Improves Circulation In The Body
  • Increases Immunity And Prevents Illness
  • Energizes
  • Improves Balance
  • Increases Core Strength
  • Builds Confidence – it gives us a different perspective on life – inversions teach us through both physical example and metaphor that there is always another way to approach the situation/person/problem

General Physical Movement (Exercise)

If you have been a part of our community for a while then you should know how important daily exercise is to us. Physical activity may (and should) look different for everyone. We can honestly say that both of our physical activities have changed over the years. They also change on a daily basis. This is because we listen to what it is our body needs at that time, and we suggest you do the same. So it is great if you have a variety of forms of movement you can choose from. However, even if you only have one – rest assure you can always count on walking or stretching as an alternative to those days maybe you are not feeling strong or energized. Not to say that walking and stretching alone can’t be your regimen. Any type of movement is important and here is why: 

The Benefits

  • Enhances Brain Health
  • Helps Prevent Brain Degeneration
  • Increases Heart Health
  • Limits Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
  • Reduces Stress, Anxiety & Depression
  • Improves Sleep Quality
  • Boosts Longevity
  • Increases Bone Health
  • Increases Metabolism and Fat Loss
  • Increases Muscular Strength
  • Reduces Back Pain
  • Increases Libido and Sexual Energy
  • Helps With Arthritis
  • Increases Growth Hormone and Testosterone

Having A Hobby or Leisure Activity

If you find that your life is like “groundhog day” maybe consider finding a hobby of some sort. Having a hobby or a leisure activity that we can turn to if we feel down or stressed really can help us out of it. We can choose to use our energy and time to focus on something that we really enjoy, which would likely make you feel better. We dedicate so much time to work and often others that by having a hobby, it allows you to do something that is only for your own personal benefit, and not the benefit of others.

The Benefits

  • Stress Reliever – should be a completely pleasurable activity that allows you to take your mind off of the demands of your daily life or negative emotions. It’s a healthy and productive distraction from work or personal troubles.
  • Encourages You To Take A Break – offers you an opportunity to take a break, while also giving you a sense of purpose.
  • Offers New Challenges & Experiences – unlike a work challenge which is often associated with stress & discouragement – With a Hobby, you can enjoy the process of learning something new without feeling discouraged.
  • Allows You To Explore Your Possible Talents
  • Can Provide Additional Income
  • Prevents You From Wasting Time And Creating Bad Habits – boredom is actually responsible for a lot of the suffering in our society, and many of people’s destructive behaviours. Hobbies to fill up free time makes people less likely to spend their idle time on wasteful or negative activities such as drinking, gambling, or drugs. Hobbies give you something to do when you are unable to find something to fill your time. They also give you something to look forward to.
  • Helps you grow spiritually – feeding your soul spiritually involves regularly connecting with your higher power. Your best spiritual hobby will help you feel calm, peaceful, and purposeful. Hobbies are almost a form of meditation because they can help you relax your mind and connect with the higher power.
  • build self-confidence and improve your self-esteem. – when you step outside of your comfort zone you will help build your self-esteem by achieving things you thought were not possible. 
  • promotes creative flow – if you have a creative hobby and have been so focused that you lost track of time – that is creative flow. This flow requires being fully present as you do the task in front of you – usually, this requires your full attention and brain power.

Juicing (nourishment)

Fresh Juice is a part of our everyday ritual. If you follow us on social media than you probably know this from all of the pictures and stories we post 😛

One small change to your daily routine can make a world of difference and if we had to choose one – nourishment and especially in the form of fresh juice would be it. Who doesn’t want to infuse their body with instantly absorbable nutrition that can have remarkable transformative effects from the inside out?

The Benefits

  • Alkalizes the Body – consuming plenty of green vegetables helps maintain alkalinity. And the easiest way to do that is with a green juice every day.
  • You Are Ahead Of the Game – you get a volume of fresh fruits & veggies in (preferably first thing in the morning). 
  • You start buying bulk 
  • You Sleep Better – get more produce in your diet, you are getting a natural source of melatonin which promotes sleep. Some fruits and veggies that contain melatonin are Bananas, morello cherries, ginger, and tomatoes.
  • Healthier Glowing Skin – juicing every day may cause breakouts at the beginning as it is pulling toxins from your body. Afterward, however, many people report their skin glowing, especially when drinking green juice
  • Fewer Cravings – getting a lot of vitamins and minerals in a single serving – sugar cravings usually come from a lack of nutrients you aren’t getting in your normal diet.
  • Healthier Bathroom Experience – yep, we said it. You may notice your urine being a different colour from drinking beet or rhubarb juice. But it’s not just urine that will change… juicing gives you a load of soluble fibre. Yup, that’s right – juicing removes the insoluble fibre, which is the roughage that adds bulk to your stool and basically pushes the food through your digestive tract. But you do get plenty of soluble fibre from juicing, which is great news because it’s hugely beneficial for gut health, acting as a prebiotic and boosting good bacterial growth.
  • Tastebuds change and natural weight loss occur – juicing is a great method to weight loss but not in the way most people think of it. It is not some quick fix or magic potion that will melt your fat away. The weight loss happens naturally when you include one (or more) fresh juices into your day, your taste buds start to change and you crave raw fresh produce. So the weight loss happens gradually, but it does happen. And that’s how juicing helps you lose weight – and keep it off – for life.

Aside from juice every day, every once in a while we like to include a 1-3 day juice cleanse. This is usually when we sense that our body needs a rest from digesting foods, or sometimes we do it during the change of seasons to help us transition. Either way, with juicing you also allow yourself an opportunity to connect. If you want to learn more about the benefits of juicing, the how to’s, nourishing recipes and much more check out our 3-Day Juice Cleanse Plan

 

Dedicated to your health and wellbeing, 

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