Don’t get me wrong I love spa days, massages, pedicures and the like, but I find it nearly impossible to make time for them these days (truth be told I’ve never consistently made time for them in my life!).
Thing is, like many of us, I grew up believing that these sorts of activities are what truly constitutes self-care and without engaging in them (even every once in a while), I couldn’t possibly be REALLY taking care of myself.
I can’t tell you how guilt inducing it’s been over the years (particularly as a health pro) to admit that I rarely take time out for stuff like that. That was, until I discovered Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda self-care is the foundation of health and happiness, but when it comes down to it self-care isn’t as much about what you do as it is about who you are. What?
I’ve got a post it note on my wall that says… ‘You Are Self-Care’. I wrote it.
It’s a simple reminder to me that self-care isn’t about going through the motions. It’s a personality trait, a point of view, a way of being in the world. It comes from feeling worthy enough to take the actions needed to be your best you. And it’s a choice you have to make in every moment, because for most of us, self-care doesn’t come easy or natural.
So for any of you out there (like me) that find ‘being self-care’ a challenge. I offer you this…
Simple ways to make self-care easy…
How you think about self-care is how you’ll be about self-care. It all starts there so why not start there too! Here are a couple of suggestions…
Define what it means to love yourself
This could be as simple as doing something nice for yourself everyday, giving yourself a break, or a compliment, celebrating your successes (no matter how big or small). Whatever it is, the key to being about self-care is knowing what you’re about. Give it a go!
Ask yourself what you need everyday. Listen for answers (trust them). And then make sure you get what you need.
Reminders are the things that keep me sane, okay? My bulletin board is full of them. We need to be reminded often of who we are and what we need. It’s only with that knowledge at the front of our minds that we can make powerful choices that support us being who we need and want to be.
Come from love
One of the secrets to being about self care is what I like to call ‘wearing your love suit’ (mine is purple velvet, kidding!). Imagine what it would feel like to wear love colored glasses all day. To see love everywhere and to have love as a context for everything you do. Eventually, when you get enough love all over and around you it becomes a part of you, and BAM, you turn it in on yourself!
For me the doing right now is focused on simplifying. My life, my language, my diet, and the daily actions I take to look and feel my best. And when I walk through the world with my ‘self-care colored glasses’ on, I steer away from things that feel harmful to my body-mind (like chemicals, and being judgmental) and am attracted to things that radiate with love for who I am (like walks by the sea, and hugs, oh so many hugs!).
So here’s a couple of things that I’m doing to express my love for me right now…
Make homemade moisturizer
As part of my effort to reduce chemicals I’ve taken to making my own moisturizing oils (my dry vata skin needs near constant moisture). The fact that it’s also SUPER easy puts it right up my self-care alley! Here’s what I do:
BlissBody Moisturizing Vata oil
- 2/3 cup almond oil
- 1/3 cup organic sesame oil
- 10 drops lavender oil
- 8 drops sandalwood oil
Add all ingredients to a bottle with a lid and shake gently until mixed. Then go for it! I usually put the bottle in the shower and put it on at the end of my shower before drying off, rinse a little of it off and then lightly dry off (leaving a silky smooth layer of oil to keep me moisturized during the day!)
(I like it lightly scented so you can always add more if you like!)
Sip cha, cha, chai
As far as I’m concerned chai is the sanskrit word for ‘love’ (that’s not true but it should be). Making and drinking chai has become a way of loving myself (and others!!). My own little short hand for ‘I love you’. And so here’s my recipe:
1 cup water
1 cup of whole milk (cow, soy, coconut or nut milk)
2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
2 cinnamon sticks
3-4 tbs whole cloves
½ tbs cardamom pods (usually around 3)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp black tea leaves
raw sugar, jaggary or coconut sugar to taste
Add the water to a pot. Grate 1 tbs of fresh ginger into the water. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom pods to the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk and turn up the heat. Hang out and wait for the chai to froth up to the rim of the pot and then immediately turn off the flame or remove from heat. Sprinkle black tea to cover the surface of the chai. Stir and let steep for about 5 minutes. Strain into cups and sweeten. Makes two servings!
Cue the music…
Music has always been about making me feel good. Whether it’s singing, dancing, listening or all of the above. It’s grown to become more than just a past time. Listening to (and singing) music that makes me feel good in my body and mind is now a part of my self-care routine. Here are a few of my “medicinal” tunes!