Whether I’m chatting with my girlfriends or a new client, there’s a common theme that always comes up. In one way or another everyone deals with stress and anxiety. Me included. Stress can impact every area of our lives and we now know health issues are connected to long-term stress.
When our bodies are under consistent, long-term stress, our physical and mental well-being is impacted. It’s challenging to manage all of the stressors life throws our way, yet we don’t take enough time to care for ourselves. Stress can manifest as physical symptoms and emotional symptoms - whether it’s fatigue, poor concentration, digestive issues, mood disorders, or autoimmune diseases. Our lives are busier than ever and we need breaks to allow our mind and body the time to rest and recover. Luckily, there's a growing awareness about the benefits of stress reduction. Our happiness and our ability to thrive increases when we learn the tools to manage stress.
One of my favorite tools?
You may have heard of the little thing called Self-Care.
Consistent, small acts of self-care make the biggest difference in lowering the body's stress response and improving well-being. Self-care practices help us cope with stress, boost mood, and manage illness.
Personally, self-care has helped me come a long way in learning to take care of my health. It's helped me build resilience to stress and symptoms from Hashimoto’s like fatigue and muscle aches. Self-care is a tool I know I can use when life feels really tough or overwhelming.
Now that self-care is popular and trendy, I think there are some misconceptions about what it has to be. Self-care doesn’t mean shelling out cash to jet set to the Caribbean, going on a yoga retreat to Bali, or spending the day at an expensive spa. (But hey if you can do that, DO YOU!)
I’d like to think of self-care as being on a spectrum.
One end of the spectrum might look like....I might not enjoy x, but I do it because it helps me. Think: grocery shopping, planning meals ahead, and going to bed early.
The other end might look like...I do x because it’s fun/enjoyable/indulgent/relaxing.
Think: getting a manicure, going for a massage, out to a nice dinner with friends.
Then there’s somewhere in the middle. You might be feeling run down and need a break, and want to cozy up at home and take time for yourself. It isn't glamorous, but it FEELS GOOD.
That's why I'm sharing my Ultimate Guide to Self-Care at Home.
These cozy activities can have a positive impact on your health and you can do it all at home. Plus won't have to break the bank. I bought the Andalou face mask, lavender essential oil and a Pacha froth bomb from Whole Foods for under $15.
Self-care at home is all about creating a calming environment, so it might be a good idea to tidy up a few spaces like your living room and kitchen so you can truly find some relaxation. I love to create relaxation by turning off the T.V., putting away my cell phone and lighting a few candles.
Start with a few calming yoga poses
If you’ve never practiced yoga, don’t worry! Selected with the help of my yogi friend, Catherine, these poses are meant to be for any body.
Supta Badha Konasana (bound angle pose) – Lay down flat on your spine. Place the soles of your feet together, knees open wide. For a more relaxed pose, place blocks or pillows under your knees for extra support. Close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths. The pose is said to help promote deep relaxation, while stretching the low back and inner thighs.
Viparita Kaani (legs up the wall) – Lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as comfortable. From there, you extend your legs up the all, so that the back of our legs are resting fully against it. Close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths. Consider staying in this position for 5-10 minutes, but there are benefits for just a few minutes too. This position helps the mind quiet and is calming on the nervous system.
Cook a nourishing meal
In my opinion there’s no better way to care for yourself than to cook a simple, delicious meal to
enjoy at home. Eating balanced meals can help combat the body's stress response, so it's important to get in all the food groups like protein, carbs, veggies and fat. Remember, this is a self-care day so no need to make a long, complex recipe. I suggest turning on your favorite music or podcast to listen to while you make my cozy Lemony Chicken & Quinoa Soup. When I'm under a great deal of stress or experiencing a flare-up, nothing comforts me more than a bowl of soup.
Put on a face mask
This one is for pure fun and indulgence. I personally love putting on a face mask in the evening while I read or wind down for bed. No “have to” here, but if you want to give your skin a little extra love try a mud mask, charcoal mask, or this lovely turmeric mask by Andalou. If this isn't your thing - then skip it! This is all about what helps you to relax. For me this also usually includes puppy snuggles.
End with a luxurious bath
Some research studies show taking a bath was helpful with improving the participant’s fatigue, stress and mood. Hot baths always make me feel sleepy so I suggest doing this before bed.
Don’t think that luxurious means expensive! Far from it. Add a bath bomb to the water to make it extra soothing. Pacha Froth Bombs are beautiful and smell amazing. I’ve picked them up a few times from Whole Foods and absolutely love the products.
Take your bath to the next level: Add a few drops of essential oils to the water (like lavender), light a few candles and dim the lights.
What you’ll need for the day:
What's your favorite form of self-care? Comment below and tell me all about it! You can also tag me on Instagram @wellfednutrition.