10 Simple Steps to Self-care

1. Wake up and take ten deep breaths.

We need oxygen to survive, of course. So we need to be intentional about giving our bodies more of what it needs. I know I personally hold my breath when I'm working for some reason, and have tried to become more aware of it and work on it. Start your day with ten deep breaths. Sit on the side of your bed and literally widen your arms and hands and lift them over your head, breaking in through your nose as deeply as you can. At the height of your breath, your hands should be stretched out up and over your head. To deepen your breath, your belly should protrude out, filling with air, and contracting back as you exhale through your nose and lower your hands. Doing this every morning will wake you up with a fresh and invigorating start to your day, with a kick of oxygen you need to get your mind going and body flowing.

2. Do a facial every week.

Our skin is our largest organ so we need to take care of it! It's exposed to so many things and absorbs more than we wish it would. Take a salt bath, a long hot shower, and do a facial each week. Developing a good skincare routine is so important! Google an all-natural toxin-free skincare line (I like Shea Moisture's brand found at Target or I'll make my own skincare products). Moisturize your face in the morning (don't wash because you're rinsing off the regenerative oils that have developed overnight as you've been sleeping, and wash your face at night from the funk of the day. Exfoliate 3 times a week, and do a deep cleansing mask once a week. I like to use bentonite clay, found on Amazon. Make sure to apply the mask to where your lymphatic system is too, detoxing your pits and breast areas especially. 

3. Drink a little more water each day.

I've heard that we should drink half of our weight in ounces each day. Yes, that's a lot of water no matter how much you weigh, but we need our water so much. Just drinking a little more each day and working up to our eight 8 oz. glasses is a great start. I like to use Essential Oils (Young Living's Vitality Line) in my water. They taste delicious... Lemon, Grapefruit, and the Citrus Fresh blend are some of my favorites to use because the flavor helps me to drink more water through the day. You'll notice a difference in your skin, energy, mood, and maybe even say goodbye to some unwanted symptoms you struggle with.

4. Walk 15 minutes each day.

Even if you work a 9-5 job, take some time on your lunch break to walk! If you don't live in a neighborhood, you can still walk down a nice dirt road or through a field. Just get outside! Skip the treadmill, that makes walking feel like a chore. Spending time outdoors is what counts because you're inhaling all of that fresh air too! Just an extra 15 minutes a day will be so beneficial for your body!

5. Make Sundays "no-phone" days.

I know, this might not be easy for some of us. But keeping my phone plugged up and away from me sometimes is just what I need to feel disconnected from extra distractions. I'll just check it once in a while for potentially missed emergency calls but that's it. You can even put your phone on airplane mode, or delete certain apps for periods of time. Taking a break from social media is so cleansing. It's tough at first because we're so used to checking in with everyone, seeing who's liked and commented on our posts, and finding out what our friends have been up to, but in reality, we don't really need to know. It adds more to our sensory overload than we realize. So make one day a week a "no phone" day, and stick to it as best you can.

6. Treat yourself.

Even if it's something from the dollar bin at Target, treat yourself! Get a pedicure, massage, try a new workout class - whatever will make you feel treated, do that. We all work so hard to keep up with things, pay our bills, and just do each day that I think some of us often times forget to pay ourselves back with a little treat every now and then. For me, it's a pedicure and maybe a pretty little bowl or kitchen accessory from a cute boutique! A treat for me is also just window shopping down an inspiring street in a cute small town or city. Just do something for you!  

7. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.

I have struggled with developing a solid morning routine. For some reason it's just not possible for me. I wake up, make my (decaf) coffee and immediately get to work because my mind is already going with what I need to do for the day. But waking up just a little earlier helps because mentally we don't feel like we're impeding on our preciously scheduled plans and we allow ourselves that quiet time to meditate, pray, enjoy our porch or favorite window or back yard, and just be alone in that time. Starting your day peacefully like that helps to promote feelings of gratitude, serenity, and mindfulness.

8. Send someone you love a letter.

With text and email and everything, who sends letters anymore? I personally love to receive letters in the mail. It's so fun and I always appreciate the time someone took to send me a hand-written note. Spending time thinking about someone else and hoping to make their day a little brighter, makes our hearts feel happy in return. You don't need perfect stationery or anything either, just grab a piece of printer paper and a pen and say hello!

9. Stretch more.

I saw a meme the other day that said, "do you ever stretch and feel like you just pulled your whole life together?" and my answer was, "yes!" Stretching is incredibly nurturing for our bodies, especially for those of us who sit in front of a computer for a living. But even those who move need to stretch too. You can find a yoga app or YouTube video, or just follow what makes your body feel good. Sit and listen to your body. What is it telling you to stretch? In what direction does it want to move? Let it take you on it's own journey. Take a few deep breaths before, during, and after you stretch, and then do a mental comparison to see how you feel post-stretch as to how you felt prior. Do this as often as you can!

10. Go to bed at the same time each night.

Our bodies want to be on a schedule and routine. Think about it, our world is on a schedule too. The earth, sun, moon, and everything inside of our planet works because of some sort of pattern. Even our hormones want to be on a cycle and schedule (men and women alike). We typically wake up at the same time each day, and should be going to bed at the same time each night too. Our digestion, endocrine system, hormones, and really our entire bodies will thank us. Rest is so important but consecutive consistent rest is even more so. 

Following our hearts and bodies with what they're telling us is so important. If you see a piece of fruit and feel like your body is begging you to eat it, eat it. If you look out a window and think about how blissful it looks outside, try and take a break to get some fresh air. Our cells are living things, and they talk to us about what our needs are. All we have to do is listen. 

Even if we (and I say "we" because I need to work on pretty much all of this!!)  choose one or two of these things each week to try and incorporate into our schedules, we will start to feel like we're giving ourselves just a little bit extra! 

What are some ways you practice self-care??