This post is simple, my friends… very practical self-care. We need to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls in order to be healthy (helloooo that’s what Ivory & Pine is all about). So here are just a few ideas you can start implementing into your life today.
1. Get outside
Run, walk, hike, bike, lay out at the beach, whatever makes you feel good! Just get out there, soak up some sun, and enjoy the fresh air.
2. Take an Epsom salt bath
The main element in Epsom salts is magnesium, which is best absorbed through the skin. Epsom salts can help alleviate pain and inflammation, relieve headaches and abdominal pain (or cramps), and provide relaxation for sore feet. And if you get scented salts, bonus for aromatherapy!
Journaling can be so helpful…it’s great for getting your thoughts out after a long day, planning for the week ahead, helping you eliminate mental distractions, or reflecting on a whole new season of life. One of the most helpful and simple journaling things to write about in your journal is what you’re thankful for. It sounds cliche, but I do this periodically and I try to write down everything I was thankful for that week, including little things like sunshine and hot showers. You may surprise yourself with how much you truly have to be grateful for; doing this always lightens my mood and gives me a fresh perspective.
4. Call your _____ (mom, dad, grandparent, sibling, mentor, best friend)
This past March, I had a nagging feeling to call my grandpa. I love my grandpa and greatly enjoyed talking with him, but I just got busy and kept forgetting. I didn’t call, and then he passed away from a tragic accident on April 12. I think about those few weeks all the time, and how I was”too busy” to talk to one of my favorite people in the world, not knowing how soon it would be too late. Sorry to give you a sad story in the middle of a self-care post, but seriously. Call the people you love.
5. Do something that makes you feel beautiful
Get a manicure, massage, or facial. Paint your nails, pluck your eyebrows, shave your legs. Maybe for you it’s dyeing your hair that color you’re afraid to do but know you’d love. Maybe it’s getting that tattoo you’ve been designing for months. Maybe it’s doing nothing to your appearance for one day and intentionally accepting that you are already beautiful. Big or small, do something that makes you feel beautiful!
6. Clean up the room of your house that you spend the most time in
Clearing your environment of clutter helps with anxiety, motivation, and focus. If you want to go a step father, take a minimalist approach with that room and sort through the belongings sitting there. The most basic way to think about sorting is this: Is it useful, is it beautiful? If it accomplishes a needed task in your home, keep it. If it brings you joy, a happy memory, or you love its aesthetic, keep it. If it does neither of those things, consider selling, donating, or tossing it. This is an easy method when thinking about duplicates too. Let’s say I find one pair of scissors in my room and think, “yes this is useful,” and put them away. But then I find another pair of similar scissors… those scissors would have been useful, but now they’re extra. They do the same task as the first pair. You don’t need those scissors! Personally, I’m attempting to turn basic cleaning into a new way of life with minimalism and living intentionally. I’ve been following some excellent minimalist bloggers who’ve been giving me tips, trick, and inspiration for living intentionally. And while I’ve started to make little changes in my life, I’m actually in the process of moving to a new apartment and I realized that now is the time to make big changes. I’m so excited! Keep an eye out for my minimalism updates.
7. Practice mindful meditation
Mindfulness is, in its most basic form, the practice of accepting the here-and-now of our thoughts, feelings, and senses without judgment. And meditation is not just for Buddhist monks anymore. It can be really helpful to intentionally reflect. Mindfulness and meditation naturally go together and are best practiced together, in my opinion. Meditation can be prayer, and practicing mindfulness in the moment helps me stay focused while I pray. It could also look like allowing yourself to experience the day’s emotions non-judgmentally, or even simple breathing practices to relax. There are a LOT of resources now for meditation and mindfulness. Here are a few I really like…
Apps: Two I’ve tried are Headspace and Stop, Breathe, & Think. Some yoga apps also have meditation routines! The biggest problem with apps are that they are on your phone, and it can be difficult to not get distracted when you see phone calls, texts, and other notifications coming through. At least silent them!
Websites: The Free Mindfulness Project is a website where mindfulness practitioners (yay therapists!) have contributed lots of resources, practices, and other tools. If you’re interested (or skeptical) about how mindfulness works, check out The American Mindfulness Research Association for research on the topic.
8. Get unplugged
Take a day to severely limit your use of electronic devices…phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc. There are literally countless reasons I could dive into about why this helpful, but here are a few of the basics. Our devices train us to multitask- and not in a good way. Those notifications dinging on your phone? The 15 tabs up on Google Chrome (I’m soooo guilty of that by the way)? The convenience of switching channels as soon as commercials come on? We think we’re able to pay attention to so many things at once and do so many tasks, but in reality these stimuli train our brain to have smaller attention spans.
Try to really 100% focusing on something for several minutes or even an hour at a time. It’s hard!! And the biggest reason it’s hard is because our brains are constantly inundated with new notifications to draw our attention away from what we were doing before. Have you ever noticed that your eyes immediately go to your phone when your hear that text noise? Even if you’re doing something more important, like staring into the eyes of your super cute first date, or driving? It is SO important for us to take back our attention and our brains! My other big reason to stress getting unplugged is simply so you can relax. This comes back to mindfulness. Be in the moment. Focus on the people right in front of you, instead of other people’s status updates.
Laugh a lot. Watch your favorite comedy. Spend time with that friend who you know will get you rolling. Bust out your craziest dance moves and giggle at the ridiculousness. Just release some endorphins!
10. Squeeze in some snuggles.
Cheesy title, I know. I couldn’t help it. I don’t honestly remember where this research came from (I’m imagining my college professors slapping my hand for poor citations), but there are studies that show that human beings need approximately 14 hugs (or similar gestures) a day to be healthy. 14!!! That may not be that many hugs if you have a toddler in the house, but I have spent significant portions of my life going to school, working, being away from my family, generally not dating, etc. and in those seasons of life, 14 hugs seemed impossible. My classmates and I started hugging each other more often, because we understood that we didn’t have many other people to hug in that season of life, and we needed it! If you can hug someone today, whether that’s a significant other, friend, or family member, DO IT. We need that physical touch and affection.
As usual, if you have other self-care ideas or if any of these have been helpful, let me know in the comments!
photo credit to Pexels.com. No affiliate links in this post, anything I have suggested is simply because it’s useful.