Top 3 Self Care Rituals to Consider
Yes, spontaneity is exciting and living life to the max can be equally as awesome. Life should be all of that; unfortunately, and I say this with love, your body and mind doesn’t exactly appreciate this concept. In 2020 we have been thrown off our routines in a big way by a pandemic and numerous raves put on by Mother Nature, which is causing many of us to have unusual shifts going on in our body that we are not used to. I receive reports almost daily from my clients that they feel ungrounded, have pain in new places and are experiencing increased anxiety. In a nutshell, everything seems “off”. According to Ayurveda, the ancient healing system from India and the Middle East, having a daily routine or dinacharya is the key to a healthy way of life and a long life at that. The recommended dinacharya from the traditional teachings would probably take you the entire day to complete and of course the majority of us don’t have that kind of time in our lives; however, there are many attainable rituals you can do and are probably already doing now. For example, in the morning it is recommended that when you get out of bed you scrape your tongue, have a good healthy bowel movement, oil and wash your body, put on clean clothing, and meditate. Of course, there are many additional steps you could take, but this is a basic routine. For some this might sound daunting, especially if they have family members they need to take care of or get ready for the day. The good news is that you don’t need to try all the rituals at once, instead, with the help of an Ayurvedic educator, life coach, massage therapist, acupuncturist, yoga instructor or any other wellness professional you can begin to explore self-care techniques in small bites. There are a whole host of nurturing routines that you might not be aware of, and they all have the potential to have a place on your path to well-being. The reason why there are so many to choose from is that everyone is unique, so one person might love using a neti pot, while others cringe at the idea of running salt water through their nostrils. In our society multitasking and filling our day with to-do items is expected and often praised. The problem is that this lifestyle ages you in an accelerated fashion. Think of the days when you were a kid and summers used to last forever. That was because we didn’t have as many obligations, the days just unfolded naturally. We allowed ourselves to go where the wind took us. Even as adults with our many obligations we can still slow down our day by doing nurturing actions for ourselves and you will find that your life stops flying by so quickly. Here are three ideas to get you started.
- Self-massage with warm oil is a simple and nurturing ritual you can do that has the potential to quiet your anxiety and help you develop a solid relationship with yourself. The time we spend touching ourselves in the shower is not enough. I recommend a 30 minute self-massage at least once a week. You would spend about 10 minutes massaging yourself from toe to head with warm sesame, olive, coconut, hemp or sunflower oil and I am not talking about a little oil. You literally want to be shimmering like a WWE wrestler! After you are covered, then you will sit for 20 minutes letting all that oil soak into your body, perhaps listening to your favorite music or meditating. If you are using coconut oil, just make sure you avoid your face because this type of oil may lead to blemishes. Finally take a warm shower, you can wash your hair with shampoo, but try and avoid washing your body with soap. Afterwards pat yourself dry with an old towel. If the thought of using a copious amount of oil sounds off-putting then you might try dry brushing. There are many resources you can find online on how to do this technique. Here is one that I find most helpful https://wellnessmama.com/26717/dry-brushing-skin/.
- Another great self-care routine is spending time in nature, maybe do a little earthing by taking off your shoes and digging your toes into the grass. There are so many studies showing us how this simple act can help reduce inflammation, reduce pain and calm the nervous system. You can either walk around or sit quietly on the grass allowing yourself to rest and recharge. Because we wear shoes most of the time energy gets built up in our body and we become disconnected, discontent, and anxious. This is a simple ritual you can do for a few minutes each day. (more information on earthing: Earthing movie: https://youtu.be/44ddtR0XDVU)
- The third thing you can do is simply notice how your breathing or if you are breathing at all. It is amazing how often we hold our breath throughout the day, which only adds to our stress level. This practice can be done sitting, lying down or even standing at the copy machine. Your breath is your true-life companion. The goal is to breathe with the entire front of the body. So, when you inhale your belly fills, then your lower ribs, then your chest, on the exhale we reverse the process. The flow should be smooth and natural and do try to breathe through your nose. That will help slow down your breath. Here at Lovingkindness Reiki & Yoga we can help with further instruction.
To summarize, routines are not necessarily boring, just think of them as daily maintenance for wellness. If you still want to jump out of an airplane or zipline in the Andes, knock yourself out; however, do remember to shower, have a good health bowel movement, and brush your teeth. We still need a solid foundation to support our sometimes crazy lifestyle.