Self-care is vital to your well-being. The older I get the more I realize it. As wives, mothers, caretakers, employees, you have to constantly give so much to others but you cannot keep burning the candle at both ends forever. There needs to come a time when you must take care of yourself.
Sooner or later it catches up to you and you really start to feel it. Maybe, you feel like you’ve lost your groove or maybe a little cranky. Or, perhaps you just don’t feel your best.
That’s when it’s time to take a little time out for yourself. You have to realize you DO deserve and need to do a little self-care from time to time. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, difficult, or expensive. I promise you are going to feel 1000 times better!
There are times, too, that I just need a break and even self-care is work. I get that and that’s okay, too. We all need a little complete downtime. I was really feeling that this year at the end of my daughter’s school year. We had run around all year and to tons of activities, and homework, and play dates, and a million obligations. After school let out, I also needed just a break from it all! I did want to get my eyebrows done and I didn’t want to exercise.
Well, I allotted myself a little time to just completely fall off the grid and chill. But after a little while, I knew it was time to get back in the saddle again.
Self-care is an integral part of intentional living. You can find out more about intentional living here.
Here are five Self-care tips that are easy and (almost) free to include self-care into your routine.
With the influx of K-Beauty, it seems like sheet masking is all the rage. I can understand why because it’s a little way to pamper yourself that only costs a few dollars a pop. It can be a relaxing and convenient way to pamper yourself. I’m sheet masking at this very moment!
The cool thing about sheet masking is that if you are really, really busy you can multitask and do the sheet masking while you are doing other things. Some die-hards even sheet mask in public. I’m not sure I would go that far but I’m sheet masking right now while writing an article right now. Sometimes I wear them while cleaning, working (if I’m at home), or before getting ready (but still running around to get my family ready for something).
Many stores carry them now – even Target, Walmart, Sephora, Sally Beauty, or online. Depending on the brand they can cost anywhere from $3-$6 dollars. I guess this is a little splurge but compared to the cost of a facial and also the time it and inconvenience it takes to get one – this is a nice, accessible way to treat yourself.
I’ve tried a lot of sheet masks over the past couple of years. I can honestly say I’ve haven’t tried a sheet mask I didn’t like. My favorite brand though is Dr. Jart which I buy from Sephora. They are $6 each.
If you have time or want to just take the 15-20 minutes to relax – even better. Put on some nice relaxing music and enjoy some peace and quiet. Just enjoy giving your skin a little TLC.
It’s just a fun and easy way to do a little treatment that makes me feel like I’m pampering myself. I always feel rejuvenated after doing a sheet mask and it makes my skin happy, too!
Listening to Uplifting Podcasts
We all need a daily dose of inspiration. I believe as humans that we need a constant supply of positive influences to keep us motivated and uplifted. I’ve been obsessed with Podcasts lately.
I am constantly listening to them while driving, cleaning, and doing yard work. It just makes me feel happy to listen to something uplifting that either raises my spirits, inspires me, motivates me, or teaches me something.
When I have to do mundane things – especially cleaning – I feel like I am at least using my time wisely and bettering myself in some way. It makes cleaning a lot more tolerable.
Some of my favorite podcasts are the following:
- “Do It Scared” by Ruth Soukup
- “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” by Cathy Heller
- “Second Life”
It’s no secret that the practice of meditation has numerous benefits. It helps to reduce stress, control anxiety, ease depression, make you more self-aware and centered, boost your immune system, enhance mood, increase focus, help conditions like PTSD, and improve sleep. The list of benefits goes on and on.
The best part of it all is that anyone can start practicing meditation at any time. It’s free and can be done on your own schedule. Also, it’s helpful that it can be done in just minutes a day. Of course, you can practice for longer if you wish or build up to it in time.
My Meditation Journey
To be perfectly honest I was never all that crazy about meditating. My personal journey with meditation was an evolution. In the beginning, I had to force myself to meditate.
I was the type that in order to distress I wanted to run or go to my Zumba class and physically get it out. (That’s also still a big part of my self-care practice but I also found a place for meditation. )
Meditation Helped Me Feel Less-Scattered and More Productive
Sometimes I get caught up in trying to get everything on my plate done. In doing this I often feel scattered and start this project and that project and then get distracted and go back to the first project, etc. What I’m saying here is that I get overwhelmed and then lose focus. I was kind of here, there, and everywhere. By doing this I would start a lot of projects but then get distracted and move on to something else so I always had a lot of unfinished projects in the works.
Enter meditation. As I started practicing meditation, it started to have a calming effect on me. So instead of hurling around in a frenzy like the Tasmanian Devil trying to this and that and never really accomplishing anything, I became more focused on finishing one specific. Although I still had a lot of things on my to-do list, it made me more productive in the long run because I could finally cross something off my list for good and move onto the next thing.
Meditation also helped me with my mood and over outlook on life. Just taking a few minutes a day to clear my head is very helpful. My mind constantly goes and goes and by meditating I get a much-needed break.
The most popular app that I know for meditation is Head Space. It may be a way for you to start to practice.
Exercise has been one of my absolute go-to self-care practices for most of my life. In Elementary school, I was always one of that picked-for-last-in-gym kind of kid. I wasn’t that great in competitive sports. As a result, I hated exercise and thought I was no good at it.
The Start of My Exercise Routine
By my teen years, I had to start to watch my weight and I found out that I enjoyed dancing. Since the age of 14, I adopted a daily exercise routine that I still practice to this day. My routine at the time was nothing short of hilarious. It would be me in my room playing a mixed cassette tape of songs I taped off the radio, jumping around like a maniac in my bedroom.
Thankfully, I’ve discovered new outlets for exercising – like Zumba and Barre – so I don’t have to scare my family or unsuspecting visitors by dancing around the house anymore.
My routine has greatly evolved over the years, too, along with the trends and the evolution of exercise with the times. As the years have gone by I’ve done lots of types of exercise – step classes, weight machines, and biking in college. Now my routine is varied and includes Zumba, running on the treadmill, Barre Classes, spinning classes, weight classes, yoga, etc. I did have a personal trainer for a while as well.
As I got older I realized that my exercise practice wasn’t just a practice to keep my body fit, it was also a practice equally if not more important for my mind.
Whenever I don’t exercise I feel “off.” While after exercising I always felt more positive, more uplifted, and more in control.
It cannot tell you how much exercise has helped me in my life. I’ve been exercising a long time now and it’s helped me with so many things such as keeping me healthy, helping me to fight anxiety and depression, boosting my mood (with the help of endorphins), making me feel more empowered, helping with body image, helping me feel more confident, and helping me feel more in control of my life.
Whenever I would get down or something unfair in life happened I would turn to exercise for comfort. It made me feel like whatever else is going on I have the power to do something good for myself and exercise.
Find an Exercise You Enjoy
They key is to find an activity that you enjoy. If it’s something that gives you joy and you feel good doing it will keep you motivated to keep doing it.
Take a bath
“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die, or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: “I’ll go take a hot bath.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Who doesn’t love a good, hot bath? Well, I’m sure there must be a few people that are not crazy about it but there are lots of benefits to taking a bath.
Here are a few:
Warm Baths can…
- Calm the nervous system
- Give your heart a healthy workout
- Makes blood flow easier and be more oxygenated by letting you breathe deeper and easier
- Clear out Sinuses
- Increase serotonin levels
- Relax your muscles
- Regulate your body temperature in cold weather
Cold Baths can…
- Balance out hormones
- Cool off your body temperature in hot weather
- Wake you up and make you feel more refreshed
Both warm and cold baths can help moisturize your skin, hair, and eyes.
More detailed information on the benefits of taking a bath can be found here
For me personally, I love to take a warm bath in Epsom salts. It relaxing, warms up my bones (I tend to be cold), relaxes my muscles (especially after exercise) and just gives me a little bit of me-time to unwind.
So there you have it 5 almost free ways to take care of yourself by sheet masking, listening to uplifting podcasts, exercise, meditation, and taking a bath. Remember that you don’t have to pressure yourself to do all of these at once. Just try the ones that sound good to you.
After all, you’re worth it! Happy Pampering!