We strongly believe that self-care should be part of our daily routine, even our work schedule. It's something we often forget to prioritize. But if we neglect self-care, we might get to a point where our bodies can no longer keep up with the rhythm of life, where we can no longer care for our family, pets, or where we can not get up in the morning to do what we do best in order to bring food to the table. We often fail at self-care simply because most of us have crazy jobs with high-stress levels as well as an overload of technology and social media. Time flies, and "I don't have time for self-care" or "I'm too busy." become our excuses.
At Love & Lemons Life Essentials, we're all about wellness. We believe that a balanced life filled with all the things we love is essential in order to thrive with happiness! A busy life is not what defines success, but the ability to take time for ourselves to recharge and feel in control. Is it easy to prioritize this? No. Is this possible to carve out this time? Yes.
Self-care doesn't have to be complicated, but should allow you to step back from your responsibilities for a second and relax! We came up with 20 ways to practice self-care daily and regulate your cortisol level:
1) Engage in nature therapy
It is shown that as little as 30 minutes spent in nature can bring you closer to your intimate self. Spending time outside supports our well-being, has positive health benefits, improves sleep, reduces depression, boosts the immune system, improves respiratory and cardiovascular functions, and decreases stress levels.
You can read more about Forest Therapy, a practice inspired by Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to forest bathing.
2) Exercise at least 30 minutes a day:
This can be as simple then gardening, shoveling the snow off your driveway, doing yoga, commuting to work on your bike, or simply walking your dog.
3) Get lots of sleep:
Many of us run on 5-6 hours of sleep. The body needs so much more than this to be able to recover and feel rested.
4) Take a hot bath:
Besides getting clean, water therapy is very beneficial to our health. It's an inexpensive and powerful way to help support the mind, body, and spirit. Pour yourself a glass of red wine or tea, sprinkle in the bath salts and your favourite essential oils and sink deep into the bubbles. Listen to a relaxing playlist or read a good book, and let the worries wash away. This is a wonderful way to soothe achy muscles, swollen feet, and reset your spirit.
5) Prep your meals:
Set a day in the week (we usually do this on Sundays) to pre-cut all your veggies,
make smoothies, prep healthy snacks, and plan your meals ahead. This will save you so much time and will take away stress about what to make for dinner! Store your prepped food in glass containers. We love to reuse those large Adam's Peanut Butter jars!
6) Keep your house & car clean:
A clean environment means a clear mind. Less clutter is shown to reduce stress and anxiety. It feels so good to spend time in a clean space. It also benefits your mental health and wellbeing. Keeping your space fresh and organized is good for your health, and science can prove it.
7) Snuggle with a fur friend:
Pets give us unconditional love. Dogs especially can help reduce stress, decrease feelings of anxiety, and even lower blood pressure. Don't have a pet? Think about fostering or dogsitting your friend's pet for an evening! Many people who suffer from disorders like PTSD have benefited from daily exposure to pets, which is why service dogs have become so helpful for these individuals.
8) Practice deep breathing:
Even if only done for 2 minutes, this can help you reset and quiet your mind. Pick a comfortable position, inhale and exhale deeply through your nose. You can look up different breathing techniques.
9) Meditate for a few minutes:
Use your favourite app and practice meditation either in the morning as soon as you wake up or before bedtime. Insight Timer is an amazing app to guide you through this journey. It's free and we love it!
10) Take care of your gut:
A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion. What we eat positively or negatively affects the bacteria that live in our stomachs. Remember: a happy gut means a happy mind! There are so many great books out there on this topic. You can consult your naturopath on this. Eat the right foods and take your vitamins. There is nothing better than an organized fridge filled with delicious, fresh, and colourful foods! Make sure you get enough protein and healthy fats, tones of green, and reduce your sugar intake. Take your vitamins and opt for quality brands, as often companies add in sugars and fillers. Head to your favourite health food store and they will be able to help you! Juicing is also a wonderful and effective way to get your vitamins in. A good juicer will last a long time and can do amazing things for you! Buy organic produce, especially in the winter. I'm sure many local farmers can also supply you with amazing goodies for most of the year.
11) Grow some flowers, herbs, and veggies:
How amazing it feels to bathe in the sunshine and work in the garden! This not only feeds your soul, but your tummy, and you get some exercise in!
12) Say no to things that don't serve you:
We often feel immense pressure to say yes to things we don't want to do. Go ahead, and say no. You are not being rude, selfish, or unkind. You are simply setting boundaries for yourself. Value and respect yourself enough to stand up for your beliefs.
13) Go on a road trip:
Getting away for a weekend can help you disconnect, relax, and rejuvenate. It doesn't need to be costly. Just drive to the next town for a coffee with a friend or simply call them and tell them you're coming for a sleepover!
14) Check-in at your favourite hotel or spa:
A night spent at a hotel, even in one's own town, can be the key to unwinding. Call room service, enjoy the comfy bed, step into the hotel's hot tub and feel your cares float away.
15) Organize your life:
Use a daily planner and block off your day with all the tasks you need to complete. This will help you stay on track, remove stress, and know exactly what you need to do. Bullet journals are a great place to start!
16) Buy yourself a plant, some flowers, or pick your own bouquet:
Adding a leafy green to your space brings pleasure and cleanses the air. Even buying yourself some flowers to set on your dining table or beside your bed is a beautiful way to show up for yourself. An inexpensive option is to simply go for a walk and pick wildflowers yourself!
17) Find a hobby that excites you:
Whatever you really enjoy doing. It can be photography, journaling, knitting, making soap and candles, or collaging. Use your creativity and do something that sets your soul on fire!
18) Ditch your phone for a day:
We spend hours on screens. Ask your partner or roommate to hide your phone for the day. This way you won't get distracted and can enjoy some time to yourself without being glued to your screen. We know, easier said than done!
19) Indulge in retail therapy:
Even if you only go window shopping, it is simply just nice to stroll and look at all the pretty things. Just try on some outfits and see how you feel!
20) Use aromatherapy:
Essential oils are an amazing tool to enhance your wellness routine. Not only do they smell good, but they can help ease and prevent certain health conditions. Use a trustworthy company that can help you pick the right scents and that provides 100% pure essential oils. At Love & Lemons Life Essentials we've got you covered! ;)