When I ask women what their top priorities are, I NEVER hear any woman list herself. Not in her top 3 priorities, not in her top 5. This baffles me every time. I talk to them about the importance of self-care and usually her eyes will start to glaze over, or she might start fidgeting with nerves or guilt.
If this is happening to YOU- stay with me!
As a Taurus, I’ve always loved everything indulgent and am always looking for cool and new ways I can take care of myself. I’ve tried MANY things over the years and I have to say that the more I did it, the higher on my priority list it became.
When something makes you feel good, you want to repeat it, right? Except with self-care, you’re not feeling guilty after having a calorie + sugar-laden doughnut or sitting on your butt, everyday, all day.
And because I’m The Hormone Diva of course I’m going to bring hormones into the equation. When we are constantly stressed and not taking care of ourselves, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol stay constantly elevated. For women this means weight gain, mood disorders like anxiety and depression, as well as exhaustion, cravings, irregular periods and a nasty menopause transition.
Self-care doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and definitely shouldn’t make you feel guilty. If you want to reduce your stress, get happy + balance your hormones- you must take part in self-care!
Here are some super awesome ways to do it, in only minutes a day (seriously):
Lie on this mat for even a few minutes a day and reap the benefits of reduced stress, better sleep, improved mood and decreased pain. I personally have the acupressure mat I’ve listed above. I bought the set with the pillow as well- what a great way to help with neck + head tension. And no- it doesn’t hurt! The longer you lay on this mat, the more you will sink into it. Up-level your relaxation: Lay on the mat in legs-up-the-wall pose for a double stress-attack.
- Nature walk
I feel like a preacher on this one: time and time again I’ve talked about the benefits of walking in nature. Sure, you may have a treadmill in your basement, but if at all possible- walk outside! The site of plant life and a blue sky will relax you and help you feel grounded. Plus the fresh air will invigorate you and the sunshine will give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D!
If our breathing remains shallow, our body thinks we are in a constant state of stress. So up goes that cortisol again, and we’ll feel stressed + exhausted all the time. Using meditation or deep breathing techniques to reset how you breathe on a daily basis is crazy helpful. Whether you get an App for your phone, or take part in professionally-led meditations, doing this (for even 5 minutes a day) will show you BIG dividends.
- Good book
Ahhh, there’s nothing like a good book. One that you can get lost in, and never want to put down. Romance, thriller, or regular-old fiction- it doesn’t matter. Turn off those phones + computers and go back to paper. Let your imagination run wild as you picture the scenes of a book in your head as your read. I’ve always got a book (or three!) on the go. I like to read both non-fiction + fiction. Currently I’m reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson. Cultivate good habits and fit in a few pages a day, at least.
While I’m all for women feeling good in their skin, it’s still nice to participate in some beauty rituals from time to time. Because of my PCOS I struggle with my skin. Excess testosterone in my body builds up in the oil glands of my skin and causes acne. While having adult acne is no picnic, I do a few things in my beauty routine that not only HELP my skin, but also make me feel good + relaxed.
For example, twice a week I do a turmeric face mask. I leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes, and wash off to smooth, beautiful + baby soft skin! I feel relaxed, pretty and happy when I do this.
Some other things to try are doing a body scrub, having a detox bath or painting your nails. Fit these beauty rituals regularly into your life for the best benefits. Beautiful + Happy? What an awesome combo.
I love yoga. I have been practicing on and off since I was 16 years old. The mental + physical flexibility that comes from a regular yoga practice is seriously a miracle. You can kill two birds with one stone with this practice by getting in some exercise and some emotional self-care. This month, I’m completing a 30-day yoga challenge hosted by DoYouYoga.com. With all the free yoga websites + local studios cropping up, there’s no excuse not to try this activity. It’s helpful for women of all ages and activity levels.