Self-Care Sunday, Every Day
If we don't take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others. That is why self-care is super important to me. I have a wide variety of self-care strategies. I also include getting massages and similar modalities under "self-care" because even though I'm not literally doing it myself, I am making the time and space for it to happen. This is self-care to me!
I have been partaking in self-care before it was even a worthy hashtag...like since the early 90's! Although my routine has evolved, it has never been missing. Here's some of my daily, weekly, monthly (and more) self-care habits:
1. Exercise: My relationship with exercise has changed dramatically throughout my life. I started as a gymnast (until I broke some bones), with an easy transition into diving (which led to more broken bones), then on to running (running too much), to CrossFit, to hot yoga, to now. What I do now would be more of what I consider movement for life. That may still include hot yoga and the CrossFit-esque workout from time to time, but I am MUCH nicer to my body now. A walk-run and body weight workouts compose most of my routine right now. Oh, I cannot forget my mini-trampoline practice (I do this to support my lymphatic system)! And, I am sure it will still change, this is just where I am right now and what my body needs! I never listened before, which is probably why I have experienced so many injuries. I am lucky I have come across so many great healers in my life to help with these injuries.
2. Self-massage/Stretching: This is a habit I inherited from my dad. In the evenings, after dinner, we would always stretch, rub our toes, rub sore muscles, just naturally. If you know me, I am not afraid to stretch or self-massage anywhere--airports, meetings, girls night, in the car...I really just can't help myself and honestly, I don't even notice I'm doing it most of the time. Sometimes this includes sticks, rollers (of many kinds), and balls, but not always. It is amazing to me that we always know what our bodies need, long before I learned about neurolymphatic and neurovascular reflexes.
During my first Maya Abdominal Massage session, my therapist instructed me on how to perform self-care abdominal massage. So, I am sure to add this in as well.
3. Hair Care: I do a coconut oil and essential oil hair mask about once a month, sometimes more. My hair feels so silky smooth (after about 3 washes). Plus, just the act of massaging the oil in my scalp, and taking the time to do that, is therapeutic for me.
4. Skin Care: On top of my daily skin care routine, I use this Best Skin Ever from Living Libations along with a jade roller to assist with lymphatic drainage--plus the coolness of the jade feels divine (even for someone who loves the heat)!
I also have a microneedling tool, and I definitely feel like there is more blood flow to my face afterwards! Use caution and follow the directions, it can be an intense experience.
Dry brushing is also supportive for my lymph system and helps me wake up faster! I don't really need to use any products for exfoliation because of this practice!
5. Pelvic Care: Speaking of jade, I also have a jade egg practice. You can learn more here (really, SO much more). The jade egg is supportive for pelvic floor muscle articulation and beyond.
I was also introduced to performing a bajos through my traditional Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal therapist. A bajos (as you may have heard more recently referred to as a yoni steam) is something I perform about 2x/month. It is warming, relaxing, and not nearly as weird or wild as you may think! You can read about how I hosted a girls night bajos party. It was fun; my friends know my weirdness and were willing participants, but I did show them a list of pros and contraindications and referred them to find more info here.
6. Breast Massage: I do (almost) daily breast massage every morning when I get out of the shower. On top of not wearing a bra, this massage helps with my lymphatic drainage. If I do not perform this, I have increased mastalgia (nothing pathologic found via U/S and thermography).
7. Oral Care: Yes, my oral care routine is something I put in to self-care because it is so much more than brushing my teeth. It takes intention and a little time. I include tongue scraping, oil pulling, and much more. Refer to Nadine Artemis from Living Libations for my full routine.
8. Massages: Within the past year, I have been getting massages 1x/week. It tremendously helps with stress reduction and I love the effects on my lymph system from therapeutic touch.
9. Acupuncture: I could talk about this for awhile (maybe I should do a whole post on my acupuncture experiences)! But, to sum it up, my first experience was medical acupuncture and it was horrible. I gave it another try with a Traditional Chinese Medicine and Oriental Medicine practitioner and I am SO glad I did! I get a session every 4 weeks, and more if needed. As my acupuncturist put it at one of my more recent visits when I told her I felt my arms were moving all around (and they were definitely stationary), "Sometimes our bodies need to re-calibrate." And that sums up acupuncture for me in a (very small) nutshell.
10. Energy Healing: I have had a range of modalities including sound therapy, crystal healing, reiki, and access bars (just to name a few). It has been life changing and I don't know what I did before I found this type of healing. I have been receiving specific energetic types of healing for about 6 years and all I can say is that I wish it was longer. I get some form of energy healing every 6 weeks (and of course, more often if needed).
11. Adjustments: As you may know, I am a Doctor of Chiropractic, and a chiropractor saved my life! Again, that is a whole other sharing session, but that is why I decided to become one myself. I get adjusted as often as I can. The technique my doctor uses is Applied Kinesiology (AK). Basically, you can test the body for which technique is most appropriate (craniosacral, SOT, acupuncture, etc...). My favorite time to get adjusted is when I am feeling great!!! There are subtle changes in my nervous system that I notice after getting adjusted; I can breathe better. I can see better. Really, I am amazed every time (even though I know the innate power of the body)!
12. Other: Sometimes my self-care includes things like these that don't fit into one of the categories above: taking a bath (with magnesium salts or flowers), saying no to social events, breathing, legs up the wall, meditation. Other times it is making time to go pee when I need to go opposed to waiting ten more minutes when it would be more convenient. It is drinking more water. It is caring for my body enough to feed it well. It is making time to call my family and friends (all 5 of them, you know who you are!). It is letting go and having my husband drive. It is all of these things and so much more.
On the steps I take that don't mention how often I perform them: I do them when they are brought to my attention. Sometimes I am laying in bed and abdominal massage pops in my head, so I do it, right then and there. Sometimes I think our bodies remind us or give us gentle nudges when we need to pay particular attention to a certain part of ourselves.
How do you take care of yourself? Let me know and as always, #GetSatiated!