The most important--and really, only--rule in self-care is that you find practices that resonate with you and make you feel good. Because if they don't, you won't stick with it. At the end of the day, consistency is what matters most.
Now, having said that, we live in the real world. There are some days when your self-care routine consists of nothing more than taking thirty seconds to put on a lotion that makes you take a deeper breath and smile every time you catch a waft of it. Or listening to a podcast while you run from a meeting to the grocery store. And even that's a stretch. Obviously, it goes without saying that hopefully, on most days you'll have a bit more time than that to dedicate to yourself than that but, hey! We all gotta grab what we can, and anything is better than nothing.
Having said that, here are a few things that have worked for me to get you started or on those days when you need a bit of inspiration! You can also check out my Pinterest board for more ideas.
I don't always want to get on my mat, but literally every. single. time. I do, I feel better. Getting to an actual studio is harder than ever, though, so instead I've been doing YogaGlo classes from the comfort of my home. All the classes you can eat for $18/month. Not too shabby, especially when you consider a monthly studio membership is $120 on average. I'm particularly digging their Programs options, which allows you to take a series of classes on a particular theme or topic. A couple of my favorites are: Elena Brower's 4-week Self-Care for Women: Practices for Resilience and Grace program and Chelsey Korus' Two Weeks to Your Strongest Core.
Yoga is my go-to exercise. But after giving birth to Izzy, I knew I needed to mix things up, so I tried out 9Round. And, lemme tell you, it is ass. kicking. But I always feel like a million bucks when I walk out of there. The way it works is that there are nine stations that you rotate through for three minutes each. They mix up the routine at each station every day, but there's always warm up cardio, bag punching, and core work. They also monitor your heart rate and track your progress as you go so that you know if you're in the fat-burning zone. Their tagline is "Fitness that Empowers," and it's true.
sense: Lush Sleepy
In all fairness, I have to say that when I drop into bed at this point in my life, I'm generally passed out in about two minutes. However, I still love rubbing on a bit of Lush's Sleepy lotion before snoozing for a sort of end-of-day ritual. And because, you know, smelling lavender just makes me happy. This stuff smells delicious! (P.S. The sales gal told me this was a limited edition, so it may or may not be available.)
Polish: Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer
Until now, any Good Hair Days I've had in my life have happened completely by accident. Until I found out about this miracle product. It's a round brush/hair dryer that, in approximately five minutes' time, transforms my frizzy locks into a smooth, polished 'do. Best of all: it requires no level of skill whatsoever. I love it so much, I wrote an entire blog about it. Almost $60, but well worth it, if you ask me.
Very rarely these days to I wear real make-up. I mean, I might throw on some mascara and a bit of lip gloss or balm as a nod to civilized society, but that's about it. Despite that, a couple of years ago, I found out about Ipsy, which sends out sample sizes of five make-up items per month, ranging from creams to concealer to eyeshadow to lipstick, and lots of stuff in between. I love it because: 1) the pink padded envelope is fun to receive and 2) when I do have cause to get done up, I have lots of fun selections right on hand. Best of all, you customize your profile so that you get a sampling that appeals to you. $9.99 / month
Rise n' Shine: Sunrise Alarm Clock
There is no sound I hate more than a blaring alarm clock. Yet, for as much as I hate the sound, I have a bad habit of forcing myself to listen to it ad nauseam by hitting the snooze button approximately fifty-three times.
This alarm clock has been a game-changer for me. A light that mimics a sunrise slowly fades in over the course of a half hour before wake-up time. As an added bonus, you can set a variety of soothing sounds, including everything from music to chirping birds (my fave). It also has a feature that allows you to use the light in reverse, so that it dims slowly over time . I used this feature a lot to get my daughter to bed.
I'll probably never like mornings. But I do love getting up early to make time for myself. And this is, by far, the best, most non-abrasive way I've found to do it.
sit: INSIGHT TIMER
At this point, there are a few meditation apps out there, but Insight Timer is my favorite. Set a meditation timer for as long as short as you choose (with the option to turn on background white noise), listen to a huge selection of guided meditations, and enjoy being part of a virtual meditation community!
Organize: Kate Spade 2018 Planner
I feel better when I'm organized. And one of my nerdy little habits is staying organized with a hard copy planner/organizer. Sure, I've got my iCal, but I love having a written version of my schedule and a place to keep notes, too. When I stumbled across this awesome Kate Spade planner, I figured it would be way out of my budget. To my delight, I nabbed it for $20! Online pictures don't do this baby justice. It's chunky, adorable, and features monthly dividers, room for notes, a laminate holder for bills, etc., and even stickers!
I'm definitely not going to sit here and tell you that watching TV is the best use of your time or your brain power. Of course I'm not. But, at least for me, sometimes a show binge is precisely the reprieve my brain needs. It allows me to mentally shut down at the end of the day in ways that other mediums just don't. Recently, the show I've been using to do that is Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It's sort of like a sweet version of Mad Men, but from a woman's perspective and with a certain almost musical quality about it (even though it's not a musical). The main character, Midge Maisel, is quirky, endearing, and an ass-kicker.
Drink: CBD Peppermint Tea
After someone attempted to break into my house, I found myself struggling with anxiety--especially when bed time rolled around. While I've taken Xanax for anxiety in the past on a very irregular basis (such as plane flights and when I can feel a panic attack setting in), it's not something I wanted to get into the regular habit of.
I decided to give CBD a try, and this tea is a miracle. I drink it for bed and feel somehow sleepy yet focused. I sleep like a baby, and don't deal with grogginess in the morning. This is the best product I've found in a while, and an anxiety-killing miracle.
Taking off my wedding ring felt weird because I do feel hugely committed, even if that commitment is to my daughter, rather than a husband. To honor this, I got a gorgeous Moonstone ring to wear on my wedding finger. (I especially love the symbolism of this because Izzy is on the Cancer/Leo cusp, and Cancer is represented by the moon.) Whatever your scenario is, this jewelry is beautiful, inexpensive, and--if you're like me--will make you smile every time you catch a glimpse of it.
read: THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK BY GABBY BERNSTEIN
This book magically appeared on my doorstep compliments of my good buddy, Corinne, who knew that big changes were afoot and I might need a little back-up. If you're looking for that final push to make the changes you know you need to in your life, check this book out. It will remind you how supported you really are. (They also offer a cool deck of cards you can pull for inspo when you're looking for a bit of in-the-moment guidance.)
If you find yourself in a moment where you need to be reminded that difficult times ultimately lead to the greatest growth and most profound gifts, treat yourself to a walk and listen to this podcast by the author of When Things Fall Apart. (And, while you're at it, curl up with this incredible book, too!)
Cleanse: Yerba Santa Smudge Sticks
If you're reading this blog, chances are you're already in the loop with sage smudge sticks. I love a good sage smudge, but I recently discovered Yerba Santa smudge sticks as an alternative. For me, the draw to Yerba Santa is that it's a bit more specific than sage, which is great for general clearing and cleansing. Yerba Santa (or the "Holy Herb") is more specificly used as a means of protection and boundary setting. It's also associated with bringing in more love, purification, growth, empowerment, and beauty, as well as for releasing emotional pain stored in the heart chakra. Maybe this all sounds a bit woo-woo to you, but you may find there is some value simply in the ritual of symbolically setting boundaries and clearing emotional pain.
Manifest: Prayer Box
I got this idea from Gabby Bernstein's aforementioned The Universe Has Your Back, and I really love it. The idea here is to get a little box and use it to store handwritten notes that serve as intentions or prayers. This may include things you want to attract, release, or, really, anything at all. The idea is to write it down, put it in the box, leave it there for a week, then burn the piece of paper to signify giving it up to the universe. Note that while there are never any "rules" in spiritual matters, the idea here is to only write each thing down once because by "giving it away" to the universe, you are signifying your trust that your prayer will be taken care of. I sprinkled my box with frankincense and peppermint essential oils. Frankincense has been used since ancient times as a spiritual anointment/offering, and peppermint serves as a great refresher. I also do a little meditation when I place my prayer or intention in my prayer box.