The holidays can be a stressful time of year; there are parties to go to, nails and hair to get done, dresses to buy,presents to find, and still our regular day-to-day activities to do. That’s a lot in just a short month. Why do we do this to our self each and every year? If you haven’t yet learned how to say no to all those parties and get-togethers (it’s so much harder than you think!), then taking time for yourself will help you not lose your damn mind.
Yes, this is on my list and everyone else’s self-care list and everything wonderful you can do by yourself because IT WORKS. I have high anxiety (have you noticed?) and severe migraines and just the simple act of breathing helps. But, sitting there and just breathing isn’t going to work.
Find a comfortable spot to sit so you’re either cross-legged (like on a yoga mat. If you have tight hips like I do, use a blanket, block, or bolster to get your hips off the ground and for a better feel) or sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
Put your palms face down on either of your knees.
Close your eyes and focus only on yourself.
Breathe in through your nostrils, letting your whole body fill with air. Breathe in deeply and slowly so that your stomach, chest and ribs expand to let in your breath.
Breathe out through your nostrils slowly, paying attention to how your chest will fall first, then your stomach.
Focus on your body filling with air, expanding and contracting as you let your breath out.
If you are having trouble focusing on your breath and need a little something extra to quiet your mind (believe me, it’s hard!), focus on a glowing orb in your body. As you breathe in, it travels up from your belly, up your spine and to your head. As you breathe out, it will travel down from your head to your chest, then your belly, again, completing a full circle.
Don’t worry if you can’t sit and focus only on your breathing. Some days are harder than others and it’s hard to focus inwards on your first try. Either set a timer to break you out of your meditation (go for a light alarm instead of the usual blasting one that gets you out of bed in the mornings) or breathe until you feel content, light, and relaxed.
Mask it Up You’re stressed. So your skin is probably pissed at you and acting out in ways you thought were over when you were 16. This one works two-fold in self-care. You’re going to get the benefits of your face mask AND the benefits of sitting still and relaxing as you let that beautiful clay sink into your skin.
Read Before you go thinking this is a dumb way to self-care, hear me out! When was the last time you picked up a book and read it just for fun? Some of you are probably saying ‘duh, like every day’ while a lot of you are failing to make eye contact. Guaranteed you’re either working your butt off to shatter those glass ceilings, making sure your house doesn’t fall apart, watching Netflix, or scrolling through your phone. None of those things are at ALL relaxing. Hello, have we heard of this fucked up thing called blue-light?Listen, ever since I started my evening routine, I’ve started feeling way more relaxed and calm, letting me fall asleep earlier, faster and better. What’s a major part of that evening routine? Reading!
Grab a book and start reading. It’ll make you sit down and concentrate on only ONE THING, the book in front of you. If you’re finding that you’re re-reading sentences more than once and not understanding what’s going on (free pass if you’re reading Tolstoy…does anyone ever know what’s going on there?), head on back up to the first tip and grab a meditation session to clear your head.
Take 5 Minutes Just five minutes! That’s barely any time at all! Take those five minutes, whenever you feel the most need for them. Whether it’s sitting and enjoying your coffee in the morning, instead of chugging it down, reading an article you normally wouldn’t indulge in, a really quick yoga practice, or simply just calling someone you love (although, this could end up being way more than 5 minutes). Take the 5 minutes to indulge in yourself.
Walk or Exercise Yeah, I know it’s cold out and it’s not the time to go gallivanting in a forest (except it’s so beautiful!). But! Getting outside into that fresh air will make you feel so much better about everything around you. Simply going for a walk around the block, out into your yard, or for a full day’s hike in nature will set you back to that feeling of quiet content. Often, just standing on my deck and taking in a few big, deep, mindful breaths gets me feeling right again.
Michelle is an avid traveler, a great ranter, a lover of all things nature and beautiful. You can find her out of the city limits taking in everything that Earth has to offer. When she’s not dressed down in yoga pants and a t-shirt, you can find her piecing together the perfect outfit to show off in the busy streets with friends – careful to state that she is not a hipster. Her favourite city is Paris, with a yearning for its breathtaking streets, architecture, and fashion so strong that she repeatedly finds herself walking along the cobbled lanes and sitting down in the Tuileries with a cafe au lait, scribbling furiously in a Christian Lacroix notebook.
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