22 Self-Care Activities to Rebuild Your Health and Energy

  • 14 Mar, 2017
I recently launched the Self-Care Essentials, a guide to creating healthy self-care habits even when you're too tired to try. If you don't already have the guide you can access it through a link at the end of this article.The guide includes a step-by-step action plan and worksheet to help you create new self-care habits, as well as a menu of self-care activities to choose from. This article explains what some of those activities are and how to add them to your self-care routine.**Note: I [...]
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I recently launched the Self-Care Essentials , a guide to creating healthy self-care habits even when you're too tired to try. If you don't already have the guide you can access it through a link at the end of this article.

The guide includes a step-by-step action plan and worksheet to help you create new self-care habits, as well as a menu of self-care activities to choose from. This article explains what some of those activities are and how to add them to your self-care routine.

**Note: I do not want this to be an overwhelming list that stops you from completing the Self-Care Essentials worksheet. I know this is a lot of information. I give you full permission to skip as many items as you want. Just read the information for the times you're interested in. The most important thing is that you pick and activity and start the process, so don't get bogged down by reading every single item and trying to pick the best one. Just pick one and work through the process.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth

I can see your face and hear the tone in your voice as you scoff at this. "Who doesn't already do that?" You'd be surprised. When someone is dealing with the depression and despair that comes with chronic illness, pain, fatigue and a depleted resource state it becomes more and more difficult for them to take basic care of themselves. I had a dance instructor in college who explained to us that women in their 20s are incredibly prone to depression and described her own battle with depression from her 20s. Can you guess what it was that brought her out of it? Flossing her teeth every day. Every moment of her day was filled with darkness, heaviness and self loathing, but for those few minutes when she flossed her teeth she was able to focus on loving herself. It was a tiny thing that she consistently did for herself. Flossing her teeth every day gave her the space to add more tiny little acts of self-care until she had climbed out of her pit of depression. One thing I want everyone in the Love Essentials community to understand is that it's okay to start right where you are. If that means your first act of taking care of yourself is brushing and flossing your teeth everyday, then I am so proud of you and excited for you for taking that step.

Wash Your Face
Your face collects dirt, sweat, pollution, oils and grime throughout the day, and a good cleansing routine is an important part of keeping your skin healthy. At the very least you want a gentle cleanser, a toner, and a good moisturizer. Remove any makeup using a natural makeup remover; coconut oil or olive oil works well for this. The directions for your cleanser will vary depending on the type of cleanser. I use a cream cleanser that is applied to dry skin and massaged in a circular motion to stimulate and tone the facial muscles while cleansing the face. I then wet the cleanser and remove it using a clean cloth. I follow this with a hydrating mist, a serum, and a moisturizer*. The whole process takes only 5 minutes. Several little 5 min acts of love and pampering sprinkled throughout your day add up pretty quickly.

Make a Cup of Tea or Coffee
For many cultures the act of brewing a cup of tea is an indulgent break from the day. They take time and care when heating the water and steeping the leaves, then take a moment to enjoy the first few sips of tea before going about their day. Brewing coffee can be the same way, especially if you use an individual coffee brewer like a french press, Aeropress, or pour over brewer. Instead of doing dishes or working on a project while your water heats up, take a minute to do a deep breathing exercise or light stretching while you wait. Give yourself the 5-7min it takes to brew a cup of coffee or tea and make it a moment of indulgence, rather than something you absentmindedly rush through before heading back to work.

One Healthy Meal Per Day
I want to stress the importance of adding healthy meals to your life one at a time unless you are working with someone who is giving you practical and emotional support. The key to creating healthy eating habits is planning. You want to start by choosing which meal you are going to focus on, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Then write down what you will eat for that meal every day for one week. Next, write the items you will need to make those meals and go purchase them. Put the week's menu on your refrigerator so you can reference it every day. Finally, stick to the menu. You will inevitably have a day when you will look at your menu and the meal for that day will seem completely unappetizing. Stick to it anyway, it's a meal you like or it wouldn't be on your list. The key right now is to build the habit, and that means sticking to your menu. If creating better eating habits is high on your list of priorities and you know you need extra support to make that happen, reach out to me through email or through the contact page on this site so I can set you up with the tools you need to be successful.

Drink More Water
We all know we need to be drinking plenty of water every day, but many of us have a hard time making it happen. Part of this comes from trying to go from half a cup of water a day to 8 full glasses all at once. This is too drastic of a change, and you are not likely to maintain it for long. Instead, choose a manageable number of glasses to start with. If you only drink one glass of water of day try to increase that to 4. Decide how or when that will happen. Will you have a giant mug that holds 4 cups of water that you will sip on throughout the day? Will you have a set time during the day when you will get up and drink a glass?

It's important to note that if you drink sodas, sports drinks, or energy drinks, I care more that you stop drinking those than about adding glasses of water. Cutting those things out of your diet is usually the first thing I have my clients do.

Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths are a great self-care tool to do at least once per week. An Epsom salt bath relieves muscle tension, provides magnesium to your system, relaxes anxiety, reduces cramps, and aids in detoxing the body. Add one cup Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 10-20min. You can also add 1/4cup baking soda and a drop of essential oils for added therapeutic benefit. Be sure to drink one to two glasses of water after your bath to avoid dehydration and help flush any toxins that were released.

Dry Brushing
Dry Brushing is a technique that aids in the healthy functioning of your lymphatic system by stimulating lymphatic circulation. This helps your body to remove toxins and wastes from your blood stream, supports healthy immune function, and improves overall circulation. If you are sluggish, sick, or fatigued, increasing lymphatic flow is an important step in healing. It is equally important that increasing lymphatic drainage be done gently, and dry brushing is a perfect way to do that. You can purchase a dry brush at any health store or online. Using small, gentle strokes, brush your skin starting at your feet and working your way up your legs to your heart. Do the same with your arms and neck making sure always move towards the heart. You don't have to use a lot of pressure, just gently brush the skin. This is something you can do every day before getting in the shower, it only takes 5 min and it yields dramatic results for your health.

Dark Chocolate
Isn't chocolate great? It has important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and it tastes like heaven. Obviously I'm not telling you to eat an entire bar of chocolate every day, but a square or two of organic dark chocolate is a healthy, indulgent act of both physical and emotional self-care. You're welcome.

5 Minute Mani/Pedi
I LOVE the feeling of soft, silky hands right after doing a little mani/pedi at home. This is a great weekly self-care ritual. All you need is a sugar or salt scrub, and a good moisturizer. You can make a scrub using sugar or salt and your favorite carrier oil, like olive or jojoba, and add a few drops of essential oils for added benefit. Don't just rush through and scrub your hands like they're a dirty dish, massage your skin and send your soul a little love while you do this ritual. After you've rinsed the scrub off, follow with a rich, creamy moisturizer; it should soak right in to you freshly exfoliated skin.

Take a Walk
If you're too tired to think about actual exercise, then consider just taking a daily walk. Anything you can do to get your muscles moving and your blood flowing is going to be helpful. I love taking walks because it helps me process and clear my head. If I'm trying to work on training material for a client, or on a post and I'm stuck, a walk always helps me clear my mind and figure out what my next step is.

10 Minute Yoga Routine
A 10 minute yoga break can increase your circulation, increase oxygen to your brain and muscles, and loosen stiff joints. Simply look up "10 minute yoga break"  on google or YouTube, pick one and do it every day.

Take a Gym Class
If you are not self motivated and you know that you won't keep to an exercise practice at home, then join a gym and sing up for a class. Having a scheduled class that you have signed up and paid for will increase your chances of actually sticking to it.

Deep Breathing
This takes less than a minute and you can do it at a set time every day and also reach for it any time you start to feel overwhelmed. The way I do this is I find a place to sit or lay down where I won't be jumped on by a tiny human, sometimes that means sitting my bathroom with door closed. Now, breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds. As you breathe in imagine the air moving all the way down to the bottom tips of your lungs so that you are filling them all the way up. Then, breathe out for 5 seconds. Don't force the air out, let it flow out of your mouth the way you do when you're trying to see your breath in the cold or fog up a window. Do this 5 times, in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds. That's it 50seconds, less than a minute. It helps ground you back in your body, release stress and tension, and oxygenate your mind and body. After doing this a few times you can play with it a bit to get a better connection to your body. Breathe in and focus on only your front ribs moving out, then breathe into your back focusing on your back ribs moving out, breathe into your stomach, then try letting your whole chest expand, being able to isolate different movements in your body helps you become more grounded and aware of your body's health.

Daily Affirmations
When someone says something to you over and over over, you tend to start believing it. It has a way of creeping under your defenses and lodging itself in your subconscious. That also holds true for the things you say to yourself. Many of us are in the habit of saying mostly negative things to ourselves, which means these negative beliefs are being driven deeper into our minds every day. Affirmations are a way to counteract that by intentionally saying positive things to ourselves over and over and over to replace the negative. The Self-Care Essentials guide has a worksheet for building some affirmations for you to start with. If you don't already have that, you can access it here. The basic process is to take a negative belief that you want to transform, like I can never be healthy, and start telling yourself the opposite several times a day, so "I am capable of health, energy and vitality". Your system will send out bullshit alarms and you'll feel dumb, but just keep it up. There are techniques that can address these limiting beliefs more quickly that I use when I work one-on-one with a client, but this a great starting point.

Gratitude Journal
Chose a journal and put it someplace that you will see it and remember it every day. Next to the coffee tea pot is a great place. Every day write three things you are thankful for. It doesn't have to be profound or even different day to day. By practicing this daily you will build the habit of expressing gratitude, and you will eventually rewire your brain to start looking for the good in things.

Earthing
Earthing is something I do on a regular basis to maintain my sanity. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower stress and improve sleep. It's super easy, all you do is stand barefoot in the grass for a few minutes. Doing this regulates the energy in your body to the energy of the earth. I encourage you to try this at least once per day. Earthing near a tree actually increases the effects. If you don't have a yard or a tree, then go to a nearby park and sit at the base of a tree while you read. If it's too cold to stand barefoot, then you can wear natural fabrics and lay in the grass for a few minutes. If that is not possible either because of weather or you location, then a salt bath is a good alternative.

Keep a Daily Journal
I have a very busy brain. Thoughts fly around in them at the speed of light from the moment I wake up in the morning until I finally fall asleep at night. Journaling helps me pull those thoughts out of my brain and create a bit more space and peace in my head. There is something about expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing that allows you to process and release them. There are no rules when I journal, I simply pull out my pen and write whatever is weighing heaviest on my heart and my head. Sometimes I pour my heart out about how overwhelmed I feel with my life as an entrepreneur/single mom. Sometimes I have a conversation with myself about the merits of plastic versus glass packaging. If it's rattling around in my brain and keeping me from being focused on the present, then it goes in the journal. Try this if you have a busy brain and feel like a little bit of peace and quiet in your head sounds like a good thing.

Be Creative
We have to get out our heads every once in a while, and this is accomplished by getting creative. You can take a dance class, go to a painting and wine night, buy a coloring book for adults (I have 3), dance in your room for 5 min every morning, write a short story. If you are not used to being creative, I encourage you to join a group class or activity. It's so easy to tell yourself that you will start drawing or painting everyday, then talk yourself out of it in the moment. If you have joined a class, then people know when you've skipped and can call you out.

Aromatherapy
Essential oils, herbs, incense and candles are powerful emotional healers. Our sense of smell has a direct connection to our emotions and memories. Lavender, lemon, peppermint, juniper berry, and ylang ylang are my favorite oils to diffuse. Find a scent that calms or uplifts you and fill your home with it.

Join a Community
We are not meant to live life in isolation. One of the most destructive side effects of trauma is isolation, and once you enter into it climbing out is so hard. I still struggle with this and have to be very intentional about putting myself out into the world. Even if you are the world's most introverted introvert, you need connection to others in order to thrive. The key is to get involved in a community enough to start meeting and engaging with people. Join a class, start volunteering with an organization, or get involved in a club or outreach group.

Get Help
Like I just said, we are not meant to do this alone. There are some issues that can be helped by a supportive network of friends and family, and there are others that require help from a professional. You may need a doctor, a therapist, a coach, a healer or any combination of the above. It took me two therapists, three coaches, a chiropractor, a biofeeback specialist and several friends skilled in various healing modalities to get where I am at the time of writing this letter. Getting the right kind of help is the fastest and easiest way to reach your health goals. That doesn't mean it will be easy, just a whole lot easier than if you try it without them.

Mediation
I'll be honest, I'm still learning about mediation. It's something that I know well enough to do the basics on my own, but I am not able to teach it yet. I will share how I use it, and as I grow in this I promise more articles. One form of meditation I do is to simply sit in the floor of my room and breathe. I don't breathe any special way, I just let my breath do what I want while I observe it. Often it will start out with short, quick breaths and as I pay attention to it will zero judgment or expectation the breathing will even out to deeper, longer breaths. Then, I focus on different sections of my body and do the same. I notice my face and head, is there any tension? Am I grinding my teeth or clenching my jaw? I just breathe into this tension and picture it slowly melting and dissipating (I actually learned this technique in dance class growing up, we were trained to be able to isolate one specific muscle at a time). Once my head feel more relaxed I move onto my neck and shoulders. I continue until I have addressed every part of my body. You can also do this laying down and picture the tension in your body running into the floor like liquid running down the sink. Finally, after draining this tension from my system I fill the emptied space with a desired feeling. I will focus on love or peace or health, and I will imagine breathing that into the spaces of my body. This usually takes me about 10-30min depending on how much stress I have to clear first.

To make the most of this list be sure to access the Self-Care Essentials guide .

*Find natural, premium skincare products on our Skin Care Lines page
By Melissa Beasley 27 Oct, 2017

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