Implementing self-care habits can create a harmonious way of life, by bringing our energy and focus to our health and wellbeing. We are often taught that compassion and kindness are about giving to others, but we must first do so for ourselves in order to understand the meaning of these. Only by honouring our own existence, we can do so for others also. Regardless of how busy life can get, your priority should always be on your health, because if you are feeling good, then the quality of your life matches this. Whilst there are many different ways you can create a self-care routine, here are just a few that are easy to integrate throughout your daily schedule.
Daily sesame oil self-abhyanga
Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic body massage that focuses on bringing the whole body in balance. Ayurveda is known as the oldest medical system in the world, dating back to 7000 years ago and originally practiced in the Vedic culture. Whilst the treatment is done by a qualified practitioner, we can also replicate a small part of it into our daily routine. This can be done in the morning or before bed, however, traditionally it is recommended every morning to create a sense of grounding in the body and stillness to the mind. In doing so, you are starting the day with love and kindness as you focus on your wellbeing. Sesame oil is detoxifying as it removes toxins from the surface of the skin, so it’s a great way to give your skin a good cleanse. But it is important to wash it off after about 10 minutes using warm water. Start by applying sesame oil to your hair, face, ears and the rest of the body. Create circular movements around the joint areas, such as the wrists, elbows, knees, shoulders, hips and ankles and upward movement of the palm on all other parts. Sesame oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and leaves a beautiful glow to the skin. It has a heating quality, so it will warm up your muscles and joints, a perfect way to start the day.
Nourish your digestive system
The foods we eat play a vital role in our overall well-being. Respecting yourself and honouring your body and mind means that you also pay attention to your diet and its nutritional value. We often think of food as a comfort factor to our emotional state, however, food is simply the fuel to our body. When we start to think of it as this, we start to give our body what it needs to be healthy, strong and perform well. Everybody is different, so start to pay attention to how your own body reacts to specific foods. Just because an apple is labelled as healthy, it doesn’t mean that it suits your current digestive state also. Start to listen and connect with your body more when eating. Notice how you feel after different foods and how your digestion is. A healthy, strong digestion is when you can wake up and release stools without any stimulants. This shows that your body is digesting the food well overnight. Feed yourself everything that your body requires to feel healthy, function well and have the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Setting your intention for the day
How we choose to begin every day has a great impact on how it will actually be. From the moment we wake up, the mind can start the non-stop chatter and before we even leave the house, we’ve already exhausted ourselves with unnecessary self-created scenarios. A morning habit to start practicing daily is to nurture your mind by setting an intention for the day ahead and taking a few moments to meditate on this. Affirmations are effective and they really work wonders once we start to believe what we affirm to ourselves. Feed your mind with positive intentions which empower you to love and accept yourself unconditionally, to manifest your purpose and to embrace your unique self. Affirmations should always be said in the present moment, giving your unconscious mind the motivation to believe it and start working towards making it happen. They are reminders that anything is possible but also have strong influence on the type of energy we give out and are open to receive.
Joint mobilisation and light stretching
The most loving thing you can do for your body after you wake up in the morning is to stretch and move. Joint mobilisation exercises boost blood circulation in the body and release the stiffness created in the joints during our sleep. These are best done in a gentle way and you don’t need a lot of space to do so. This daily habit can increase the overall flexibility in your body, and open up any energetic blocked areas. By becoming more physically flexible, the mind also opens and becomes more adaptable to changes or new ways of doing or seeing things. Feeling good in your own body is empowering and it can lead to a more harmonious relationship you have with your whole self.
Slow flow hatha yoga practice
Hatha yoga is the 3 rd limb of the 8 limbs of yoga and it refers to the physical practice, meaning all poses. By practicing it, we purify the physical body and create space in the body and the mind in order to reach a state on inner balance. We also begin to understand our body better and form a beautiful relationship with all parts of the self-based on respect, unconditional love and acceptance. Sometimes the body needs a more vigorous practice, other times a slower one so it’s good to check in with yourself and see what your body needs at the time. But incorporating slow yoga flow at least once a week will slow you down and bring more stillness to your body, mind and soul. When we are still, we can gain more clarity in the mind and reset ourselves. A slow flow encourages us to be gentle with ourselves and to let go of any expectation. We learn to surrender to this present moment, release any emotional or physical tension, and take some quiet time to go within, reflect and reset.
About the Author
Miriam Indries is a published author, yoga and meditation teacher, passionate about holistic healing. She is also a qualified Ayurveda Practitioner and NLP coach. A keen traveller, wondering soul and student of life, Miriam is the creator of Self-Elevation.com, online platform empowering others to find their greatness.