“We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges”
I’m always talking about how important it is to take good care of our skin, our hair and our bodies. I create products that nourish and replenish all aspects of our outer bodies with carefully chosen ingredients to give you a quality product that you can you depend on. For so long I’ve focused on the outer self I was overlooking the inner. Lately I’ve been focused on putting myself first which made me slow down and take a deep dive into the topic of self care.
Self care. It’s such a buzz topic, and it’s seen all over social media but what does it actually mean? And is it important? Let me tell you firsthand, self care is the real deal. I know its important because I recently suffered from a serious health problem brought on by way too much stress in my life. I was focused on everything except myself; being a mom, my business, my to-do list, perfectionism, building a brand and my family. I was silently collapsing inside and I didn’t even know it. What I didn’t realize is that stress needs an outlet and if you don’t give it one, it can present itself in your life through many forms and for me that outlet was a tumor on my liver.
To be honest, I don’t think I would have slowed down unless I was forced to, and this seemingly horrible health problem was actually one of the more eye-opening things that’s happened in my life. For the first time in years, I was forced to slow down and take a deep look at myself and I’m not going to lie, it was terrifying at first. I’m of the mindset and lifestyle of “more more more” no matter the situation, I guess you can call that an addictive personality, so when I stopped feeding the inner “monster” the tasks, and to-do lists, I was able to stop spinning my wheels and meet a calm, relaxed, clearer version of myself who I actually fucking love, and I’m 100% for it!
To experience the level of growth I’ve been having has taken time and dedication. I’ve implemented daily practices into my life that I’d consider my “self care regime” and I put these practices before anything else. It’s taken a lot of work and commitment but for the first time, I’ve finally started to release my personal criticisms and ideals of perfection and it feels damn good and liberating. I’ve found such amazing success with my self care routine, I want to share it with you in hopes you can take a piece of this and apply it to your life, because lets face it, it’s a noisy world and we could all use a little more peace and quiet. There is no right or wrong way to do any of the practices I’ve listed below, in fact it’s more about the journey and discovery than the end result. Now that I sound like a total hippy, onto my daily practices.
Quieting our minds through mindfulness
Photo by Madison Lavern on Unsplash
Mindfulness mediation is a practice that saved my sanity and has become one of my top self care activities. When I was dealing with my health issue, I was in a complete state of limbo desperately seeking answers, and experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress. Mindfulness is the practice of being and becoming aware through stillness and silence and I could not have found this practice at a better time in my life. The most challenging thing I found with mindfulness was that it felt like I was doing it incorrectly, turns out I was wrong. The good thing is that discovery is part of the process and there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness mediation. When I started to learn more about mediation and its self care benefits, I was amazed to find out that it can also create a healthier brain. Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a licensed psychologist based in New York, told Medical News Today "Meditation, when practiced regularly, can rewire the neural pathways in the brain. Studies indicate that meditating even 20 minutes per day for a few weeks was already enough to start experiencing the benefits," she explained”. If you’d like, you can read the full article here.
Here are some tips for mediation:
• Find a quiet space
• Get in a comfortable position, usually sitting upright.
• Relax your body and jaw
• Notice your breath
• Take in 3 deep breaths through your nose, exhale
• Become aware of yourself
• Acknowledge thoughts and go back into your practice
I personally love using apps on my phone to meditate. It makes mediation easy, giving you the option to track your progress and choose your mediation style. I prefer guided mediation led by an instructor, but you can choose whatever works best for you. Two great apps for mediation that can be found in the app store are Calm and Insight Timer.
Making a self care journal
Photo by Beatriz Perez Moya on Unsplash
I’m always writing something; emails, newsletter, blog posts, articles, social media content etc., but what I didn’t notice was that I was never writing for myself. What I mean by this is that I wasn’t using writing as a reflection or visualization tool for my personal life. I love my journal and it gives me the power to have free thought and write about anything I’m feeling at the moment. It’s a powerful tool that lets me go pen to paper and create clear goals while expressing my thoughts and feelings in a way I wouldn’t do anywhere else. When you take time for yourself and start expressing your state of mind, you’ll start to notice your stress levels reduce and you become more creative in ways you never thought possible. Your self care journal is also the perfect space to express gratitude which I’ll touch on below.
If you’re interested in journaling and would like a more guided approach check out Morning Pages by Julia Cameron (who I love) and the 5 Minute Journal. I love writing in something that is beautiful and inspires me so find a journal or notebook that you love and go for it!
Photo by Asoggetti on Unsplash
Exercise is a no brainer and still so many of us don’t make the time for it. It’s not that we don’t have the time, it’s that we don’t prioritize exercise and it falls by the wayside. Remember that this blog post is all about putting ourselves first and that includes our health, which means daily exercise. For me personally, an hour a day of moderate exercise was a good starting point to get me into a routine. I was doing zero exercise in 2017/2018 because I was “too busy” with everything else and my ass has literally paid the consequences for it. I went from being a size 8 to a size 16 in a matter of two years, WTF. That is crazy! What the hell was I thinking and why did I stop caring about my health? Well, other things became a priority and something on the list had to go so I choose fitness and I paid for it.
What I’ve recently realized is that I love exercise, I missed it, and it’s easy to implement as part of your self care routine if you schedule it in. All you have to do is pick up your phone, block out an hour of time for exercise and set a daily reminder to keep you accountable. If you have trouble with following through, hire a trainer, join a group class or grab a friend who can act as an accountability partner.
Running every morning has become my go to self care activity for exercise. It’s easy to do, I can run anywhere, and it’s taught me amazing self discipline.
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
I’ve noticed people discussing conscious eating all over social media, but I never understood what it meant until recently. I’m the type of girl who wouldn’t eat all day, come home from work and scarf down a bag of Tostitos (‘cause lets be real, the good chips have already been eaten) while cooking dinner for my family. I was loading on all the calories right before bed and not even blinking an eye.
Conscious eating is the practice of paying attention to what you’re eating and how you’re eating it. Instead of eating in a hurry and rushing your meals, enjoy foods that are nourishing for your body. Take the time to appreciate the food your eating and noticing the smells, textures and color. When you stop eating mindlessly and pay attention, you’ll start to notice that food tastes better and you’re probably not as hungry as you think you are all the time.
I’ve found that eating 5 small meals per day has been very helpful in helping me curve my cravings and the night binge. I love meal prepping for the week ahead which makes it easier to eat foods that are healthier and nourishing.
I love adding a green superfood smoothie to my morning routine after I come back from a run. It is so nourishing for my digestive system and does wonders for my complexion!
Here is the recipe for my go-to smoothie blend:
• 2 handfuls of spinach + kale
• 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
• 1 tablespoon of almond butter
• .5 banana
• 1 teaspoon chia seeds
• 1 teaspoon hemp hearts
• 1 teaspoon flax seeds
• 1 teaspoon maca
• 1 teaspoon goji berries
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
I could not be more grateful. When I found out I had a tumor on my liver last Fall they originally thought I may have cancer. I had a ton of hospital, lab and Dr’s appointments where they performed X-rays, blood tests, and a surgery which eventually ruled out cancer and removed the begin tumor from my liver. My mom flew to Vancouver from Halifax for 6 weeks to help us while I recovered and got back on my feet. I look at this experience and think of how grateful I am for all the people who surround me and the amazing things I have in my life today. I’m so appreciative and urge you to use gratitude so you can experience a positive shift in your well being and emotions. Find an authentic way to get into the daily habit of expressing what you are thankful for. What time of day can you put aside for this self care practice? Is it first thing in the morning? Right before bed? It’s as easy as taking 1-2 minutes to write it in your self care journal or you can show gratitude through acts of kindness. There are so many ways to express it, so find what way works best for you and try to be thankful for new things everyday.
Coaching and Guidance
I highly recommend making an investment in yourself and hiring a coach. I didn’t magically find all these practices online and immediately implement them into my daily routine. When I felt like everything around me was crashing, I hired a coach and I haven’t looked back. My coach empowers me and has cleared the way for me to see the potential I was overlooking in myself.
If you’re interested in learning more about guidance and coaching, check out the Sphere app where they match you with a guide based on your needs.
The biggest learning lesson I can take from this experience is that I wasn’t living a life where I was present or self-aware. I was living in hyperdrive and it caused me to crash. Moving forward I plan to grow and work on myself, my businesses and my family life in a more clear, refined way.
*All of the opinions and recommendations expressed are my own and I am not a paid affiliate for any of the companies.