It’s Summertime, so Let’s Make our Self-Care Super Simple (even fun?!)
Self-care is a bit of a buzzword these days. We hear a lot about it (and for good reason I guess!). Tips and tricks abound to help us refine our self-care. In fact there’s so much information about it, that we could easily get lost in trying to determine the perfect self-care plan.
And if you’re anything like me, if you have TOO MUCH information, sometimes you just do…nothing.
But I really like to get to the heart of things. So after I get over the initial paralysis of information overload, I eventually get out my metaphorical shovel and start digging to determine what the root of something is.
When it comes to self-care, it’s no different.
And I particularly like to address the idea of self-care in July, as it’s one of those times of year when it can be the HARDEST to actually take care of ourselves. Like we’ve mentioned before…summer can get real busy.
We don’t exactly mean for this to happen.
We start summer with the best of intentions to relax, to slow down and experience the joy that warmth and sunshine brings, and to savor every moment.
Then our calendars slowly start to fill up with parties, events, barbecues, trips to the cabin, trips to our friend’s cabins, family in town, friends in town, summer vacations – and oh yeah, we still have a job and family responsibilities to attend to!
Sometimes I find myself thinking: man, is fall here yet? When will it all slow down??
(Also I’m obsessed with fall, but more on that later).
Because we’re so busy in the summer, this becomes the ultimate time to remember to focus on our own self-care. I know, add one more thing to your to-do list…just what you need, right?!
But if we neglect our own self-care, it comes back to bite us when we start to experience fatigue, burnout, overwhelm and frustration.
But don’t worry, we can keep it really simple.
So, recently a friend asked me for the one singular thing I recommend for making a difference in our health and happiness. And for me, that’s my Gratitude Journal, and I can honestly recommend this as a useful practice for nearly every single human out there.
Two weeks ago on the New Moon, we talked a lot about Gratitude and how to cultivate more gratitude in our minds, our hearts, and our bodies. (Need a reminder? Go here.)
As I started to think more about my practice of gratitude journaling and more about the idea of simple self-care for the summer, I decided I wanted to get out that metaphorical shovel and start digging into my own routines to find the heart of my personal self-care – those things that have become so simple and second-nature that I barely even think of them as self-care anymore.
The simplest of things that become routine, like brushing your teeth, only more fun.
Today’s Full Moon is another perfect opportunity to reconnect with or begin a practice of gratitude, and it’s also a powerful time for some inner work and healing.
I encourage you to read through my list below and adopt even just one self-care practice for yourself this summer.
These may not seem like second-nature just yet, but remind yourself that even brushing your teeth was once a huge and arduous task – and look at you now! Twice a day even.
These will become just like that with a little practice, I promise.
The Heart of My Own Personal Self-Care:
Simple Practices for Nourishing Mind/Body/Soul
1. Gratitude Journal
Buy a journal that is SMALL. That way, it won’t feel like a big task. I end up writing about 3-5 sentences (or sometimes one enormous run-on sentence – but this isn’t the time to be critical of grammar!). Tell yourself you don’t have to write in it every night, but aim for most nights. For me, it’s about 5 nights a week right before bed and the whole thing takes about 5 minutes.
Tip: Don’t over-complicate it – start by writing down one thing that went really well that day, or one thing you’re grateful for in your life in general.
2. Drink Tea
As you may have gathered, I like tea. Usually I’m a big snob about fancy loose-leaf teas, but one of my all-time favorites isn’t even a real tea from the tea plant, it’s an Indian herb called Tulsi. Tulsi is an adaptogen, so it helps your body with whatever it is struggling with. It’s particularly respected for its ability to help reduce stress and support the immune system.
It is also one of my favorite teas for making iced tea! Drinking iced Tulsi in the summer can help me feel more clear-headed and energized, and it doesn’t even contain caffeine.
Tip: Making your own iced tulsi is quick and easy. Check out these step-by-step photo instructions and you’ll be all set in no time.
3. Make Time for Silence
People think I’m real weird when I disclose that oftentimes when driving alone in my car I choose to listen to…nothing. I don’t always keep it silent, sometimes I listen to tunes or a favorite podcast. But lately I’ve found more and more that I appreciate the time for silence. I like to see what’s going on in my mind and my emotions and it can be a good time to let some of that process and move on through instead of trying to cover it up by making myself feel something else all together. Then when I arrive at my next destination, I feel a little bit more centered.
Tip: You don’t have to be silent the WHOLE time – try a few minutes and take a few deep breaths, then switch over to your tunes.
4. Bedtime Yin Yoga
If you’ve been to one of my yin yoga classes, I’m not joking when I say that there are certain poses I do when I get into bed every night. Saddle Pose and Reclining Butterfly are my favorites because they mostly involve the lower body, so the upper body is still free to read! Two weeks ago I gave you the inside scoop on Reclining Butterfly Pose (full details here). This pose feels so good to release the hips, legs, and low back, plus it energetically helps to clear out the Kidney and Liver channels along the insides of the legs to help replenish spent energy and release any anger or frustration from the day.
Tip: Just focus on the legs (put the soles of the feet together and voila). The upper body can lean against your bed pillow and practice the “I’m reading a book pose” as demonstrated by our model above!
5. Be more ME (but for you, be more YOU):
Two years ago, I came across this quote in a journal I was writing in:
“I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Part of it is just learning what makes me happier and doing more of it, and learning what makes me unhappier and doing less of it.”
I wrote a big YES underneath it, and I haven’t ever forgotten it. On the one hand, it’s kind of duh, yet on the other hand this can be the hardest piece of self-care to really put into practice.
For me, I started on some pretty deep and targeted personal development work to understand more about who I really was, and had the ability to make some drastic changes to the design of my life, such as starting my own business. Not everyone has the luxury of a health challenge that completely stops you in your tracks. This is what allowed me to stop and start anew. But it doesn’t have to be THAT drastic; you can keep it really simple!
Tip: Make a list of 5 things that make you really happy, joyful or fulfilled, and 5 things that make you feel annoyed, heavy or overwhelmed. Find a way to increase just 1 happy item, and to decrease just 1 unhappy item.
Here’s to savoring every moment, and to taking the time to nourish yourself this summer – body, mind, and soul.