Have the past couple of weeks been rough for anyone else? Whether you've had a doozy of a week, are at your breaking point, still diligently working on that "take care of myself first" New Year's Resolution, or are just looking for any excuse to treat yo' self, take some time to indulge yourself in one (or many) of these self-care activities:
- Whip out one of those slightly extra beauty tools you got as a gift -- dry brush, jade facial roller, rose quartz gua sha stone, that kind of thing -- and give yourself the extra 5-10 minutes it takes to include them in your routine. All of these trendy tools have health benefits like reducing inflammation and increasing blood circulation while also providing a mindful activity that connects you to your body and gives you a moment to yourself. They're also all made from natural materials!
- Make yourself a DIY face or hair mask. One of our favorites is a face mask made from 1 part raw organic honey and 1 part apple cider vinegar (take our word for it, the organic actually makes a difference here!). The apple cider vinegar balances the ph of your skin while the honey has antibacterial and healing properties that do wonders for acne and acne scars and simultaneously moisturizes your face. So simple and so effective! Hair masks can also be super simple -- just one ingredient like coconut oil can work magic!
- Treat yourself to a massage or acupuncture. You can often find great and relatively inexpensive local options, and your health insurance might even cover it for you! Otherwise, you can try asking a significant other or friend to do it for you (massage, not acupuncture!).
- Paint your nails while watching a movie or show you have and could watch a million times. Let the many adventures of Jennifer Aniston wash all your worries away, and paint your nails with a toxin-free nail polish like one from Palate Polish or Tenoverten.
- Take a silent, phoneless walk in nature. If it's not too cold, stop and sit for a while, just observing and listening. Reconnect with your roots. You'll see.
- Go to the movies alone. Sitting in an actual theater without any other distractions can help you get really sucked into the story. Doing that and empathizing with someone else's problems for an hour or two has a great way of putting your own problems into perspective or at least relieving you from having to think about them for a while.
- Dedicate a few hours or the whole day to reading. Some of you don't need this suggestion and aren't as tempted to spend a little too much time scrolling Instagram. Anyone else only really read in short spurts like before bed or on the bus with the occasional long stretch on an airplane? Maybe today's the day to finish or start that book that's been staring at you on your nightstand for longer than you'd like to admit.
- Do nothing else but listen to music for an hour. Remember back in the day when people would all gather around their record players or radios and just listen together? Like not just to have on as background music? I don't because I was not alive then, but I love the concept! Focusing on any one thing at a time is good for your brain, and we do it surprisingly little these days. Get our your favorite album (or search for one on Spotify), sit back and just listen, noticing all the instruments, listening to all the words, and feeling all the feels.
- Cry. Just in case you've been kind of needing to but haven't gotten around to it. (No? Just me?) Sometimes you do it, and afterward, you're like, "Whoa, all better."
- Hang out with your people. The ones you can be totally weird and raw and yourself with. Sometimes we forget how many great people we have in our lives, and realizing how lucky we are to have them puts all the other crappiness in perspective.
- Make your favorite food. Oo yeah do it!
- Get in your flow. What's that thing you love where you lose track of time and aren't thinking about anything else and get so much life from doing it? Painting? Karaoke? Writing? Learning Beyoncé choreography? Soccer? Board games? Playing an instrument? Coding? Planning trips? Inventing stuff? Ok, I can't guess. You're hard. But do that thing!
- Make a list of things you're grateful for. Try to do 10! Write it down or don't, your choice. This is a great thing to do on a weekly or even daily basis. Positive psychology shows that gratitude can make a big impact on our sense of well-being. The more you do it, the better you feel.
- Meditate. Be silent for a while. Pray. Whatever is most comfortable for you, do that. Focus on your breath or repeat a mantra you need to remind yourself of right now -- "I am perfect as I am," "I am grateful for all the blessings in my life," or "I have the power to manifest the life I want." Guided meditations are easy to find on YouTube if you don't know where to start, and we love Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21-Day Meditation challenges. There are also great apps like Buddhify and Headspace that have lots of options to choose from.
What do you really want to do right now? It's easy to feel at the mercy of our endless to-do lists and constantly be thinking of ways to fill up our spare time "productively." Give yourself a day or at least a few hours to do exactly what you feel like doing with zero guilt. Don't wait for a vacation. Give yourself today.