Incorporating self care practises into your daily routine helps to lower stress levels, and lowering stress levels has a lovely flow-on effect on our hormones.
Here are 5 free and readily accessible self care practises we love for maximum chill in a low-maintenance kind of way.
1. GET A DAILY DOSE OF SUNLIGHT & FRESH AIR (IN THE MORNING WHEN POSSIBLE)
Taking time each day to get outdoors and soak up the fresh air and natural sunlight is #selfcare for both your body and mind. Those daily walks you loved so much in lockdown? Let’s make them a thing out of lockdown as well.
Taking a walk in nature either alone or with a loved one is not only therapeutic, it’s also a super powerful way to balance our natural cortisol (stress hormone) rhythms.
Hundreds of years ago before our modern-day comforts, there were plenty of cues from our environment that kept our cortisol rising and falling at the right times. The most important of which were the orange light of sunset and bright bluish light of dawn that signalled to the brain that it was time to sleep and time to rise.
These days in our artificially lit homes and offices - changes in natural light are a lot less obvious, but we can still reap the benefits. Exposing yourself to morning light within an hour of waking each morning can help to set you up for the day by boosting your energy, mood and brain power.
Make it a habit and report back!
2. GET YOUR YOGI ON WITH ‘LEGS UP THE WALL’
Technically a yoga pose, known as ‘Viparita Karani’, this one really is as simple as it sounds - yet super effective.
Lying on your back with your legs resting up a wall is incredibly calming on the nervous system. You will likely find that in this position, you automatically drop into a slower and deeper pattern of breathing, and feel relaxed very quickly.
This position also increases blood flow to your digestive and reproductive organs, which can help to ease bloating and period cramps. Try doing it before bed to support deep, restorative sleep, 5-10 minutes is all it takes.
3. SAY NO - AND DANCE IN THE SPACE YOU CREATE
JOMO is the new FOMO. The joy of missing out is oh so sweet. Get comfortable saying no, putting yourself first and doing so without guilt.
Just because you’re technically not ‘busy’ with something else, doesn’t mean you have to say yes to every invite you get. Obviously there are times when you’ve got to be there for your friends and family, but there are also times where you can give it a miss and recharge your energy instead—it’s all about picking and choosing accordingly.
Don’t feel guilty if someone invites you to do something and you turn them down in order to stay home and bake or read or do the laundry. That time is golden, and it’s yours.
4. SORT OUT YOUR SLEEP - THE ULTIMATE CHILL
Sleep is one of the best natural healers around, plus the magic moment of calm and contentment after waking from a 10/10 sleep is kinda hard to beat.
To support the long, deep, delicious kind of sleep dreams are made of, try the following:
- We know it’s boring but seriously, put your phone on flight mode at 9pm on the other side of the room (or even better, in another room) and don’t touch it until the next day.
- Use a dim bedside light, or better yet use a salt lamp or candles to light your bedroom.
- Read a good book to help calm your mind, while lying on your bed with your legs up the wall.
- Get a good quality magnesium supplement (we are beyond obsessed with All Systems Glow) or have an epsom salt bath before bed.
- Invest in good quality, soft, breathable sheets. Overheating is not sleep’s friend.
- Even small amounts of light can disrupt melatonin production (your sleepy hormone) so make sure your room is dark and cover any lights from TVs, electric clocks etc.
Thank us when you wake up.
5. GIVE YOUR MIND A BREAK WITH A DIGITAL DETOX
When was the last time you switched your smartphone off? And no—a dead battery doesn’t count! Most of us probably can’t remember.
Our devices are really quite demanding creatures with notifications pinging left, right and centre. While staying up to date with our friends, family and favourite brands (*cough* Eve *cough*) is great, being constantly connected and reachable is one of the most energy-zapping phenomena of our modern world.
Consider trying a ‘digital detox’ over a weekend. You might be surprised how much time and energy you free up for other areas of your life.