Taking care of ourselves has become a luxury – especially through a pandemic during which we are managing more things (and people) than ever before! These days, we have to find and make time to tend to our own needs and desires. When we don’t set aside time to take care of ourselves, we feel guilty and selfish. It’s now time to now change this thought process – self-care is not selfish! Rather, it is vital to our wellbeing and essential in being able to well service our clients.
There are many simple self-care techniques we can add to our daily routines. Engaging in quiet time, eating stress-fighting foods and protecting our energy are fundamental in keeping our minds, bodies and spirits at optimal levels. Each day, try and add some of the following self-care techniques to your schedule:
Practice gratitude – Practicing gratitude is a sure-fire way to feel good and relieve stress. Noticing and reflecting upon the things you’re thankful increases happiness, lifts emotions, improves quality of sleep and strengthens the immune system. Each morning, while you’re brushing your teeth, think of five to ten things you’re grateful for. Before going to sleep, write down things you experienced during the day you’re thankful for. By connecting with these positive thoughts in the morning, you set yourself up for a joyful day. By thinking of the things you’re thankful for before going to sleep, you calm your system, relieve stress and prep your mind and body for sound sleep.
- •Exercise — Believe it or not (or should I say like it or not?) exercise is a form of self-care? Exercising increases endorphins in the body, improving mood and positivity. Exercise also strengthens the immune system and increases energy – very important to beauty pros who are constantly in interaction with others and spend hours on their feet. Devote at least 30 minutes a day doing some type of physical activity that increases your heart rate. And, for an added benefit, exercise outside!
- •Incorporate nuts — Walnuts, cashews and a variety of other nuts are huge stress relievers and are an easy addition to your daily self-care regimen. Nuts are high in magnesium, Vitamin B6, fiber and healthy fats, all which support wellness. Eat a handful of nuts daily and you’ll decrease the negative effects of stress on the body and you’ll increase serotonin levels – which a lack of can make you feel down, moody and tired.
- •Get adequate sleep – Sleep is one of the most important and critical aspects of self-care. Our bodies go through so many processes during sleep – from detox to rejuvenation, to healing. Getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night is one of the most important things you can do to take care of both, your mind and body. And a lack of adequate sleep creates stress in the body while also being a catalyst for the onset of dis-ease.
- •Meditation practice – Meditation doesn’t need to be a long, drawn out activity that requires diligent concentration or effort. Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day listening to sounds of nature, praying or reciting positive affirmations. Do this in the morning, at night before bed or any other time you can incorporate the practice into your schedule. The point is to have 10-15 minutes of a calm, quiet break, without distractions. As your practice develops, you will notice an increase in calmness and control over your thoughts. You will also feel more grounded, secure and comfortable in your body.
- •Add more fruits and veggies – Mother Nature has given us exactly what we need to improve our health and wellness. This includes fruits and vegetables like berries, oranges, avocado, asparagus, and spinach. Berries and other fruits high in vitamin C increase serotonin in the brain, combatting stress. Antioxidants and phytonutrients in vegetables fight environmental stressors. Dark green vegetables contain folate and B vitamins that are essential to good health. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is an important part of self-care as it provides the mind and body with the nutrients and vitamins needed to feel and look good.
- •Protect your energy – Our energy is our most important asset. Spend time with those who support and encourage you to be your best. Know when to step away from people (including clients!) who drain you. If you’re engaging with people or find yourself in situations that are harmful or negative, it’s ok to distance yourself. Another draining activity many of us engage in is watching the news without breaks, particularly before bed. Stop! If you watch the news, do it during the day and for a short amount of time. Unfortunately, the news is filled with sad or angering stories that increase our stress levels and disrupt our peace of mind.
- •Unplug – We are constantly “available” and connected through technology and unplugging has never been more important. Take a break from your phone and from scrolling through Facebook or Instagram for a set amount of time each day. This break will help increase your confidence, decrease feelings of “missing out” and boost self-confidence. Studies show that constant scrolling and being plugged in can harm relationships, foster feelings of jealousy and depress interpersonal skills. Most importantly, unplugging at least one hour before bed is a critical self-care technique. The light emitted by phones and computers can mess with our circadian rhythms and can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
We constantly give to our loved ones and clients, but need to make sure that we also take care of ourselves because pouring from an empty cup is impossible! Plus, when we don’t take care of ourselves, our immune systems take a hit – and we want our immune systems to be as strong as possible to withstand the wrath of Covid-19. Remind yourself daily that self-care is not selfish, and please, take time to engage in activities that calm your mind, energize your body and boost your spirit. If you’re looking for self-care techniques and tips, be sure to follow me on IG @Tashvibe13!