In a culture that glorifies stress it can be a challenge to slow down. Too often we equate being busy and exhausted with being productive and along the way, we’ve lost the art of taking care of ourselves. When it comes to self-care too many people see it as just another thing to cross off their ever-growing to-do list. So how can you prioritize yourself when society encourages you to glorify busy and pushes you to your limits?
To start, I find it important to redefine what self-care means. Most people hear the term “self-care” and think massages, facials or some luxurious means of pampering. And while massages are a fabulous treat and easily accessible here in Orange County, that’s not all that self-care entails. Self-care can be as simple as drinking a cup of tea and reading a book during your lunch break or going on a 30-minute walk on the beach each day. It’s unique to each person and when done consistently, it doesn’t actually require much time or effort.
In the spirit of keeping it simple we’ve come up with a few easy, DIY self-care items that will create consistent space for you to slow down and relax. Whether you’ve reached critical care mode or just need a self-care tune up, these 4 steps will do the trick.
A Spa’s Best Friend
As Rose Lindsey from “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” quipped, “Every woman over 25 should have a cucumber in the house”... we couldn’t agree more. The cucumber is a spa’s best friend for a reason.
Slice some up and put it in your water along with some mint or strawberries for a delightful infused pick me up. Staying hydrated is an important aspect of self-care as many of our body’s regular functions require adequate hydration. Not to mention the impact dehydration can have on pregnancy and postpartum health.
Don’t forget to keep some of those slices to put over your eyes.
Cucumbers are full of antioxidants, potassium, vitamin e and vitamin k, making it a great addition to any self-care routine.
Take a Dip
The beauty and simplicity of a hot bath is truly underrated if you ask me. Not only is water known to be therapeutic, the simple act of being horizontal has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Additionally, warmth and heat are essential in relieving muscle tension from pregnancy, nursing, or running after your active toddler.
And not that you need it, but regular hot baths, specifically before bedtime have been associated with more restful sleep. You get now why we give kids baths at the end of the day?!
Remember those cucumber slices we set aside when making our spa-inspired infusion? Slap those puppies over your eyes and sink in. Dim the lights, light a lavender scented candle and you might mistake your own bathroom for the spa at Burke Williams!
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of coffee. Seriously, it’s all over our Instagram page. We go through so many coffee grounds that we could probably start our own skin-care line with the fabulous scrubs we could produce.
Similar to the cucumber, coffee is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. When used as a scrub it can reduce the appearance of cellulite, tighten and tone your skin, and is a wonderful way to get soft, supple skin. Not to mention the scent and exfoliating effect can be extremely invigorating.
Coffee grounds make an incredible base for a body scrub and we can pretty much guarantee you have all the ingredients right there in your kitchen. All you need is 3 tablespoons of fresh or pre-used coffee grounds, 2 tablespoons of finely grained sugar, and 1 tablespoon of oil (we love coconut oil!) - mix together and scrub away.
Sounds of Silence
In a world full of overstimulation, it can be a challenge to escape the sights and sounds of a busy life. Being a parent makes it even harder. Even if your kids are asleep, the phantom cries make it almost impossible to tune out the noise and truly relax.
Soft music or nature sounds are optimal choices to destress and let the worries of the world slip into the background. If you’re a lyrics person, Bon Iver is a favorite. If not, there are an ample number of white noise apps on your phone to use not only for your own self, but for your fussy baby or toddler too.
Music not cutting it? Invest in some ear plugs. Seriously.
There you have it. Four simple steps to enhance your self-care routine. We tried all four with no preparation whatsoever. It took a whole 10 minutes to slice the cucumbers, mix up the coffee scrub, prepare the bath, and find some good music.
We told you it was easy.
No excuses, ok? Do this for yourself, tonight. Tomorrow at the latest. Add it to your calendar if you have to. Relish in how simple it is. Experience how relaxed you feel after these 4 easy self-care steps.
And stay tuned for more ways to add to your self-care routine, ‘cause we have lots to share!