As our regular readers know, The Always Hungry Solution is about so much more than food. We want you to develop a healthy relationship with your daily meals, but we also want you to tune into your sleep cycle, your mental health, and your self-care routine. You don’t need to schedule a week’s long vacation in order to de-stress though. In fact, sometimes all that planning and forced fun can leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation! It is far easier and more productive to include three 1-minute stress relief techniques in each day. That’s only 3 minutes per day that you need to work into your schedule! You can do it!
Self-care is extremely important in maintaining a healthy body, and although we definietly advocate for simple pleasures like our Lavender Foot Soak (see below or Always Delicious page 77), we also know that self-care is so much more than spa treatments. Doing a face mask every night won’t necessarily heal your soul or bring peace to your life, but if you never do a face mask (or other self-care technique), you won’t be maximizing your mind and body’s ability to work together to create an environment of total health.
Simple Steps for Self-Care
Self-care is an important topic in our books (see pages 122 to 127 in Always Hungry and 77 to 79 in Always Delicious), but we wanted to add a few more thoughts here. We find that these simple steps for self-care make our lives much more fulfilling and easier to handle. Let us know in the comments what your favorite self-care habits are!
First and foremost, try to get a full night’s sleep each night (or as many nights per week as you can). Some people ignore this advice simply because their lives are so hectic that they feel like sleep is the only thing they can cut from their schedule. However, a good night’s sleep is vital. Running on 3 hours of sleep will slow progress towards your wellness goals. Some thrive on only 6 – 7 hours of sleep, while others need a solid 9. Listen to your body to figure out what you need to function at your highest level and allow yourself those hours of uninterrupted sleep. You deserve it!
Breathe deeply for 60 seconds. Close your eyes and fully focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel your lungs inflate and deflate, filling your body with air all the way to your belly. Not only will this physically calm your body, it will also focus your attention away from your stressors for a few moments.
Take a two minute vacation. Schedule time to get up from your desk and walk to the window, or head outside if you can. Allow yourself to fully experience your surroundings. Feel the breeze (or air conditioning). Listen to the chatter of coworkers or dinging of an intercom. Take a moment to appreciate the architecture of the building. You don’t need to try to involve yourself in the chaos, simply acknowledge it. This is a great time to practice those deep breaths.
And as always, dedicate a little time and mental energy each day to preparing satisfying meals for your body. Meal planning doesn’t need to be time consuming! Learn to meal plan in minutes here!
How to Make Self-Care a Habit
The best way to incorporate a new habit into your life is to link it to something you already do each day. For example, every time you brush your teeth, rub some essential oils onto your wrists or the soles of your feet. If you watch the news or a favorite television program in the evenings, soak your feet while you watch. During the workday, each time you get up to use the restroom, add a lap around the office or take 5 deep breaths before you head back to your desk. You’ll be a master of self-care in no time!
DIY Spa Treatments
Spa treatments have been very popular lately as a way to treat yourself as you care for your well-being, but you don’t need to splurge on expensive spas or at-home treatments. You can whip up a simple egg yolk face mask from an extra yolk that you didn’t use at breakfast! You can also simply focus on your breathing and daily grounding exercises, or soak your feet in warm water. Whatever works best for your life is the best choice.
Lavender Foot Soak
Keep a bucket in the living room and watch TV while you soak your feet! It’ll be just like bringing the spa home. You can also try this at your desk or even at dinner. Whatever works! Using salt is optional; try it with and without to see which supports you best. You will need:
1 large bath towel
1 large plastic tub that will fit your feet immersed in water
3 to 6 quarts of warm or hot water (whatever feels best to you)
1/2 cup sea salt or Epsom salt (optional)
3 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil
Cream or lotion (optional)
Find a place that has enough room for you to comfortably sit with the plastic tub in front of you. Place the bath towel, folded in half, on the floor in front of your seat. Then, fill the plastic tub with water from the bathtub or sink, leaving enough room for your feet to be submerged without spilling the water, usually about halfway up the side of the tub. Center the tub of water on the towel, leaving room to blot your feet dry on either side of the tub.
Add the salt and a few drops of essential oil. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes as you relax. Blot your feet dry on the towel and finish by rubbing lotion on your feet, toes, and ankles.