Mental Health

6 Self-Care Rituals You Should Start Today

If there were ever a time to fine-tune (or initiate) your self-care routine, 2020 is it. Job losses, health scares, financial hardship, and loneliness; you name it, this year has really thrown us some curveballs. 

If you’re feeling strung out, tired, or simply a little lost, you’re not alone. According to new data from the American Psychological Association, 83 percent of Americans say they are more stressed because of the COVID-19 crisis.

With everyday life seeming a lot busier than normal, it’s too easy to ditch our self-care rituals. However, in order to protect our mental health and operate the best we can, prioritizing ourselves has never been more necessary.

Below, we round up six easy self-care rituals to implement into your daily routine.

Remove Screens

Each night before you go to bed, take out all screens from your bedroom. Whether you’re guilty of a late-night Instagram scroll or email check, it’s important you prioritize your sleep in order to operate at 100 percent every day.

While some may argue an in-bed device in fact helps them to fall asleep, it’s still not a great habit to get into. Blue light-emitting devices have been shown to negatively impact sleep quality and lead to sleepiness the following day.

Skeptical? Try living by the rule for just one week and see if you notice a difference in your daily energy levels. (You can thank us later.)

Daily Indulgence

Fuelling your body with a wide variety of food groups is important but unless you’re finding foods that also taste good, you’re most likely to eventually abandon your efforts. 

Rather than mindlessly scoffing down your meals and snacks, try to take a moment to savor what it is you’re consuming. Snacks such as a rich and creamy yogurt will satisfy your indulgent needs and count towards one daily serving of calcium and healthy fat.

Dry Body Brushing

Before jumping into the shower each morning, spend a few minutes dry body brushing. Not only will this technique help you to achieve smooth, soft skin (and who wouldn’t want that?), it will also aid in the detoxifying and stimulating of your entire system.

Starting at the feet or hands, and working your way up to your body towards your heart, brush the skin in a gentle, circular motion. The action will help stimulate blood circulation and your lymphatic system, which plays a vital role in ridding the body of toxins and transporting white blood cells around the body.

An ancient Ayurvedic Ritual, dry brushing has been shown to help memory and brain function. It’s also a technique that forces you to set aside time for yourself every day — a self-care must.

Grounding

Rather than hit the coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up, why not hit the grass? “Grounding” or “earthing” is the simple act of walking on grass (or Earth) barefoot. Walking sans shoes and taking a moment to connect with Mother Earth will take you back to your childhood and the simple joy of being outdoors

Grounding will help you to reconnect and center yourself. On her blog, celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder explains that during the process, Earth’s negative ions enter the body, helping to discharge the many unpaired positive ions or free radicals, we’ve picked up in daily life.

“Those free radicals are associated with disease, aging, and inflammation, and when you expose your bare skin to the soil, grass, or even concrete, the earth’s healing powers swoop in to save the day,” she explains.

Science has also found benefits to grounding. These include improving cardiovascular health, lowering stress levels, and enhancing sleep.

Gratitude Journal

A quick Google of “gratitude quotes” will present you with a long list of inspiring public figures who swear by gratitude as the antidote to feelings of hopelessness and despair. 

In fact, just last month singer Katy Perry revealed gratitude was what helped her overcome a hard breakup and challenging career moment. “Gratitude is probably the thing that saved my life,” she said. “Because if I didn’t find that I probably would’ve wallowed in my own sadness…”

Find a time in your day where you can spend a few minutes writing down five things that make you feel grateful. Whether it’s something as small as your dog wiggling its tail or a sunny day, take a moment to acknowledge it. Studies have shown that gratitude can improve overall wellbeing, strengthen relationships, and even help to reduce stress. Motivate yourself with a cute journal and make it part of your daily self-care routine.

Mindful Breath Meditation

It’s important to find time in your day to be truly present and switch-off from work emails, school drop-offs, and nagging deadlines.

One of the easiest ways to center yourself is to concentrate on your breathing. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and become acutely aware of your surroundings: what do you hear and what do you feel? Notice how your breath makes its way around your body; how your body moves as you breathe in and out.

Repeat for a few minutes at the start of the day and notice how relaxed you feel afterward. If you’re finding it hard to concentrate, try using a YouTube guided breathing meditation (there are thousands) and trial one each morning until you find one that you connect with.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.

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