Day 5: Ten Days of Self-Care (Holiday Countdown)
Hello and welcome to day 5! I hope today finds you well in mind, body and spirit. Just as I started the previous days blog, I now invite you to take a moment to settle into a comfortable seated position, wherever suits your body right now. Find a comfortable connection through your seat to the floor or the chair and then move your attention to your spine. Imagine a string attached to the crown of your head and gently pull it upward. Feel your spine elongate. Settle your shoulders down away from your ears and bring your attention to your breath. Without trying to change it, just tune in and listen. After several rounds of regular breathing (one round = one full inhale and one full exhale), begin to breathe in deeply through your nose and sigh it out through your mouth. Imagine any tension you are holding is sighing out with your breath. Repeat three to five times before returning to your regular breathing rhythm. If you would like to stay with your breath a little longer, if it's feeling like exactly what you needed, please do. Alternate rounds of regular breathing with five repetitions of sighing out as long as it feels good.
Day 5 Suggestion: Massage Those Worries Away
Yesterday I talked about aromatherapy and using essential oils and today I'm going to build a little on that by adding essential oils to self-massage. While a lot of us would love to be able to get a professional massage weekly (daily?), it isn't a practical suggestion for a few reasons; you need to have the time in your schedule, you need to have the financial resources, access to a professional massage therapist and oh yes, a pandemic-free region. I personally don't believe we need to put our own self-care in any hands but ours and that includes massage. If you have the time, a hot shower or bath to relax your muscles first is a great idea, but if your time is limited and you just need a little pick me up, skip right to the massage! Focus on areas that you notice carry tension and stress. Common places are the neck and shoulders but I also know people who carry stress in their calves and quadriceps; you know you best.
Important note: essential oils are distilled directly from different parts of plants and your skin may not react kindly to some, particularly if you already know you have allergies. It is not recommended to use essential oils directly on skin; use a carrier oil and dilute the essential oil by adding a few drops to the carrier oil. You can use an unscented massage oil, olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil. It is also a good idea to test on a small patch of skin if you are trying an essential oil for the first time. You can also buy natural massage oils that are already blended for you. If you don't have massage oils or essential oils, worry not! You can use moisturizers or nothing at all.
If you have a hard time falling asleep, massaging your legs before bed can be a wonderful way to relax. Alternately, massaging your feet when you first wake up can be a great way to begin your day.
Your hands Your scalp Your feet