We often times hear on the airplane, put on your oxygen mask first, then help others with their mask. This is basically stating, take care of yourself before you take care of others. I believe in this wholeheartedly. How many times have you been sick, stressed, and fatigued? Do you find it hard to complete daily activities when you are feeling under the weather? And how about your relationships with others, do they suffer when you suffer?
It’s important that we all take time for ourselves so that we are able to help others, at work, at home and when meeting with friends. You will find some suggestions that are not time-consuming, but can help you with your health and wellness. These are activities I try to incorporate daily or weekly and I hope you enjoy learning new ideas for self-care.
- Hot Towel Scrub
Add a hot towel scrub to your daily ritual. The scrub can be done before, after or during your bath and shower anytime of the day. I typically scrub my body with a hot towel in the shower or if I take a bath I do so at that time.
Take a medium-sized cotton washcloth and soak it in a sink with hot water or get it wet with hot water in the shower or tub. At this point you want to wring out the towel and while the towel is still hot and steamy, begin to scrub your skin gently, one section of the body at a time. You can begin with your hands and fingers and work your way up your arms to your shoulders, neck and face, then back down to your chest, upper back, abdomen, lower back, buttocks, legs, feet and toes.
Scrub until your skin becomes slightly pink or until each body part becomes warm and reheat the towel often by dipping it in the sink of hot water or in the shower after scrubbing each section of your body, or as soon as the towel starts to cool. The hot towel activates the circulation in your lymphatic system, specifically under your arms and groin region when scrubbed.
A hot towel scrub reduces muscle tension, re-energizes your body in the morning and can relax you at night. The scrubbing action of the towel and the heat from the water opens your pores to release stored toxins. The deposits of hard fat below your skin is softened and allows for excess fat, mucus, cellulite and toxins to actively discharge through the surface of the skin rather than accumulate around deeper vital organs.
A hot towel scrub helps to relieve stress through the meditative action of rubbing your skin, you mind is calm. Your body benefits from the massage and deep self-care you are providing. The act of scrubbing spreads energy through your chakras. This can be viewed as a sacred moment in your day, especially if done with candlelight and a drop or two of essential oil, such as lavender. The action of the scrub creates a profound and loving relationship with your body.
See the benefits of the hot towel scrub yourself by adding this ritual to your daily practice.
A Binchotan Scrub Towel can be purchased for even greater detox benefits from the scrub. Blended into the high-performance fibers of this body scrub towel, the ultra fine powder of Binchotan charcoal will help absorb odors, remove toxins and excess oil from the skin, and provide extra cleansing effects leaving you feeling completely refreshed and revitalized. Binchotan charcoal is believed to have a multitude of beneficial effects. Whether used to absorb chemicals in tap water, enhance blood circulation in a hot bath, stimulate healthy soil in the garden, or deflect negative ions in your home, Binchotan charcoals are a natural way to boost overall wellness. You can purchase this towel here.
2. Take a relaxing bath (10-20 minutes)
At least once a week, if not more, I try to prepare myself after ending a day of work, for a night of relaxation. I enjoy taking warm, detoxifying baths, that simmer my senses and put me in a calm, meditative state. I read magazine articles and recipe magazines while bathing. Yes, I am a multi-tasker, but it gives me that little time to get away. Here is an excellent recipe for bath salts that I highly recommend, it’s a cheap way to get luxury at home!
Essential Oil Bath Salt Recipe
- 3 cups epsom salt
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1 cup sea salt
- 5-10 drops your favorite essential oil!
I use lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, cedarwood, even Melaleuca (tea tree oil) at times.
My favorite essential oils are from doTERRA. doTERRA essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade, so pure you can put them in your water and take them internally with a veggie cap. For more information about doTERRA essential oils and other products made with essential oils, including nutritional supplements, household cleaners, skin and body care, check out this website.
3. DRINK WATER!
Bring your body back to balance
Water is a great way to flush out all of those toxins from our systems. By adding ginger and lemon essential oil with a few slices of cucumber and spearmint, you get cleansing and alkaline effect from the lemon oil, a digestive aid and system balance with ginger, the cucumber slices are great for hydration and the spearmint helps settle your stomach and sweeten your water. I drink water all day long, and where I live, Colorado, it’s imperative to drink water. Without water, you can feel fatigued, get migraines, and even gain weight by eating when really your system is dehydrated.Some people feel, well, drinking water, how boring. Here is a great recipe for detox water that hydrates your system and makes your taste buds happy, from Urban Girl Wellness and my friend Paula Burton!
Start with 2 liters of water, with 1 drop ginger essential oil, 1 medium cucumber peeled and thinly sliced, 4 drops lemon essential oil, and 2 drops peppermint essential oil. Only use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential oils. Available for purchase here.
4. Non-Toxic Skin Care
I may not have time for many things, but I make time to cleanse my skin morning and night with non-toxic ingredients. As you may, or may not know, your skin IS the largest organ of your body and it absorbs internally what you put on externally. That means, as far as your body is concerned, what you put on your skin has a similar effect as what you put in your mouth. When you care about your health and well-being by exercising and eating healthy food, you also want to be sure to use healthy ingredients in your skin care products.
My typical self-care skin plan includes cleanse, tone, water and meleuca spritz, moisturizer with a weekly mask and weekly scrub. Additionally I use an energizing body spray that I’ve made myself with wintergreen, lavender, and peppermint essential oils topped off by witch hazel. I use non-toxic body cleanser and body lotion as well. I follow this process each morning and each evening.
My favorite skin care line is Pangea Organics.
5. Drink Green Tea (before Noon)
I love green tea, it’s refreshing, calming, and simulating, all at the same time. With wonderful self-care benefits, drinking green tea is an easy self-care suggestion. Because green tea has natural caffeine, be careful to only indulge before noon if you’ve got sleeping issues.
According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, this brewed beverage contains thiamine, which counteracts stress and promotes relaxation and focus. A study in the Journal of Nutrition shows that the main antioxidant component in green tea, called catechins, can help stimulate weight loss, especially belly fat.
Additional benefits of green tea, according to WebMD is the drink improves blood flow and lowers cholesterol, in addition to preventing a range of heart health related issues including high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Green tea has been shown to increase activity in memory as well as blocking the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Green tea only takes 1-2 minutes to steep in order for you to get the lovely taste and health benefits. Over steeped tea can cause nausea.
6. Daily Meditation
Daily meditation can help you relieve stress, find motivation, and even dispel fear. It’s easy to meditate and with today’s technology, it’s even easier to find daily guided meditations on the internet for fee. The Chopra Center has free 21-day programs throughout the year in which Deepak Chopra partnered with Oprah Winfrey on creating a wonderful series of self-awareness daily practices that are easy to incorporate. I even used meditation in the dentist chair, which, is one of my most dreaded appointments.
You can diffuse essential oils of sandalwood and lavender for increasing a meditative state.
7. Move Your Body
Daily body movement is easy, you can take a 20-minute walk, do a 5-minute yoga practice or a 30-minute full-body workout. Movement keeps your body healthy and in good shape.
I think we all feel better when we get some exercise during the day. I like to go on a short walk during my lunch time, or my boss and I have instituted walking meetings weekly, and I bring my notepad with me and take notes as we go on our walk. Of course it’s easy to think about walking when the weather is lovely, but in the winter it may be more difficult to get the outdoor movement in. I do go up and down the stairs in my building several times throughout the day which also helps with movement.
In addition, there are so many helpful and useful apps nowadays where you can get a 5 minute quick movement in with free apps.
According to PC Magazine, here are some of the best free fitness apps as described by the magazine.
Argus: If you’re not ready to spend upward of a hundred bucks on aFitbit One
, Jawbone UP24
, or other activity tracker, you might try the Argus
(by Azumio) as a gateway app. (Note: There’s another activity-tracking app in this alphabetically sorted list called Moves. Be sure to read about that app as well.) Argus tracks your activity directly through your iPhone rather than via a separately purchased device. As long as you carry your phone all day long, Argus will watch your movements. You can also log workouts, keep an eye on how much water you drink, and take photos of your food to inspire yourself to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Be aware that Argus can drain your battery quickly, unless you have an iPhone 5s with the built-in M7 motion co-processor, designed for exactly this purpose.
Fitocracy uses game-like stats to spur on friendly competition and increase your dedication to working out. It’s a very social app for tracking your workouts, especially weight-lifting, and sharing your progress with the community. Post a status, whether it’s your success story of going to the gym or the reason you skipped a workout, and you might get a flood of supportive comments within hours. Fitocracy also has plentiful resources for all kinds of fitness enthusiasts, from weightlifters to swimmers, although the how-to videos aren’t ideal for beginners.
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App
(free) helps you squeeze some exercise into your day at an intensity level that’s right for you. The interface is surprisingly attractive and clear. All you need is a chair and seven minutes—or about 11 minutes if you add a warm-up and cool down. A medium-intensity workout can include jumping jacks, push ups, wall chair, high-knee running in place, crunches, plank, side plank, triceps dips using a chair, and a few other moves. The app coaches you through each move as it comes up in the workout. It’s a great app for people of all ability levels.
I hope that you will be able to incorporate some of the above suggestions into your daily self-care routines, and if you don’t have a routine, time to start one!
Lisa Kippur is a Certified Health Coach and Licensed cosmetologist. She possesses a Master’s Degree in the field of Counseling Psychology. Lisa has her own company called Lisa’s Lentils and she is an Wellness Advocate with doTERRA Essential Oils. Lisa works full-time at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Executive Assistant to three high level administrators where she has worked for over 20 years. As a Colorado native, Lisa has always been interested in health and fitness, having competed in 5k races, placing 3rd in her age category and a former rock climber. She is a huge fan of the 80’s group Duran Duran and the Harry Potter series. Lisa and her boyfriend of 13 years Chad Bauer live in Broomfield Colorado. Prior to her current work, she was the Associate Director of the Career Center in the Business School where Lisa developed a successful office helpful to undergraduate students in placing them in rewarding jobs and careers.