Giving Your Body the Rest it Deserves: Self-Care Practices
Regardless of your lifestyle choices, occupation and day-to-day demands, life sees to it that our bodies will experience a little wear and tear. No one is above this, and as we age, the impact of this accumulation of tension and stress is felt with greater blatancy. That is why incorporating self-care practices into our routine is so important.
Thankfully, we have the choice to perceive this as an invitation to gift our bodies with some much deserved tender, love and care.
With our busy hustle and bustle modern lives, our well being of our precious vessels can often be overlooked.
Feeling pain and discomfort from some being on-the-go nonstop?
Take this as an opportunity to listen to the needs and demands of your body.
- What is your body communicating to you?
- How can you better show up for your recuperation so that you can achieve your goals with more comfort, health and joy?
Take a moment to write these questions down, and genuinely answer them for yourself. Then see how you feel about adding in some of these actionable self-care practices.
1. Self-Massage for Ultimate Care
We don’t need to wait until available hands offer to rub our tired and sore muscles when we have the tender care of our own.
Self-massage is one of my favorite forms of self-care and self-love because it feels like a deliberate act of gratitude for all that my body does for me.
Self-care practices for self-massage can be as simple as:
- Rubbing tight muscles after a session at the gym
- Patting your hands down your thighs after sitting at your desk for extended periods of time
- Foam rolling tight spots while watching your favorite show
- Send loving thoughts and appreciation to your body. Thank it for supporting you in getting all your daily tasks done.
- Save money by using common items such as a tennis ball to release hard to reach trigger points and deeply held knots.
– You can find free resources, articles and videos on Youtube that show how to self-massage.
2. Stretch and Expand
Whether it’s only a few minutes a day or a commitment to a full yoga session or class, any and all efforts to extend and expand your muscles is a medicine your body will thank you deeply for.
Self-care practices include:
- Attending a yoga class or using a YouTube instructor to start practicing in your own home.
- Invite a friend or co-worker to build motivation and accountability from each other.
- Moving intuitively: Use your own unique stretching experience by truly leaning into the needs of your body. Follow the shapes, pathways and movements that provide release, ease and pleasure. If it’s painful, try a different stretch. It should not hurt!
3. Scan and Unravel
If you haven’t practiced body scan meditations before, rest assured that anyone can do it, and there’s no right or wrong way to do so.
Not only are body scans an efficient way to support recovery and healing for the body, but it’s also a beautiful practice to cultivate a deeper, more intimate relationship with your precious body.
Self-care practices for connecting with your body are:
- Find a comfortable position. I prefer to lay on the floor with a blanket wrapped around me or on a cozy bed surrounded by pillows. Or perhaps you’ll enjoy trying this in the shower. Choose whatever environment and conditions best suits your needs to unwind and be present.
- Connect to your breath. Follow and feel the sensation of each inhale and exhale. With each cycle of breathing, invite your attention more and more to rest within your body. Explore the sensations of your chest or stomach rising and falling with each breath. Feel into the different ways your body interacts with your breathing.
- Starting at the soles of your feet and slowly working towards your head, rest your awareness on each region of your body.
- While scanning each part of your body (calves, thighs, hips, torso, etc.) notice if you come upon any places of tension, pain or discomfort. When you feel an uncomfortable spot, stay with it.
- With your exhale, allow this tension to dissolve away, imagining the discomfort slipping away from your body and being absorbed by the earth.
3. Bath Bliss
After a long day at work or a grueling week at school, it’s a fine time to draw yourself a hot bath and plunge into some revitalization.
Self-care practices for bath rituals include:
- Epsom salts
- Bath bombs
- Essential oils
- Relaxing music
- A good book or audiobook
…and you’re well on your way to ultimate relaxation.
4. You Are Worthy
Self-care practices include working on your thoughts and beliefs. You are worthy of your care, time and attention.
Many of us have not been taught how to give ourselves the time and care necessary to lead healthy and vibrant lives.
Give yourself permission to learn and practice the immense self-care tools that are available to us today.
Reject anyone and any belief that tells you to feel shame or guilt for investing in your own wellbeing. Self-care practices are healthy and important.
You are worthy of feeling comfortable, relaxed and strong in your body.
“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.” –Kristi Ling