I spent two hours lying in a field, under a shady tree, staring at the clouds last weekend. And, it was… awesome.
I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed. There was no gotta-go-here, click-into-a-meeting-rush, or have-to-get-the-sequence/podcast/blog post-finished.
It was HOT. And, I was forced to be in that field, as we were camping in ninety-five degree weather and it was mid-afternoon, the heat pooling into our campsite and making a nap in the tent impossible, as well as, any other camping activity.
So, out exploring in our yellow Jeep, we found a field right off of a lake that had huge gusts of wind. It was hot wind, but each breeze helped to alleviate the heat until the evening hours when we knew the temperatures were supposed to plummet for the night. And, we didn’t want to miss out on our morning hike the next day when it was supposed to be ideal conditions to enjoy this spot in the woods we loved so much.
That’s how we ended up under a tree for at least three hours. It was a form of self-care I hadn’t considered and we left feeling rested, refreshed, and grateful for this space in time and it was completely free.
And, it got me thinking about the self-care rituals I’ve plugged into my every day that are also super cheap or free. I have a ton. For some reason we all think self-care has to be expensive – a pedicure, a vacation, an appointment with an expert of some kind. But, it really can be simple habits you build into your day that make you feel good.
So, I’m sharing with you my top five self-care acts you can do daily that will help you feel good in your skin, well-taken care of, and nourished for all of life’s ups and downs.
And, yoga isn’t one of them, because if you’re reading this, I assume you do yoga. If you don’t, put it down above number one – the big self-care act you MUST do at least a couple of times a week. Do not delay. Get to it!
Self-Care Act #1: Earthing or Grounding.
This is the simplest thing you can do to reenergize your body and mind, cure aches and pains, and take some time for you. Here is what you do. You go outside and put your bare feet in the grass. Set a timer for fifteen minutes. If you can stay longer, do it.
Grounding connects you with the Earth’s natural healing energy. And, its been found to reduce inflammation, pain, and stress, as well as improve blood flow, sleep, and overall vitality. Pretty cool, right?
After a long week of teaching yoga classes, Earthing is a quick and easy way for my muscles to recharge. And, I find if I don’t do it for a couple of months, I can tell. Give it a try. It’s so easy and absolutely free.
Self-Care Act #2: Body Brushing or Dry Brushing.
So, this one does take some cash. But, it’s a one-time investment of about five to ten bucks. You want to get a good body brush and though I’m sure you can order it to be delivered to your door, you might want to find a local health store that carries them, so you get one that feels good to you. I personally like a lighter bristle.
Body brushing is best to do right before you take a shower. It stimulates the lymphatic system, exfoliates your skin, helps your body rid itself of toxins, increases your circulation and energy, and is said to break down cellulite. And, it takes less than a minute. Do it a couple of times a week and see how you feel.
When brushing, use firm, upward strokes, moving towards your heart. Be kind and gentle with the pressure – harder is not more beneficial.
Self-Care Act #3: Self Myofascial Release Techniques.
Self Myofascial Release changed my life for the better forever and I will scream that from the rooftops until the day of my last breath. Not only does SMR help you increase your mobility and bring greater balance to your body, it’s basically self-massage and feels amazing.
You can get fancy and purchase SMR tools, or you can just use a tennis ball. To learn proper SMR techniques I highly recommend working with someone that knows what they’re doing. Or, you can download the free RAD Mobility app and get some ideas from their platform to start.
Self-Care Act #4: Triangular Breathing.
Breathing techniques are so good for you, helping you clear your mind, tune into your present moment, increase oxygen levels to the brain, and decrease your stress levels.
Triangular Breathing is the easiest technique out there and you can do it anywhere without looking like a total weirdo. Here’s how you do it. Inhale for four counts. Hold your breath for four counts. Exhale for four counts. Repeat. That’s it!
This technique is super meditative, easy... and might I add, free!
Self-Care Act #5: Epsom Salt Bath.
I take an Epsom Salt Bath every single Sunday. And, I’m pretty sure I would literally fall apart without it. Epsom Salts can be found in pretty much every pharmacy, first aid aisle at the grocery story, or lately, in with the soaps and bubble bath. I buy a huge bag that holds me for three baths for about eight dollars. It’s super cheap. And, I like to add my own scent by sprinkling a few drops of my favorite essential oil blend into the water, though you can now buy scented Epsom Salt, too.
Epsom Salt contains magnesium and having a good soak once a week will help you release toxins that exacerbate inflammation, swelling, muscle stiffness, and even pain. But, here’s the thing, you need to soak for at least twenty minutes to get all of the good benefits. So, turn on some music, your favorite podcast, or set a timer to make sure to set yourself up for success.
So, that's my top five. Add these simple, cheap, even at times free, self-care acts to your life. When you do, you might see increases in your energy levels, better overall health and well-being, and just a great knowing that you are putting yourself first.
Sometimes the tiniest actions can become a catalyst for huge change.
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Tori Hicks-Glogowski is an online yoga instructor for real people looking to do extraordinary things. On her own mat for well over fifteen years, Tori works to inspire others to develop a life long practice through her classes, workshops, in-person events, and retreats. Find out more about Tori now.