By: Sarah Federico, Beauty & Wellness Writer
Wildfire season has sparked to life months ahead of schedule in California. Factor in a west coast heat wave and the COVID-19 pandemic and increased anxiety levels are nearly unavoidable. With all of that excess tension, it’s important – if not essential – to prioritize self-care.
“One of the biggest stressors for many people is the lack of control of what’s going on around us and in our future,” explains Shelby Harris, PsyD. “We normally have the ability to control many aspects of our day to day lives and things are being pulled out from under us.” But staying positive is essential and maintaining a self-care routine can help to keep your body and mind healthy.
Here, we’re sharing our top tips and tricks for carving out daily, dedicated time, devoted just to you. From small indulgences to physical activity, discover expert-approved self-care strategies that can guide you towards keeping calm and carrying on – even in the face of uncertainty.
Small Indulgences Yield Big Results
“Sometimes,” says Jessa Blades, herbalist and wellness expert, “self-care means that you bought this beautiful new body lotion, and it’s the process of opening the box and opening the jar and applying it, taking in the scent and texture, and finding the beauty in that.” In fact, the right product can tick all of the feel-good boxes. “Make sure you know wo made it, and support brands that are socially and environmentally conscious.”
For a feel-good indulgence, we love Milk by Reverie. Fueled by nourishing, skincare inspired ingredients, this small batch, leave-in conditioning treatment tames frizz, protects, strengthens and moisturizes hair. It’s rich blend of 16 essential oils impart a fresh, herbal scent that will bring you down to earth – and into your body – as it awakens your senses.
“This is a nice moment for adding essential oils to your life,” says Blades. “They are a really potent, easy-to-travel-with self-care tool. They change your mood, relieve pain, wake you up. They’re anti-fungal and antiviral as well,” she adds, making them a perfect antidote in today’s virus conscious world. “Choose one, or a few, that make you feel relaxed – lavender, clary sage, and petitgrain are some nice ones – get a little spray bottle, fill it with distilled water, add a few drops, and you have a sleep or stress travel spray.”
“Physical activity is a known stress reducer,” says Tanya Morgan, top boxing coach. “Runners experience the phenomenon of a ‘runner’s high.’ When working out, your brain increases the production of endorphins, the neurotransmitters that create feel-good thoughts. [Exercise] helps to relieve muscle tension that can collect when you experience stress.”
We say, bring on that endorphin rush.
Get Back to Nature
Being in nature – or even viewing scenes of nature – can help to reduce feelings of anger, fear and stress. Additionally, it can help you to feel more positive, emotionally. The great outdoors can boost your physical well-being by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and can even decrease the production of stress hormones.
“Just go sit in a park for a few minutes with your phone off,” advises Blades, “or drive to the beach, or go for a walk or hike in the woods if you have access to that. It’s scientifically proven that you’ll feel a lot better.”
So – despite the current uncertainty – give yourself permission to feel good. Take care of your body and mind, consistently, and watch as your feel-good hormones increase – and stress melts away.