A Guide To Eco-Friendly Self-Care Practice
These days it seems like we can never really "getaway". We're so glued to our phones, and the emails ramp up more each day. Next thing you know it's time for bed and you aren't even half way through your to do list. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious is more relevant than ever and it's time to take a breather and get a grip on all of this.
Practicing self-care is so important to maintain some level-headed sanity. I don't think self-care is necessarily a "new" thing, but I've definitely been hearing the word used more lately and it makes me pretty happy to see that we are all collectively moving towards this direction where prioritizing our mental health is integral to who we are. I wish growing up "self-care" was a term, so that for all those self indulging days where I'd watch endless re-runs of Sex & The City, tossing back Bagel Bites, while raiding my bathroom for beauty products I could just look at my concerned mom and say, "I'm practicing self-care".
Stress and anxiety are no bueno for your health and almost any illness or disease that you search on Google (while you self-diagnose yourself despite the fact that you are in perfectly good health) can confirm that. Stress and anxiety play a significant role in your health and it's really important to take a step outside of your normal routine and carve out some time for yourself.
So, we figured we'd inspire you with some eco-friendly ways to practice self-care so that you can have your "me" time and be conscious about it all at once! Win-win.
1. Take a hot, anti-inflammatory bath
Hot baths are known to reduce inflammation and help improve your glucose metabolism. And what girl doesn't love anything that improves their metabolism? I'll wait. But anyhow, I'm sure we all know that some Epsom salt in your bath water can work some magic but what about getting a little fun with it? Why not try slicing some oranges and grapefruits to create a citric bath? Sounds very Pinteresty and delicious. Soaking in the tub full of vitamin C can help your skin get smooth and elastic, while also improving your immune system. Pour some wine, put on a good playlist, and sink right in.
PHOTO CREDIT: @PYPERAMERICA
2. Put on a vegan face mask & give yourself a non-toxic mani-pedi
Maybe even eat some spaghetti while you're at it. We won't judge. Find a vegan and cruelty-free face mask for an eco-friendly self-care regimen that you can add to your weekly to-do list. We highly recommend trying out this vegan & cruelty-free one called Babyfacial by Drunk Elephant. Put it on for 20 minutes, while you whip out your mani-pedi kit and give your nails some TLC. For an eco-friendly and non-toxic nail polish, always opt for ones that are "16-free". We've recently discovered Gitti nail polish, which is 55% water-based, vegan formula, has vitamin C, E and provitamin B5 and is 16-free. Your nails will thank you!
3. Make an eco-friendly hair mask by lathering some coconut oil in your hair
If coconut oil went to my high school, it would have won that "Best All Around" superlative that I always longed for. Isn't that the best award? You are literally told, 'Hey, you're like the best...at basically everything. Congrats!" Well, that's what I think of with coconut oil. I feel like almost every beauty article I read mentions coconut oil at some point. For those of you looking to grow your hair out, or add some extra shine to it, lather in some coconut oil and leave it in for 30 minutes before you take a shower. If you tend to have oily hair, only apply it at the ends of your hair.
4. Take a cell phone hiatus for a bit
Is it lame to say "cell phones"? I feel so dated when I say that, but phones will always potentially mean a land-line for me because I'm a 90s kid forever. But seriously, put your phone on airplane mode and stick it in a drawer. Take a breather. Even when we mindlessly scroll through Instagram we don't realize all of the psychological impact it's placing on us. There is always something to do on our phones and it doesn't let our brain take a rest. Let people miss you for a little, but also give your mom a heads up so she doesn't flip and think you've been kidnapped just because you didn't answer her call 30 minutes ago. Hi mom.
5. Do a little meditation sesh and light up some sage
Find your happy place within your home and get comfy. Check out Insight Timer for some really amazing free meditations to help guide you through it. Not only will meditation significantly improve your stress and anxiety levels, but it will also help to lengthen your attention span. Lord knows that this "Twitter Generation", as my dad calls it, of "140 characters or less" needs it. But also, if you're still reading I'm pretty impressed, so thanks! Maybe your attention span is actually pretty solid.
6. Go out for a walk
Just a 30 minute walk can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones, reduce excess body fat (yes pls), and boost your muscular endurance. Plus, it's so therapeutic to just mindlessly go for a leisurely walk with no end goal. Maybe even refer back to tip #4 and leave your phone at home. If you're really daring, we invite you to simply notice the trash on the streets on your walk and commit to at least picking up one piece of trash. Just remember to put hand sanitizer in your bag before you head out.
7. Read an e-book, rather than ordering a physical one
Trust me, I love myself a good book that I can hold and flip the pages more than the next guy but hear me out. This is a guide for eco-friendly self-care practices, SO by purchasing your digital book on your phone or kindle, you eliminate the carbon footprint of having that book shipped. Plus, you can argue that you even saved a tree. An extra bonus plus, is that you get the book right away. If you are looking for an easy read that is all about one woman's journey to success despite her mental health issues, we highly recommend The Upside Of Being Down.
8. Make a mini garden with some herbs or plant a pineapple
Tending to plants can be very therapeutic. It's also fun to just challenge yourself and try your best to have a "green thumb" as they call it. Create a mini garden in your yard and pick up some herbs that you can grow and incorporate into your recipes. Or, plant a pineapple in a pot. All you need to plant a pineapple is a pineapple! Grab a whole pineapple at your local market and YouTube how to do it.
9. Bake a vegan and gluten-free dessert
Because you deserve to indulge in a little guilt-free treat, there are loads of vegan and gluten-free recipes out there that are alarmingly good. For example, brownies made out of zucchini?! Never in a million years would I think that could work, but trust me it works. One of my all-time favorite guilt-free treats is creating chocolate energy balls using dates and coconut oil. (See I told you coconut oil is the best at everything).
10. Journal, journal, and journal
My best friend gifted me this journal for my birthday and it has been the most fulfilling experience to log my thoughts each week and watch how far I've grown in just a few months. It's a great tool to help get out of your head for a little and just write out how you feel. Writing about your current struggles, and then reading it months later makes you realize how you are more than capable of overcoming anything life throws at you. Two practices that I recommend are: create a list of everything you are grateful for, and then create a separate list of what your short term and long term goals are. You'll start to notice a huge shift in your emotional growth, as well as your professional one.
11. Stretch it out and do some yoga
Last but not least, peruse some yoga videos on YouTube and practice in your room. Give your overworked body a good stretch and release all of that muscle tension. Stress tends to swell up in our necks and shoulders, so carefully carve out the time to give your neck a good stretch. This mind-body practice will help you feel good physically and mentally.
Self-care is something we can't recommend enough. These little strategies can really help to produce positive feelings, boost your confidence, and increase your emotional strength. In a world full of DMs, email threads, group chats, and endless IG stories, always remember to prioritize self-care and that the most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself.