For busy Real Girls, self-care can feel like an unaffordable luxury. Self-care is often advertised as long weekends spent at the beach, a trip to the spa, or even hours spent on exercise. In reality, though, self-care can be anything (small or big) you do to give your body attention.
Which is why the following self-care tips won’t take more than 10 minutes of your time while still having big impact on your body.
Touch your toes and stretch
It’s easy to ignore the stress in our spines. But the truth of the matter is that when we spend long hours hunched over the computer, curled up on the couch or picking up after the kids, our posture and body take the backseat. It won’t take more than ten minutes to step out of your chair and touch your toes. If you can’t reach – that’s totally fine! Don’t bounce – just ‘hanging’ upside down and moving from side to side, drawing an arc with your hands will feel amazing. The stretching will do your stiff or aching joints and body some long-lasting good.
While you’re at it, stretch the rest of your body as well. Perhaps you can look up a yoga posture (check out childs pose). If you have a stretching routine in mind already – use that! Whether it is advanced or basic, any kind of stretching will keep your body functioning well despite periods of inactivity. Touch your toes, extend your arms and gear yourself up physically and mentally for whatever task is at hand.
Massage and moisturise
Though we tend to link massages and fancy lotions to a day at the spa, not many of us have the time or budget to indulge in frequent spa trips. But that’s okay because no masseuse will know your body and your preferences as well as you do!
Use a natural lotion such as organic coconut oil or avocado oil (don’t be afraid to indulge in your favourite) and rub it mindfully into your arms and shoulders, or even across your legs. Spread the cream or oil gently and thoroughly and use your hands to massage over your body. You might come across some sudden sore spots, it’s important to focus on those for a moment, rubbing in the lotion.
Practice mindfulness while doing this, paying attention to how your body feels, the scent of the lotion, the texture of your skin. You will be relaxed and energised and your skin will benefit greatly from the extra moisturising.
Phone a friend
At a time where connectivity options are abundant, it’s funny how disconnected we actually are. The troubles of everyday life can be exhausting and drain us of all the time and will to socialise beyond what is absolutely necessary. During our free time there are personal things we need to tend to that make socialising take a back seat. But to truly care for ourselves, we need to nurture social and emotional aspects as well.
While it’s easy to pick up your phone and send a text, take ten minutes out of your day to chat with a friend or family member. You benefit just as much as they do. Simply talk about your day and maintain the feeling of being connected. Your support system can help relieve stress and help you to maintain a healthy mindset through your shared bond.
Drink two additional glasses of water today
Water is that little magic potion we all too often ignore: it relieves fatigue, clears skin, detoxes your body, improves digestion, and prevents cramps. And yet we often forget to hydrate, or hydrate so little we get headaches as a result. Drinking two glasses of water will not only help you hydrate. It will also give you much-needed time to get away from your technological devices and focus on your surroundings.
Drink the water slowly and savour the break from you work before you dive back into it. Take it in slow sips if you need to, and be sure to follow this tip regularly to meet your daily requirement of H2O.
Practice mindfulness while doing this. Try to follow the sensation of the water as it trickles down your throat as this will help you take your mind off of the stress and daily chaos of your life for a few seconds. Not a big water fan? Add in a little squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to add a touch of flavour. Better yet, grab a jug of water and put some sliced fruit such as strawberries and mint for a delightful way to get your water in.
Play with your pet or go for a walk
Whether it’s a furry friend or a tank full of fish, scientists have proven the health benefits of animals at every turn. A pet of your own means a faithful companion. And in addition to that spending time with a pet is a proven way to lower blood pressure and increase oxytocin levels.
The enjoyment from pets can be calming and repetitive motion of petting your companion (or even staring at a fish tank!) will help soothe you. Don’t have a pet? Go for a walk to your local park or dog walking track, just taking in the sights of other dogs and animals can have the same impact on your wellbeing.
Self care isn’t just about facials, eating your greens and getting your hair done. It’s also about the soul food that fuels you and the small things that make big impacts on your overall well being.
By practicing these 5 tips, you get to spend 10 minutes away from whatever it is you do each day. You’ll get to separate yourself from the chaos and stress of your daily life. Do you take 10 minutes out of your day for you each day? I’d love to hear!