the Ritual of Self-Care
& self-care practices for
daily grounding + gratitude
Happy 2019 to you!
If you’re new around here, 2017 was a big year of change for me, and it encouraged a setting of reasonable resolutions for the year that has just passed. Largely because I felt like I had really worked through some personal things that were depleting my energy, and that my marriage grew by leaps and bounds. I can’t remember being all that interested in resolutions or intentions before last year, but ever since yoga crept further and further into my every day, intention setting has become deeply important.
I didn’t know when I was setting personal goals for 2018, that I would dive head first into Yoga Teacher Training later that year. I began this past September, but made the decision in the early months of spring. It was a really big decision, but it also felt like it was out of my hands. I was led to my yoga practice by a lot of forces that were not exactly in my control, and I’m grateful for that. The training is not only a time commitment, it’s an energy commitment. There’s so much we dive into that has absolutely nothing to do with headstands or flexibility. Asanas (poses) are just one piece of a complex, self-reflective, and enriching experience, and it was all of that other “mind stuff” that originally drew me in. It has allowed me to continue to deepen my practice and understanding, and kept me engaged in the first real physical routine I’ve actually wanted, even craved, to keep up with. We recently began discussing the Niyama of Sauca, (there’s a great article here that dives into what Niyamas are all about) which is simply put: self-cleanliness. After we talked about implementing the practice into daily life during training, it lead me back to a lot of the principles that have become part of my self-care practice. I’m just about halfway through training, and as it begins to feel more real, more intense, more all-encompassing, I’ve been reminded of how important the ritual of self-care is for all of us.
I noticed a lot of individuals setting intentions and being vocal about mindfulness for 2019 on social media recently. It seems to have unfolded naturally, alongside the seasonal shifts and holiday wind-down that has us all feeling that same sort of ache for growth, adjustments, and evolution of behaviors as we glide, charge head first, or maybe even fumble into the New Year. However we arrived on the first day of 2019 may not be how we had hoped, but here we are nonetheless, and a brand new calendar is greeting us with all sorts of possibilities.
Grounding and gratitude are huge places of focus for me as I step into this new year. I work constantly to ground myself and to be present, to keep the chatter of my mind to a dull roar rather than on full blast, and most importantly, to be grateful. It’s all a practice, one giant character building exercise, and with all of this in mind, it felt only right to welcome 2019 on Better Happier with some simple daily rituals that are easy to implement. It’s the tale as old as time by now, right? The one that you’ve seen innumerable articles about, and I imagine heard lots of New Year’s resolutions relating to, the trendy topic of “self-care”. Trendy or not, the ritual of self-care is just that, a ritual. There are so many small rituals that can be added to daily life to make them feel less like a chore, and more like a treat. I think it’s such an important idea for all of us to come back to, the simple act of taking care of ourselves.
I hope some of these practices might offer a bit of inspiration as you set your own intentions, find what works best for you, and step into this beautiful new year.
set an intention for the week
Is it cutting out sugar? Finally making it to a yoga class that you’ve been putting off?
Setting an intention for a one week period feels like a lot less pressure than the entire month, or the entire calendar year of 2019!
Take it one day, or week at a time.
burn palo santo to clear your space
Not only does Palo Santo (holy wood) smell absolutely lovely, it is believed to have healing powers when you burn it. The scent is instantly calming, and can help clear the energy of your space.
I burn it frequently, and find that it adds a serene and positive vibe to our home after burning.
find a gentle yoga flow practice that feels right for your body
Even if it’s just rolling around on your yoga mat, stretching what feels like it needs to be stretched, or finding a guided meditation that connects to you, movement and meditation is important this time of year. Set aside time first thing in the morning, or just before bed to be fully present on your mat.
If you’re looking for one, I love practicing on this jute yoga mat, this reversible mat, and this extra thick mat.
take a digital detox
Whether it’s for 24 hours, 48 hours, a week, or even a month… try deleting apps that are the biggest time-suck for you.
I’ve been periodically deleting the Instagram app and holy wow, has THAT been an amazing reset for me.
If you’re not scrolling through the daily lives and inspiration of others constantly, it keeps a lot more energy reserved for yourself, and allows you to focus on your own life and inspiration.
have warm lemon water first thing in the morning
I’m not always as diligent about this as I like, but I feel the difference immediately when I am, and I remember why it’s such a great self-care practice to implement.
Warm lemon water will help get your digestion ready for the day, and ease your intake of coffee on an empty stomach, if you’re a caffeine first thing in the morning person.
pull a tarot card for insight
I have many different tarot decks, and tend to rotate through them depending on my mood or what’s calling to me. I love the Wild Unknown, and have found that
the Animal Spirit tarot deck always feels relevant to me. I also love Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards.
If you’re feeling like you need some insight, or some help getting centered, make a routine of pulling one tarot card per day. It will begin to feel second nature.
“Taking good care of your things leads to taking good care of yourself”
Have you binge watched Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show yet? If you haven’t, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Clutter didn’t always give me anxiety, or maybe it did and I just suppressed it for years! We live in a small house, and since I’m shooting at home a lot, (particularly still life) we also have lots of excess in terms of objects, surfaces and equipment. If I don’t put things away, or tidy on the daily, things get out of hand incredibly quickly. Just before the holidays I was incredibly busy, with back-to-back shoots and projects that kept my time maxed out. Our house was left in shambles, and I felt debilitated by it. It’s natural for clutter to build when you’re busy, but I think back on that and see there were dozens of things I could have done to better prepare for the resulting mess. I also just got rid of 75% of my clothing, and honestly? I feel like I still have way too much. While that truly terrifies me, as I continue to purge I know it’s making space for what I actually need to be fulfilled, not what I think I need.
Tidying, and taking care of the things in our home reminds me to be grateful for what we have, intentional about what enters the home,
and wary of acquiring too much excess that doesn’t serve us properly for our current needs.
If you’re looking for storage ideas, I love this garment rack in our bedroom,
these seagrass baskets, this cotton rope storage basket, and this woven wicker basket.
Just before the holidays I bought Aura Cacia’s Warming Balsam Fir Body Oil on a whim, and was completely hooked on the grounding effect it had on me. The scent is strong with pine, and feels so luxurious after a bath or shower. They also have the Balsam Fir Essential Oil which I plan to try shortly.
If you’re all for trying natural scents and flavors (or if you’re really into that new Juniper latte from Starbucks…), this next suggestion might just be for you.
You may have never heard of pine tea, but Juniper Ridge’s Wildharvested Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea is intense, grounding, and tastes like you’re drinking the forest.