13 Methods Of Self-Care You Might Not Have Tried Yet

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2020 is off to a hectic start and the world feels like it’s on fire. Sometimes it can all feel like a bit too much. Inspired by that feeling, I’ve gathered some methods of self-care that mean a lot to me and have helped me out so much in my everyday life. Please note, I’m not a doctor or a health expert, but I hope they inspire you to try something new!

1.

Mix up your tea intake.


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Maybe you’re fiercely loyal to your favorite brand of green tea. Maybe you’re an aficionado who makes your own tea blends. Maybe you drink whatever’s free at the office. Maybe you’ve never even ventured into ~Tea Territory~ thanks to your love of coffee. No matter your experience with tea, it’s never too late or too difficult to experiment with new herbs and blends! Here are a few relaxing teas to start with:

Chamomile tea has been used to help aid with sleep and ease nerves for centuries, but science suggests it has even more uses: It can help alleviate cold symptoms, soothe an upset stomach, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Green tea has been found to enhance mental alertness, can help prevent certain degenerative diseases, and has even been shown to have anticarcinogenic effects against breast cancer.

Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and can be mixed with other teas or enjoyed on its own. This tea has been shown to lower blood pressure in hypertensive adults.

Also, there’s not a lot of things more satisfying than mixing your own tea and sipping on it slowly. Hellooo, new morning routine!

2.

Up your intake of probiotics and/or fermented foods.


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Feels like everybody’s talking about gut health these days, right? That’s because more and more people are discovering what your microbiome actually is — over 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live inside your stomach. Turns out these guys do a lot of work, and giving them a little TLC can make huge improvements in your everyday life. Some have gone so far as to call the stomach a human’s “second brain.” Deep inside your digestive system lies the Enteric Nervous System, which controls digestion and can trigger different emotions in people.

Some easy ways to get more gut-friendly foods in your diet? Fermented foods! You can buy these in most any grocery store, but you can also make your own at home: beets, carrots, cabbage, onions… almost any vegetable can be pickled. Eating fermented foods helps to feed the good gut bacteria in your stomach, which empowers them to kick the bad ones out. Another easy way to do this is to start taking a daily probiotic. You can also take prebiotics — or just enjoy some apple cider vinegar, which is in a prebiotic state if you buy it with “the mother.” (The mother is the part that’s alive and kicks off the fermentation process. The more of the mother, the better for you it is!)

3.

Spend time stretching or doing yoga.


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There’s really no better feeling than a good long stretch, is there? Whether it’s right when you wake up, before a workout, or in the middle of a hectic day, it’s always nice to breathe and get your blood flowing. Many of you are used to stretching in the ways that your body is craving at that moment, but there are a lot of positives to doing daily stretches for your whole body. There are a ton of YouTube tutorials out there, as well as sites that will guide you through it.

And then there’s yoga. As personal trainer and author Bob Harper says, “Yoga is the fountain of youth — you’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” The benefits of this practice are widely shared and have been reaped for thousands of years. But that doesn’t mean it’s just more woo-woo. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health touts benefits of reducing chronic lower back pain, reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and relieving anxiety and depression.

Yoga can be experienced in a class or completely on your own. The benefit of a class is that you’d have professional supervision and a teacher who will let you know when you’re not doing the pose correctly — very important for beginners! But that’s not to say there aren’t just as many positives to doing yoga on your own, including a sense of inner peace or meditative state that many find difficult to do in the presence of others. To start your at-home yoga training, turn to the internet, where you’ll find approximately one bajillion websites that’ll teach you how for free. Just make sure when you’re working out at home to be aware of any pain you feel, and to immediately stop if it hurts!

4.

Add some new herbs into your life.


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You don’t need your own at-home personal apothecary to make a little magic happen inside. By adding a few new herbs into your daily food intake, you might find you can achieve cleansing and calming results! Here are some easy additions to start with:

Oregano has been found to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Ginger helps to decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain, and calm a nervous stomach. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding it to your green juice or chop it up and let it steep in your tea!

Adaptogenic herbs are super hot right now, and it’s easy to see why: The definition of an adaptogen per Merriam-Webster is a nontoxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning.”

5.

Give in to the power of massage.


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Many of us hold stress inside our bodies, and for many, that means a lot of stiff backs and necks. Naturally massages feel better than “good”; they also help release stresses and pushed down emotions, as well as put us into relaxed states. This also doesn’t mean you have to throw down hundreds of dollars for a massage! Here are a few hacks to get you feeling as relaxed as putty:

Find a friend (or lover). Do you and your BFF both have major back problems? Help each other out and take turns giving simple massages on each other’s back. You’ll be surprised how quickly a couple of karate chops, kneading of shoulders, or added pressure on your shoulders will make you feel better. (The bonus in doing this with someone ~romantic~ is that it’s kind of the best foreplay around.)

Self-massage. No, not that kind! If you’re new to releasing tensions in your muscles by yourself, it’s actually quite easy! I’ve learned a lot by reading about reflexology, meridians, and acupressure points. Guides to this are easily found via Google search, and you can spend hours learning about what points in the body relate to others and trying them out on yourself! You can also follow your intuition and go where your hands lead you — no one knows which areas your body needs help with better than yourself!

Professional Massage. I mean, who better than an expert? Whether you’re looking for the full spa treatment or you’re cool with a minimalist approach, there’s a type of massage for everyone. Browse deals on Groupon, Living Social, Gilt City, and other bargain hunters for a sweet deal!

6.

Try meditation.


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Let’s make 2020 the year we clear our brains of stress, okay? Meditation is a godsend for anyone with a racing mind — myself included. There are so many ways to get started with meditation and lots of ways to do it — it really depends on how you feel most comfortable.

Going to a local meditation class is a great way to go, since all you have to do is show up. But if going out in public is not your jam, there are lots of options for you to meditate at home as well. There are apps like Calm, Inscape, Headspace, and Insight Timer that can help get you started. Don’t want to pay for an app? I totally get it. Luckily, there are thousands of meditations for free on YouTube! Try searching “meditation for beginners” to start, but you can get as niche as you want to — sleep, anxiety, positive energy, chakra balancing…there’s an option for whatever you seek.

As for how to do it, that’s up to you. I personally like to sit while meditating, because if I lie down, I tend to drift off to sleep. I prefer to play my music out loud, but lots of people meditate with headphones on. Monks mostly meditate in silence, which historically is what most people did. There are all sorts of meditation pads, pillows, and blankets that you can buy, but I’m here to tell you that you can use whatever you have in your own house and it will work just fine. As long as you’re comfortable, that’s all that really matters.

7.

Try adding kombucha to your diet.


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That’s right, I’m putting on my Hippie Hat and going there. Does kombucha have a reputation? Sure. Is it overpriced? Yes, often. Does the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) look like the scary glob thing in the Super Mario Brothers live action movie/your nightmares? Totally! But all of these things don’t mean it’s not something to look into. In fact, it might help fix your gut.

You already know that fermented foods = good bacteria to nourish your microbiome. Hannah Crum, author of The Big Book of Kombucha, writes that some of the most reported benefits of drinking the ‘booch include increased energy, balanced internal pH, and a clearer mind. So why not add it into your repertoire? If you really can’t stand “the mother,” try kombucha on tap.

8.

Seek out crystals and gemstones that may help keep emotions in check.


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Yep, I followed up a point about kombucha with a suggestion of ~magic crystals~. If you don’t believe, please move along…and if you’re open-minded, read on!

Here’s the thing about crystals: They’re undeniably beautiful specimens from this world. Are they magic cure-alls? Hell no! Are they the latest trend in the alternative health world? Sure. Is there a children’s TV show that’s all about crystal gems? Hello, Steven Universe. Do they have special healing energies? I’m no scientist! That said, those who find themselves to be receptive to different energies can often “feel” different vibrations from different varieties of stones. (I consider myself to be one of those people.) Whether it’s a placebo effect or the ~real deal,~ many people have found a sense of calmness while working with gemstones and minerals, so here’s a short list of stones for beginners:

Black Tourmaline is said to be protective and grounding. Amethyst is said to help with spiritual awareness, psychic abilities, meditation, balance, and bringing a sense of inner peace. Garnet is said to bring passion, sensuality, romance, intimacy, and positive thoughts. Citrine is said to be increase strength, protection, alignment, and abundance. Lapis Lazuli is said to bring inner power, intuition, love, purification, and self-confidence. Carnelian is said to help with emotional warmth, sociability, creativity, and self-esteem. Stop by your local crystal store, browse Etsy, or follow your intuition until you find a stone that feels right to you. Looking for inspiration? Start here!

9.

Try aromatherapy.


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You’ve probably already heard that inhaling lavender essential oil has been proven to have a relaxing effect on humans, but have you thought about the hundreds of other varieties of essential oils made from other herbs, fruits, and spices from all over the world? Here’s a few to get you started:

Grapefruit, Tangerine, Lime, and other citrus oils are known to brighten your mood immediately. Think about it, have you ever felt happier seconds after beginning to peel an orange? The same process applies while using high quality essential oils. Lemon oil in particular has been shown to have antidepressant-like effects when inhaled and can reduce vomiting and nausea in pregnant women.

Eucalyptus oil is a very soothing oil, if for nothing else than the association many of us have with the smell! Many will relate the smell of eucalyptus to the ingredients in Vicks Vaporub. Bonus: The CDC even recommends it as a long lasting protection against mosquitos.

After you’ve tried your hand at aromatherapy, you can try next-level usage of oils by purchasing some therapeutic-grade oils. Oils of this quality have not been mixed with anything other than 100% pure essential oil and as such can be used topically. If (and only if) you have therapeutic-grade oils, you can try putting them on your skin. I use frankincense oil on my face to keep my skin from breaking out, drop lavender onto cuts and scrapes to stop bleeding and reduce pain, and put a dab of peppermint on my temples to ease headaches. Once you get started, you’ll find that you can replace many of your everyday medicine cabinet staples with your own blends! (Did I mention that you can make your own soaps, cleaners, and “Febreze” easily with essential oils? I’ll save that for another time, but trust me — the possibilities are endless!)

10.

Try energy healing with acupuncture or reiki.


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You might think you’re afraid of sticking needles into your skin, like I was. But after I broke my ankle years ago, I was in so much pain and my recovery was taking so long that I got over my fear and tried it. And guess what? It was the only thing that helped my pain. Since then, I can’t imagine my life without it. Once you find an acupuncturist you trust who will take the time to explain how it works, the needles are much less scary than they seem and they don’t hurt (that much). What’s a session like? Mine are like cozy little naps where I can feel my energy flowing — throbbing sometimes — throughout my body and releasing through the bottoms of my feet. This might not be everyone’s experience, but it’s mine! I have heard that others don’t feel anything at all. I think it probably depends on how receptive your body is to different types of energy. Speaking of…

Have you ever tried reiki? It was recently pulled into the pop culture headlines in the last season of Vanderpump Rules, but we all know that Bravo’s not taking time from precious storylines to explain why Jax was going to see a reiki master and what he was actually doing there. So what is it? Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing technique that uses universal light to cleanse the body’s energy systems. You can go see a reiki practitioner to get it done — an even more peaceful nap for me! — but you can also take courses in reiki and learn how to do it to yourself. Even without the proper training, you can use some techniques on your own, like placing one hand on your heart and one hand on your sacral chakra and breathing to help center yourself and calm down.

11.

Take an epsom salt bath.


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Nothing’s better at the end of a crazy day than a relaxing bath, right? Maybe it’s time to up the ante a bit with the addition of epsom salt. I first came across the idea of an epsom salt bath when nursing an injury, and I was shocked by how transformative they can be.

According to acupuncturist and reiki master Margarita Alcantara, epsom bath salts can help with detoxification, muscle relaxation, replenishing the levels of magnesium in the body, clearing energy, grounding, and helping to achieve calmness. If you don’t have a bathtub (like me, don’t you love city living?), you can achieve the same effect by using a bucket and putting your feet in. It feels really good after exercise or even just walking around a lot in one day.

12.

Spend time in nature.


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Whether you’re an earth sign who relishes time in nature or a city-dweller with no interest in the great outdoors, it will do you good to spent time outside. A recent study from 2019 proves this theory and suggests that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and well-being. To quote Belle and Sebastian, “Get out of the city, and into the sunshine” — you may just find yourself.

13.

Follow your gut and try something new!


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We’re only scraping the surface of alternative healing therapies and modalities, and there is so much more out there! Just a few areas to explore are: Acupressure, reflexology, sensory deprivation, colon hydrotherapy, infrared saunas, salt therapy, cupping, color therapy, plant medicine…the list goes on forever. Just make sure to do your research on whatever you’re looking to try, and don’t force it! It’s important to make sure whatever self-care method you choose feels right and resonates with you. Good luck out there!






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