With Valentine's day just passing I feel like I want to continue on this month focusing on self-love and self-care. To me, self-care is an act of self-love and is the farthest thing from being selfish. Being selfish comes from an intention of lack whereas self-love and care comes from an abundance of love and giving people the best you, not what's left of you.
I love having time alone to nourish myself holistically and really support myself on all levels.
I am an introvert at heart so I need time by myself to recharge.
In this post I have added some of my favourite holistic and herbal self-care routines that I have picked up from yoga trainings, Ayurvedic traditions, and botanical medicine.
Remember when you are doing them, the intention matters. Remember to always check in and make a clear, powerful intention before starting - you will feel a difference, promise.
1) COOK WITH LOVE
It sounds so simple, yet one of my favourite self-care actions is cooking with love. I always like to incorporate herbs into my diet and cook like I am NOURISHING my body. Depending on the time of year i'll use herbs to cool down my dishes or spice them up. If I am feeling extra depleted, ill cook some root vegetables and spice it up with some cinnamon, cumin or another warming herb to make the dish a little bit more sweet and warm so my body can do less trying to digest it. I always like to eat as fresh, local and seasonal as possible. Eating whole foods are obviously better then processed but getting creative with how you prepare, spice and serve them will keep things interesting and exciting. Remember to view food both as pleasure and nourishment. It should excite you but also fulfill you. Don't cheep out when it comes to your nourishment.
2) HERBAL TEAS FOR NOURISHMENT
In my diet I also include herbal teas for health and wellness. A good cup of tea can completely calm me and when they are specially made for me with a herbalists intention you can feel the energy of their intention. It's healing in a cup. Some of my favourites for nourishment and self-care are rose, camomile, melissa, oat straw, holy basil, elderberries, damiana, borage, nettle and spearmint. I tell people to go by their nose, and if a herb smells good then try it. You can also mix up a few and use them together. Make sure to steep with a lid on so all the volatile oils are contained in the cup, unless you plan on inhaling them as you sit with your tea as it steeps. If you are using camomile then make sure you press the herb to get out all the constituents, it's a very absorbent flower that unless it's pressed won't excrete the good stuff. The tea should be a dark yellow almost orange colour and should taste slightly bitter.
If you want your own custom tea head over to here.
3) YONI STEAMS
Yoni steams are such a beautiful container of intimate connection and support for yourself and your womb. I love being able to connect to the divine feminine in such a gentle, subtle yet powerful way. Basically you make a steam by putting hot water over some dried herbs to then "sit" overtop of. You can choose to lay down in a childs with the bowl between your legs or sit on a stool specially designed with a hole in the centre for steaming. Read more about yoni steaming here.
4) ABHYANGA / SELF- MASSAGE
Now, this is also one of my FAVOURITES. I love giving myself a good self-massage with an infused oil. You can easily create your own infused oil, or you can just add some essential oils into some almond, coconut, grapeseed or sesame oil. Depending on the time of year, I switch between different oils, using heavier ones in the winter, and the lighter ones in the summer. If I want extra loving I will warm up the oil before putting it on so that it nourishes my nervous system even more. Some favourite essential oils are lavender, camomile, ginger, and rosemary. Remember to dilute your essential oils and use a carrier when applying.
5) HERBAL BATHS
If your a bath person, putting some essential oils in your bath salts, or some herbs in you water is amazing. You can either steep a really strong pot of tea that you strain and add into your bath, add teabags directly to your bath or if you don't mind the mess add herbs straight into your bath. Some old traditional methods are putting herbs, such as oats, in an old that gets tied and put into the tub. If you want to use essential oils then make sure to add to your bath salts or have a self-massage before your bath and use some then.
6) HERBS FOR HEART HEALTH
Some just general herbs I integrate into my life more when I want to invoke more love, whether for self or others are:
Whatever your movement style is, making sure you get some movement in each week. I personally love free flowing dance and yoga. Moving my body in whatever way it wants feels SO good and really opens up my energy channels and physical body. I think we should have daily movement to explore our bodies and allow emotions to flow.
8) GUA SHA / JADE ROLLING
It's amazing how much stress your face holds. I never realized how much I held on in between my eyebrows and my jaw until I started to massage my face with my gua sha stone. Basically these stones bring a pressure to your skin and stimulates a bit of surface inflammation so expect your skin to go a bit pink. Inflammation is really good for your body in small doses, it helps bring nutrients and increases the amount of cell growth and repair in those tissues. It also just feels AMAZING.
9) CLEAR YOUR ENERGY
I think people forget how much other people's energy effects us on a daily basis. If we are unconscious, we end up being magnets for all the different energies around us. Obviously, I believe we can block energy if we so choose, but I also believe should be regularly clearing our energy. Some ways I like to clear my energy is through nature walks, long baths (maybe with some herbs for cleansing), meditating with the sun on my third eye, and smudging with whatever I have around. I personally have been loving using mullein, rosemary and culinary sage to clear my field.
10) MEDITATION & PRANAYAMA
You don't have to meditate the way that everyone depicts it. Sometimes my mediation is in the bath, or a few breaths after yoga or my morning tea routine. The whole idea is to just become aware of your breath, thoughts and the present moment. By breathing deeply into the tummy we relax the whole body and calm the nervous system. If your ever feeling short on time, pressured and/or anxious take ten deep breaths. In the moments we think we don't have the time for ten breaths we need it the most!
Another breath work practice that I learned in well studying Ayurveda is nadi shodhana which is alternate nostril breathing; it helps to calm the left and right hemisphere of the brain while balancing the upper nadis of the body. This ones my favourite to do before/after meditation.
Asia Mann, E-RYT-200hr, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Birth Doula & Intuitive Healer