As we transition to Fall this year, it’s clear many things will be different. Students will be buying blue-light glasses and colorful masks instead of more traditional school supplies. Navigating a new world of virtual social events and a constant change of plans is stressful, which is why the YOGA + Life® team wanted to offer some words on wellness to students and professionals alike this season. Just like we’ve been starting off our weekly editorial meetings, here are our favorite ways to practice self-care.
Juli Rathke, Founder
Life is in constant change and motion, and so is my self-care routine. Very similar to the seasons, what I am able to do for myself changes with the demands I put on myself. Here is what doesn’t change: I wake usually with the sun — though this becomes more difficult in the winter — but I sleep with the blinds wide open, so I don’t miss anything. Each morning I practice the basic Ayurvedic hygienic tips. I scrape my tongue, then oil pull and drink a glass of water before any I do anything else. The very next thing is I sit and look outside. I have a meditation pillow that doubles as a footrest in my living room that I move to various windows around the house. I sit. I look. I breath and often practice tapping to clear my head. It’s tempting to dive into the day and not look back, so taking this time is imperative for me to be present throughout the day. After I meditate, breathe and walk, I enjoy a cup of coffee. I plan my day, but only write down three priorities which are well rehearsed in my head. They are the same every day.
3. Be Present
The “me” part is to be sure to nourish myself with some movement/exercise, an inspirational story, article or podcast and healthy food choices. The “family” part is to make sure I choose family time first (well second after me). It’s easy to just go-go-go and do-do-do and then realize you missed out on too many moments. I have an older son I learned this lesson with and don’t intend to make this mistake twice with my younger children. And finally, “being present” — this is my reminder to influence in a way that is authentic, engaged, caring, empathetic and compassionate. I have to remind myself to reach out to people otherwise I can sometimes lose myself for days and days in my own thoughts. I’m flexible in that I’m not too hard on myself if I miss something, because every day is an opportunity to be better at being me. I embrace the idea that “I get to” rather than “I have to” do these things. This mindset has changed everything for me!
Kim Fuller, Owner + Editor-In-Chief
Self-care for me is tuning in to what I need in any given moment and taking the time to move toward that whenever possible. Sometimes, when I’m working on my computer all day and my head starts to hurt and I feel the weight of to-dos, deadlines, stress, etc., I ground my feet down and just close my eyes and take three big breaths. I invite in gratitude and ask tension to release, and it’s amazing how much better that 15 seconds can make me feel, any time and in any place. Self-care in my life looks like consistent acts of wellness, including daily movement and lots of water, plenty of time in nature, nourishing foods and some indulgences too. I love working and I do it all the time, but I’ve learned I need to take time off fully, usually on the weekends, when I try not to work very much or at all — I can then carve out the quality time and space to be with myself, family, friends, my body, mind, spirit and the earth. Self-care for me is allowing support and vulnerability, laughter, tears, joy and resilience, on the best days and the hard ones. I know I’m in a space of self-care when I choose love and act in pursuit of balance, connection and fulfillment.
Bobby L’Heureux, Owner + Director of Partnerships
At times, self-care for me seems to be ever illusive. With the world selling self-care, I often think if I am not at a spa getting a massage with a glass of champagne I am doing it wrong. That is when I focus on gratitude. Gratitude in its nature is self-care. This allows me to see the little things I do to take care of self. From prepping for my day the night before to doing the dishes at night to wake up to a clean house. The little things that remove anxiety and stress are all self-care. Our bodies are always trying to find homeostasis and I try to incorporate practices to help my body stay balanced. As of recent, saying no when things do not fit has been a great resource of giving myself what I need. Self-care for me is also making sure there is enough ice cream for my evening snack. Not to overindulge, simply living in harmony with my frequency. Self-care looks different each day and for each person.
Chelsea Connolly, Creative Director
I’m a freelance graphic designer, a wife of a busy restaurant entrepreneur and a mom of two very rambunctious boys who I will soon be homeschooling for the foreseeable future. To be perfectly honest, self-care usually comes as an afterthought when I’m at the end of my rope and about to lose my mind. It’s often preceded by an emergency call to my husband letting him know there’s a code red situation unfolding! In the best of times, it’s a morning trail run with my girlfriends in our gorgeous Breckenridge playground, a mid-afternoon yoga session, a few hours getting dirty in my garden or indulging in a deep tissue massage. In a pinch, it’s a walk around the neighborhood with my dog and my favorite podcast. Sometimes you’ll find me hiding from my boys in my closet sneaking in a 20-minute mediation session. And of course, I’ve never met a glass of wine at the end of the day that I didn’t like. Whether it’s an amazing long weekend away with my friends or a quick 10-minute solo dip in my hot tub, if I’m more relaxed and happy, it’s contagious to those around me. Mostly, I never know when I can fit self-care into my day, but I do know that if I can squeeze in just a little bit of “me time” we all benefit.
Lexi Reich, Editorial Manager
I like to picture myself on an episode of “Queer Eye” when I need to book a self-care appointment with myself — head-to-toe makeover! But really, while I see self-care as a lifelong commitment for my mind, body and spirit, sometimes creating a day (or an hour) for just the practice itself is profoundly healing. Whether I want to indulge in a special restaurant experience or take time to meal-prep healthy food for myself, I see it all as a way to cultivate balance. Tapping into the five senses usually does the trick: for touch it can be entering a yoga pose and feeling my feet on the mat, or taking a bath and letting water seep into my pores; taste can be a calming tea or a vegan cupcake; sound is in the form of my favorite playlist or a new podcast, or maybe even playing an instrument myself; smell represents an essential oil in the diffuser or a walk with the flowers outdoors; sight can be reading a book or watching my favorite movie, or even taking a break with a nice nap. It looks different for everyone and is constantly changing, and that’s the best part about it.
Amber Griggs, Relationships Coordinator
I think we all need a little practice in “the importance of understanding you.” I think it’s something everyone struggles with. What I mean by that is, we all work, play, laugh and cry. Some days are positive and others, not so much. I find it is important to understand more of what you need on a day-to-day basis. If you have had a crazy work week, take a day for yourself to catch up. If you have been having a little too much fun, slow down and get yourself together again. If you are having a horrible day, fulfill obligations that will make you feel efficient and then take a second to breathe by doing something that makes you happy. I’ve come to understand that I don’t always give myself the time to detox from some of my daily stresses and sometimes I focus on fun a little too much. Balance is important to being your best self. Once you start realizing that small changes equate to a big overall picture you can finally breathe and be who you want to be instead of who you think the world needs you to be. Having balance in life keeps us out of the dark places we tend to fall in when we think everything is all work, stress and no play. It’s okay to take a day off, it’s okay to need alone time, it’s okay to have fun. So, take a second and think to yourself about what is important to understand about yourself.
Lauren Farrauto, Intern
Self-care is such an intimate practice. It allows us to truly take a moment and appreciate our bodies and our minds for what they can do — actions that are too often forgotten. Sadly, in recent years, self-care has become commoditized to represent expensive skin care products and splurging for a spa day. Our capitalist society made self-care largely inaccessible at a time we need it the most. Now, many people feel that they cannot spare the time or money to engage in self-care. To combat this, my biggest tip is to do what’s best for you as an individual. Just because taking a bubble bath with a face mask and a glass of wine works for famous actresses and influencers, doesn’t mean that’s what you consider relaxing. Maybe you prefer to journal or go for a run. Perhaps you’re like me and like to curl up with a good book, or maybe you do love wine night in the bath. Whatever the case may be, I encourage you to reject the rhetoric dictating what self-care should be. There are no rules to self-care. It is about indulgence and putting yourself first. It’s about letting go of stress and taking a well-deserved moment of selfishness. You work hard; it’s time to start thanking yourself for it, in whatever way that manifests.
Brooke Welsh, Intern
For me, there is no better way to clear my racing mind than just having some good tunes and my art supplies. As someone who is constantly trying to plan what they are going to do next, art and music give me the chance to be present in any given moment. If I ever feel like I am working myself too hard, I go to my Spotify playlist that is 48 hours long and put it on shuffle. From there, I let the music decide what medium of art I feel like playing with that day. A song with a peaceful melody will usually lead to me painting with watercolors but a highly produced track with a funky bass will have me lost in Photoshop for hours playing around with all the endless possibilities digital art gives us. Whatever it is for you, find that something that gives you that necessary pause you need in this crazy, amazing and unexpected life.
Michelle Yuma, Intern
For me, self-care is as simple as listening to myself. It’s listening to what my body needs, whether it’s an amazing hike, a rigorous run, or just to take an off day in bed and rest. It’s listening to my emotions, my thoughts and feelings. Acknowledging I’m going to have bad days and that it’s okay to not go to a social event I had previously agreed to. Self-care is giving myself that space for my own emotional and psychological needs. It’s listening to my plans for the future, or discontent for the past. I think a lot of people have the connotation that self-care is something material, where marketers take advantage of the term “self-care” to increase sales. I don’t think self-care requires creams, masks or indulgent food every time. That’s up to one’s self. I think the first step in figuring out what you do need, is to simply listen, and then go from there.
Photo by Taryn Elliott.