Now, these ideas that I’ll talk about in this post are not those little things that I’m able to do every single day, but they should be done often enough that it doesn’t feel like a "treat". Self-care needs to be embedded into your routines because otherwise, we burn ourselves out in between, and no one likes that feeling! I’ve found that after any of these four activities, I feel better and therefore, am able to BE better for everyone around me. Here are some ways that I’ve helped myself become more centered, more relaxed and just all-around feeling good!
I first started going to acupuncture when I found out that I was pregnant with Taso (my third) and was at a higher risk for gestational diabetes because I had developed it in my second pregnancy, and had already failed my first glucose tests in the first trimester this time around. Yikes. Gestational diabetes wasn’t necessarily a terrible experience for me, but it definitely wasn't easy. And quite honestly, who wants to be told what they can and can’t eat during pregnancy? (along with all of the other restrictions!)
My friend Caitria had started her practice and so I asked her if she could help me try to prevent developing diabetes again with acupuncture. When she said "yes, absolutely" I jumped at it! Not only did I not develop gestational diabetes with that pregnancy, but Caitria was able to help me with so many other things that came up along the way such as stress, anxiety, varicose veins and other aches and pains. Let me tell you something about acupuncture: This. Stuff. WORKS.
I have continued going to get treatments for a variety of reasons, like colds, sinus issues, skin issues, and also just for some general rest, relaxation and feeling more refreshed after the appointments. My treatments vary from month to month depending on how I’m feeling and what I need. If you’re someone who is afraid of needles, I can honestly say that there is minuscule to no pain involved in these treatments. You really can’t feel the needles most of the time. There are also other treatments that are offered through Chinese medicine that don't involved needles like acupressure, gua sha and more. It is an incredible feeling to actually know that it is working, and continue to look forward to each appointment.
If you are in the Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin area, definitely check out Connected Healing and follow Caitria @connectedhealingcaitria on Instagram. Caitria practices in Burlington, Wisconsin at Bodhi Tree Acupuncture & Wellness!
This one is probably the thing I do the least, but need the most, and that is soaking my feet! I don’t get pedicures very often so my feet get pretty neglected. When my feet are in need of some pampering, this is a quick and easy way to do it. I get out a little plastic tub, fill it with hot water and drop in a few of my favorite oils to soothe my skin and my mind. It is a great combination of aromatherapy and skin treatment that just feels amazing during and after!
You can really use any oils that you want, but my favorite combination is lavender and peppermint. The feel great, smell great and leave my skin so much softer than before. Even if its just for 5-10 minutes, a good foot-soak can make a pretty big difference!
While this isn’t everyone’s favorite topic, getting more active and working out has become essential to my life. I usually only go once a week, (twice if I’m lucky) but even that hour or hour and a half of exercise feels amazing afterwards! As I’ve written about in previous posts, we joined a gym as a family, so childcare is available which is also great for the older boys to socialize. I’ve kept a workout routine going that varies, but I’ve focused on trying to alternate weight training and cardio.
My sister, Ariel, recently became a Cycling instructor at The Dailey Method in Vernon Hills, and convinced me to try out her class. I was terrified. I had only been working out for a few weeks prior to when I took my first class. It really wasn’t as scary or difficult as I thought! Cycling (or spin) is really what you make it for yourself. There is something to be said for having someone that is motivating you in the moment to work hard, and people alongside you pushing you to do more, but also to make it seem ok when you need to take it easy. I’ve enjoyed cycling classes more than I ever thought I could, and I look forward to each class I am able to take!
Again, if you’re located in this area, definitely check out The Dailey Method! There are locations in Vernon Hills and Lake Forest and they also offer barre classes, which I need to try out next! Thank you, Ariel, for making me step (or spin, really) out of my comfort zone and try something new and fun!
I first discovered my love for Audible when I joined my book club, because it allowed me to finish the book of the month while driving, doing the dishes, folding laundry, etc. I’ve come to love it even more recently because the books that I’ve been interested in outside of my book club picks have been geared towards motivating and bettering myself in different ways. It really helps to listen to these types of books for me--one, because I don’t usually have time to sit down with a physical book and read, but also because it feels like (and literally IS) someone telling and verbally explaining the things that you can do, try and be.
Some of my recent favorites in this area have been “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle. These three books have made me feel better and just do better in some way. I’ve also just started “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” by John Gottman based off of my friend Darla’s recommendation. We were discussing raising our boys who are just being toddlers, but can be quite a challenge when dealing with tantrums, roughhousing and all of the other fun stuff. I’m really hoping that listening to this book can give me some tools to help in my daily life and teaching my boys to deal handle their emotions in a healthy way. Hopefully I will handle my emotions in a healthier way, as well!
If you haven't already, check out Audible and start listening! You get your first month for free, and there are often free books available, too!
So those are four of my self-care activities that have really become a part of my routine! I hope you try one or all of them out if you are feeling the need to focus on yourself a bit more! Enjoy & take care of yourselves!