I hear so often from my friends, colleagues as well as clients, that they are feeling totally overwhelmed and exhausted due to all the demands and stresses of modern life. Many say they feel like they are on auto-pilot and not as motivated as they used to be. For some, their work has lost its purpose everything has become such an exhausting effort. And then there are those who spend more time looking after everybody else first, not having the time to think even about the desires and needs of their own.
Do you find that you are always so busy, tired, stressed out and are you frustrated, feeling like you need some time out all to yourself? There is so much to do, so many obligations and so little time to do it in. Well, you are not alone.
Let me let you in on a little secret that has helped me fit so much more into my life. It was a piece of advice that I was given once when I was very overwhelmed myself. It’s so simple, but it is SO effective.
Are you ready for it?
You’ve got to slow down to speed up!
So, what does that mean?
When you are stressed and busy, you can’t think clearly. When you are calm, poised, serene and connected to yourself, it’s like you’ve got more hours in the day. When you are calm, you develop the capacity to do more, be more and experience more in your day.
So here are my simple six tips to help you to calm down to speed up to enable you to fit more into your life!
1. Create a morning ritual
I used to answer about ten emails or messages and check all my social media apps before even getting out of bed in the morning. But starting the day off like this often sets a negative tone for the day, and I now know that most issues can wait. I’m learning that I’m much happier when I take 45 minutes to wake up slowly, spend time in my garden and shower before checking email.
Create a morning ritual to help set your “vibe” for the day. So many of us are living on auto-pilot and just reacting to whatever happens to us throughout the day. If you watch the morning shows you’ve already been subjected so much bad news before your day has even started. This puts you into a negative “vibe” with a negative filter. Your brain will start to seek out negativity.
Why does this happen? Have you ever decided that you want to buy a car and the moment you decide on a make and model, you begin to see that car everywhere? You may not have noticed that they were everywhere before, but now that you’ve set your “intention” to buy the car, similar cars just seem to pop up. This is because the part of the brain known as the Reticular Activating System automatically seeks out the information that you placed your “intention” on and brings it to your attention. Find out more about the Reticular Activating System here.
Write a list of the 10 things that you are grateful for. I do this as part of my morning ritual. Make sure you think of 10 different things every day. When you are in a grateful mindset you, increase your contentment and life satisfaction. Having an “attitude of gratitude” improves mood by boosting your feelings of optimism, enthusiasm, and happiness in your life.
2. Incorporate a meditation practice every day.
I start every morning with a short 10-minute meditation using an app called OmHarmonics. The meditation helps me visualize the things I’m most grateful for and allows me to reduce negativity and design my perfect day. I find that early morning meditation increases my self-awareness and helps me put into perspective what really matters. This practice helps me start the day more positive, energetic and happy.
Meditation helps us counteract the stress we all face on a daily basis. By detoxing the mind and letting go of thoughts and feelings that don’t serve us, meditation helps us reduce stress and all of its negative effects, allowing us to have the capacity to fit more into our day.
You can start off by just doing this for five minutes every day and build up to 20 minutes of meditation on mindfulness every day. Try to do this at the same time every day and make it a ritual. I usually do this as part of both my morning and evening rituals.
3. Do something relaxing that you love regularly
Do something you love, something that you really love and savor every moment you are doing it. You can be something as simple as taking a bath, or listening to beautiful music or indulging a hobby such as gardening, painting or taking in the sights of a beautiful view. If you have a pet, spend some time playing with or cuddling them. Or if you have children spend some quality time or play time with them.
Write a list of all the relaxing things that you would love to do. All those things that you’ve meant to do but haven’t gotten around to yet. After you have done this schedule them into your calendar and set reminders. Keep your list of things that you would love to do somewhere where you see it often. This will remind you of the things you love to do so that when you are busy you can easily refer to this list.
Try to do one thing each day no matter how small, just because it makes you happy. You’ll be flooding your body with “feel good” endorphins and feeling great.
4. Disconnect the devices and Re-connect with nature
We spend far too many hours in front of a screen or hunched over our phones these days. Switch everything to air-plane mode and disconnect from the constant social media and email alerts for about one hour a day and re-connect with nature. You can sit under a tree at lunchtime and read a book or walk barefoot on the grass or wet sand. Go for a swim in the sea or lay down and simply watch the clouds in the sky.
Our bodies respond to touch, whether from other human beings or the earth. The texture of sand, earth, or the grass underneath our feet or back or the protective canopy of a huge tree above our heads helps us to ground ourselves and reconnect with the natural environment that surrounds us. Be in the moment paying attention to all the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations that you experience. This is such simple a thing to do that can be invigorating we so often overlooked in our busy digital worlds.
5. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a wonderful tool for self-examination, goal setting and celebrating your successes. You can use it to track your progress, encourage yourself and especially when you are trying to encourage better self-talk. It is a great outlet for dealing with challenges and a place where you can process your thoughts. It really helps to get some feelings that you have bottled up inside out and on paper. I have found I have gotten to know myself better by keeping a journal and by writing down my thoughts have more understanding about how I feel about things.
6. Schedule in some more “me time”.
Think of some ways you could schedule in more “me time” and the practice self-acceptance and self-love. It could be having a massage, relaxing at a beach or giving yourself at home beauty treatments. Having a Day Spa at Home at home is an excellent way to do this so schedule in some “me time” regularly for relax, restore and rejuvenate.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing the simple ways you can slow down to speed up and if you got something out of this feel free to share, like or comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts and your stories.
How often have felt like this? You feel like you have just gotten to sleep and the next thing you know your alarm is blaring. It’s time to get up, again. You reach out for your phone, hit the snooze button, “just a little more shut eye before I get up”. And then before you know it, you’ve already pushed snooze three times to find you’ve only got enough time to have a quick shower, rush to get dressed and bolt out the door.
You push through the day fuelled on a cup of coffee and a donut without any time to prepare a good nutritious meal, or for exercise. And the thought of setting aside some time for self-care to nourish your spirit seems to be a luxury that might occur in the distant future once you’ve caught up with everything on your plate.
Sleep, wake up, work, repeat. Sound familiar? This kind of daily grind will eventually lead to burn out. This is what happened to me. I worked and studied hard. I didn’t set aside time to look after myself. I was so focused on my goals, achievements, and meeting the huge expectations I had of myself. I thought I was bulletproof and that I could handle juggling all the balls I had in the air.
I always thought “I’ll take that vacation when I get that promotion, or after that project finishes.” Or “I’ll have a massage after work” only to find that I would have to cancel my appointment as something urgent had come up at work.
I thought work came first and my work related goals were my priorities which left me little time for anything else. Eventually, my body forced me to take a vacation, but it was not at a beautiful resort. I was bedridden, completely burnt out, and it took a very long time to recover.
It is so vital that you set aside time for self-care, to look after yourself. I know. You’re busy, and finding the time to take good care of yourself can be difficult. But it’s important to ensure that you avoid being battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.
Are you stuck in an unhealthy daily grind? Here are ten simple ways to incorporate self-care into your life.
1. Start your day with a morning ritual
I used to answer at least ten emails or messages before even getting out of bed each morning. I’m learning that I’m much happier when I take about 45 minutes getting ready for the day by spending time in my garden, showering and then performing my morning ritual before looking at my emails. Most issues can wait and are better dealt with when you are ready to deal with them.
I start every morning with a short 10-15 minute meditation from an app called Om Harmonics. We spend so much of our time in a hyperactive stress out state that we often forget that it isn’t our natural state. Relaxation through meditation gives us a chance to reconnect with our inner self and helps us ward off unnecessary after-effects of stress, which ultimately put a strain on our bodies. Follow the link for more information on Meditation.
After my meditation, I then write down the ten things I’m most grateful for which helps me to start the day intentionally focusing on finding good things rather than reacting to anything and everything that is going on around me. I then set my intention for the day. I find that if I write down my intention I usually find that I have the type of day I wanted.
This morning ritual helps me to start my day on a positive note. It also increases my self-awareness helping me to put into perspective the things that matter the most. I have also found that by setting aside time for this morning ritual, I am more productive as well as happy and relaxed.
2. Schedule some me time in first
When you put yourself on your schedule first , you won’t have meetings and appointments that prevent you from taking care of yourself. I prefer to put myself as my first appointment of the day on my calendar that is linked to my phone and my laptop as well as my other devices. This way I ensure that I follow my morning rituals and not get caught up in the day, deciding later to skip on important things that keep me grounded, like exercise and meditation. This is so helpful when you have people at work who look for free time in your calendar to schedule a meeting. If you have time already reserved some “me-time”, you will be more likely to keep your appointment with yourself, and the bonus of having reminders increase the chances that you will keep your appointment with yourself.
3. Set specific time slots when you don’t work.
Focusing on work is a great excuse for not taking care of yourself. I schedule work-free slots first thing in the morning (before eight a.m.) and dinnertime (6 to 8 p.m.). During these time my computer is off and I answer my phone for only those who important in my personal life. Block off work-free times in your calendar. This is the best way to ensure that these times are clear for your “no work” time.
4. Get moving
Exercise is one of the most critical components to staying healthy and maintaining optimal wellness. Sedentary lifestyles produce mediocre bodies and fast-forward the aging process. To achieve greater health and feel your best, you must move your body. Of course, there are virtually thousands of ways to exercise, but each one of us has different needs and health concerns. How you choose to exercise isn’t as important as simply being active. In other words, whether you decide to run 5 miles every morning or shoot for a quick 20-minute walk around the neighborhood, as long as you are moving you can attain physical fitness.
For me, I love yoga. It has many so many benefits, from helping to keep you physically fit to helping relax the mind and washing away feelings of stress and anxiety. With our busy lifestyles, it is common for people to forget to take a little bit of time out for themselves to de-stress and recuperate after a hard day of work, and yoga has the potential to achieve this. Yoga is a low-impact exercise and, therefore, can be done by people of all physical levels and all ages. It’s the easiest way to reset your mind and body in 60 minutes.
Most of all choose something you love doing and aim for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week.
5. Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal is an excellent tool for self-examination. You can use it to track your progress, encourage yourself and especially when you are trying to help better self-talk. It is a great outlet for dealing with challenges and where you can process your thoughts. It helps to get some feelings that you have bottled up inside out and on paper. I have found I have gotten to know myself better by keeping a journal and by writing down my thoughts have more understanding about how I feel about things. .
6. Have a chat
In studies conducted in places where there are the greatest concentrations of centenarians (people over 100 years of age), such as Okinawa Japan, one of the most important factor attributed to their long lives were family and friends and their sense of community. Your friends and family are your biggest supporters and are a great source of encouragement. When you are having a very stressful and busy day, pick up the phone for a few minutes just to say hi to Mom or have a chat with your best friend. You don’t have to talk about your problems, just talk about the good things that are happening in their lives or just have a laugh. It will keep you grounded and connected.
7. Read, watch or listen to something inspiring
One of the best ways to refresh your mind is by taking an afternoon break from your workflow and escaping to another world. Fictional stories help to stimulate right brain activity, sparking creativity. This might contribute to making your day go a little smoother by helping you to think in a different way. Biographies are wonderful for inspiration as well. Choose someone you really admire and become engrossed in the story of their life..
Another great thing to do in your afternoon break is to go outside, get fresh air and listen to an inspiring podcast or a Ted Talk with the podcast app that now comes standard on the iPhone.
Or you could simply go for a run or a walk and listen to some uplifting music by using the iTunes radio or Spotify app on your phone.
8. Make time for play.
It is vital to incorporate play time into your life. Do something you love, and savor every moment you are doing it. You can be something as simple as taking a bath by candlelight, or listening to beautiful music or indulging a hobby such as gardening, painting or taking in the sights of a beautiful view. You can plan a holiday to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to. If you have a pet, spend some time playing with or cuddling them. Or if you have children spend some quality play time with them. Make a habit of doing something fun at least once a week.
9. Remember to Pamper Yourself
Pampering yourself facilitates relief from stress and helps you to connect with your inner self. It is a good way to practice self-care and self-love. However, some feel that pampering yourself is selfish. The truth is that this type of thinking is flawed. When you practice self-love, you have more of yourself to give to others. In fact, when you think about it this way, the practice of self-love is a really a selfless act. There’s nothing more important than making sure that you are just as happy and just as healthy as can be, especially in the stressful and pressure-packed modern world we all live in today.
Make time regularly to have a Day Spa at Home. It will help you to have beautiful hair and skin while letting the stress and pressure of day to day life just melt away.
10. Get enough Sleep
The health, well-being and beauty benefits of sleep are incredible. Getting the sleep your body needs helps lead better mood, energy levels, focus and concentration. Not to mention that many detoxification processes are performed while we sleep and helps your brain to process what you have done during the day. To do perform at and to be your best, it’s critical to consistently recharge your batteries by getting adequate sleep.
It is so easy to get stuck in a grind. I know, I’ve been there myself. All of the stress and pressure of life in our busy modern lives is having an adverse effect on our sense of self-worth and our ability to love ourselves—nothing could be more detracting from leading the happy and fulfilling lives we were meant to lead. It is so vital that you set aside time to look after yourself, inspire yourself and to do something completely different to work, study or just the same old routine. I hope this article has given you some ideas to incorporate some self-care into your life. They are so simple but make such a difference.
Baths can be a useful way to transform your bathroom at home into a sensual and enjoyable sanctum that you won’t want to get out of any time soon! A great home-made natural beauty treatment is a detox bath that is both relaxing and luxurious for your skin.
To make your own detox bath treatment, start with Epsom salt, sea salt, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and your favorite essential oil such as lavender or rose geranium for the perfect scent. Put all ingredients in your warm bath and just soak away. This detox bath is great for relieving stress as well as easing tired muscles, and always has health benefits to boot. We’ve got some great recipes below for a DIY Detox Bath, so light some candles and let’s get started. (more…)
Meditation is one of the most ancient forms of spiritual practice. Buddhists have used it to connect with self-awareness and as a form of prayer. In the modern world, meditation has become one of the most popular ways to combat stress, anxiety and depression. Recent research has even revealed that meditation can be used to prevent premature aging. Medical research shows that consistent meditation balances the body’s hormones and helps the brain maintain proper function. Over time, this can translate into a more youthful vigor that shines through for many years to come. Below we have listed the most powerful anti-aging benefits of meditation that you can except from your practice.
It Strengthens the Pre-frontal Cortex
The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for planning our life and focusing our attention on important areas of it. As we age, the lining of the pre-frontal cortex becomes thinner and affects our ability to think and focus. However, Sara Lazar, PhD at Harvard’s psychiatry department revealed that the pre-frontal cortex of meditators was thicker than that of non-meditators. This means that meditation helps you stay youthful from the inside out!
It Increases Melatonin
Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle and hormones throughout our body. It has also been proven to slow down the aging process, amp up the immune system, and help prevent cell damage. Increased amounts of Melatonin correspond to better sleep patterns and more energy, which also contribute to anti-aging throughout the body. During meditation, vast amounts of this hormone are released, providing all of the benefits listed above.
It Reduces Stress
Modern medicine has revealed that stress is just as bad for our health and aging as obesity and smoking. Meditation helps us counteract the stress we all face on a daily basis. By cleansing the mind and letting go of thoughts and feelings that don’t serve us, meditation helps us reduce stress and all of its negative effects. This in turn prevents fine lines and premature cell damage.
It Helps Eliminates Wear & Tear on the Body
By spending just an hour a day (or even just 20 minutes) in a meditative state, you can effectively prevent the premature aging of your body. We spend so much of our time in a hyperactive stress out state that we often forget that it isn’t our natural state. Relaxation through meditation gives us a chance to reconnect with our calmer self, and helps us ward off unnecessary after-effects of stress, which ultimately put a strain on our bodies.
It Helps with Anxiety
The neural pathways of the brain are tightened and weakened when we suffer from persistent anxiety. This causes us to think unclearly and illogically. This in turn increases anxiety and causes us to age much more quickly than we would otherwise. Meditation reverses this trend. It loosens the neural pathways and increases our brain’s ability to make rational connections. As your brain and body align in near perfect balance, it begins to relax and age much more slowly than it would otherwise. By taking up a relaxing and consistent meditation, you can turn back the clock and reconnect your body’s ability to fight off cell damage caused by stressors and environmental factors.
The best part of meditation is that anyone can practice it right from their very own home! Start your meditation practice today and reap the numerous anti-aging benefits in the future. Follow the link for more information on how to practice meditation, mindfulness or creative visualization.
Having a facial in a day spa is wonderful! It’s such a treat for your skin as well as your senses. You’re lying down in a candlelit room, having beautiful creams massaged into your face, while listening to calming, soothing music and breathing in heavenly aromas. But doing this on a regular basis is expensive. Plus, you have to book in advance and get yourself to your appointment. In the busy modern world we live in, who really has the time to do this very often?
The good news is that you really can make your skin softer, smoother and more beautiful by re-creating the day spa experience at home. You can use any products that you have. But, you can also make your own personal natural beauty treatments easily, without any chemicals, additives, or other harmful ingredients. You will also save money by creating your own natural beauty treatments as you will already have many of the ingredients in your kitchen.
So this weekend, select a day, make yourself a delicious detox water infusion (see our Detox Pages for recipes) and follow these simple steps for some serious pampering in your Day Spa at Home.
Put on a clean fluffy robe. Get towels and facecloths ready. Light some candles, burn incense or essential oils in a diffuser. Turn on some Day Spa music. A great suggestion is below:
Now you’re ready indulge in some at home skin pampering.
Coconut oil makes a great cleanser for all skin types. Even oily skin will benefit from a coconut oil cleanse. It gently removes dirt, impurities, and make-up, and excess oil and will leave your skin soft and moisturized.
Dampen your skin with a splash of warm water. Use 1/2 tsp coconut oil and allow the oil to melt between your fingers if it is solid and gently massage into skin on your face neck and décolleté for a minute or two. Remove with a facecloth dampened in warm water. Soak a cotton pad in witch-hazel and wipe gently over the skin removing any residue oil.
Prepare a gentle scrub by combining 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tbsp thickened cream (or yogurt) in a bowl until they form into a thick paste. Apply your scrub to wet skin in gentle circular motions avoiding the eye area. Continue scrubbing for a few minutes. Remove scrub by washing with warm water.
Or you can perform a papaya peel. Papaya contains antioxidants and enzymes which help to slough off dead skin. Mash up some ripe papaya or wipe the inside of the skin of papaya that you have eaten, over your face, neck and décolleté before you rinse it off just, perform a steam cleaning treatment.
For a simple steam clean run a facecloth under really hot water (be careful not to let it get too hot that you burn yourself), wring out the excess water, and drape it over your face. Let the cloth sit for a few minutes. The enzymes from the papaya and the steam work together to really open the pores and clean and smooth the skin.
A clay mask deep cleanses your pores and mops up impurities. It also makes your skin look beautiful and radiant. All you need is a little of any type of dry clay – like bentonite clay or fullers earth, and 1 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar and a drop of essential oil like palma rosa, lavender or rose geranium. Mix it all together to form a paste like consistency. Apply to your face with your fingertips or a foundation brush avoiding the eye area. Let it dry on your face then rinse off (typically about 20 minutes). Remove by soaking a facecloth in warm water, apply the facecloth to the whole face to wet the clay and remove the clay very gently.
You can use a natural, DIY face mask that leaves your skin soft and moisturized! Avocado has natural oils and nutrients in it that are just wonderful for pampering your skin.
Mash up a medium-sized ripe avocado, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/4 cup whole yogurt. Gently apply it to your face and neck. Sit back and relax for 20 minutes. Use a warm damp facecloth to remove the mask when you’re done.
You can use the time while you have your hydrating mask on to get your eyes in shape and get rid of those puffy bags. One of the greatest weapons against dark circles is Chamomile tea. Soak cotton pads in a little cold chamomile tea and apply to dark circles. Allow the liquid to dry. The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile will soothe and calm your tired eyes and help tighten skin while reducing redness. Lay back with your eyes closed for about 15 minutes. You can also use cotton pads soaked in witch-hazel or rose water or slices of cucumber. These natural ingredients are naturally cooling to the body and help to reduce redness and puffiness.
Facial Serum & Massage
Facial serums are great for adding some much-needed moisture in the skin, as well as for applying regularly to usual problem areas such as directly on frown and smile lines, around the eyes, or when your skin just needs a little extra care. The best facial serums are completely natural and made from ingredients that can be understood and pronounced, meaning no chemicals or other harmful ingredients should be in your facial serum.
Mix 1 oz apricot kernel, avocado or almond oil, 5 drops lavender oil, 5 drops geranium oil, 2 drops chamomile or sandalwood oil in a glass amber bottle and shake well before use. Massage well into cleansed skin using upward motions following the directions in the image above. For the leftovers, the oil blends will keep for a number of weeks. In summer it is best to keep them in the refrigerator.
Finish off with your favorite moisturizer to seal in the oils and you have now completed your DIY facial.
Listen to music, read a book or watch an uplifting movie. This is your time to treat yourself, to recharge your batteries and soak in the benefits of the wonderful natural beauty treatments that you have given yourself. Remember to schedule in some pampering on a regular basis to recharge your batteries as well as pamper your skin.
It is so important to your health and well-being that you look after yourself. We live such hectic lives these days, it is vital that we take some time out to hit the pause button and relax. One of the best ways to relax and unwind is to have a spa day. You do not have to pay for expensive spa treatments to get the benefits and the results that a day spa has to offer. You can have your own spa time right at home and get amazing results and feel just as pampered. Follow these simple steps below to have your own DIY Day Spa at Home.
Set the Scene
Turn on some spa music. You can easily find some great spa music on Spotify or YouTube like the above. Light lots of beautiful candles. You can choose beautifully colored and fragranced candles or put tea light candles in the room where you will be performing your treatments and also in the room you will be relaxing.
Start at the Top!
First things first lets get your face really clean. Use a clean towel to wrap your hair or pull it back with a pony tail holder. You will want to have prepared this luxurious face scrub before you get started. ½ cup honey, ½ cup brown sugar and 1tbsp olive oil and a drop of your favorite essential oil. Palma rosa is lovely or you could try Lavender or Patchouli. All these ingredients mixed together makes a great facial scrub. Dampen face than apply scrub. This is a gentle exfolient that will remove dead skin and leave your face glowing.
Use a circular motion to gently scrub away the dead skin cell. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.
The Eyes Have It!
Now to get your eyes in shape and get rid of those puffy bags. You can use some cucumber slices that have been chilled. Simply place the cut slices on your eyes and lay back with your eyes closed for about 15 minutes. You can also use green tea bags that have been steeped for about 2 minutes and then chilled, in place of the cucumbers.
Clay Detox Mask
Once your face is scrubbed and your eyes are less puffy it is time to use this healing detox mask. All you need is a ¼ of any type of dry clay – like bentonite clay or fullers earth, and 1 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar and a drop of frankincense essential oil. Mix it all together and avoid the eye area when you apply. Let it dry on your face than rinse off (typically about 20 minutes).
Your Hands and Your Feet
You can easily take care of your hands and feet to get that baby smooth feel by using a Paraffin bath that is easily purchased at any beauty supply store (the initial cost will pay for itself by month two of your day spa at home).
Use a Body Brush
You are now in the home stretch of your day spa activities. Use a body brush that has been sprinkled with a few drops of essential oil like Rosemary to stimulate or Juniper for cellulite and scrub your body good. Follow the directions in the image above for best results. You can use a sugar scrub while you are at it made from ½ brown sugar and 2 tbsp mineral oil or melted coconut oil. Now step into the shower and massage your skin with your scrub for several minutes, then rinse off. Finish off by alternating the water in the shower from warm to cool. This really helps to tone and firm your skin.
Dry off by patting your skin, step into a fluffy robe and relax. Read a book, watch a movie, listen to your favorite music – whatever makes you feel good. You will feel like you spent the day at the spa and feel like a million bucks!