Top 5 Non-Negotiable Self-Care Practices
If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal. — Pablo Coelho
Pablo Coelho couldn’t have said it better.
It’s taken me years to get myself out of bed and do the necessary self-care practices that I inherently know will make me not only feel better, but show up better for my students and relationships in my life.
Lets take a look at the process of my morning routine and why I practice these self-care techniques.
Before getting out of bed I first say a few gratitude prayers before my feet hit the floor than I hydrate.
Did you know that by the time your thirsty, your already dehydrated? When I wake up in the morning I drink two cups of alkalized water, one of the cups being copper.
Alkalized water restores body function by cleaning your cells from the inside out. IT improves your immune system function to help you fight diseases and increased blood oxygen levels to deliver more energy to the body. Most importantly alkaline water can neutralize the acidity of the body caused by stress, modern diet,, air pollution and many bottled waters… helping balance the pH levels in the body.
“When water is placed into a copper cup it takes on the metal’s positive charge. Copper is known to scientists and the medical community as having anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties which can help in first aid to speed up recovery times and heal wounds. Copper is also a necessary part of our diet and our bodies use it to produce new cells and to thrive. It helps strengthen our immune systems and if you drink water which has sat in copper for several hours it can greatly improve, and heal, parts of your digestive system.” Go to source.
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2. FLOSS, PULL, SCRAPE, BRUSH
One of my new years resolutions has been more self-care around oral health. Know that my teeth are strong, and I've never had cavaties or anything wrong. I've always had a good routine in the morning and evening, but overtime it's evolved into a sacred and meaningful practice.
First steps first, I use Radius silk floss which is gentler on the gums and 100% vegetarian and biodegradable. Scraping the tongue is an invigorating Ayurvedic practice that removes any build-up on the tongue. Brushing the tongue just spreads bacteria around, as scrapping removes the bacteria in one swift scrape. I promise, once you’ve tried it, you will include it in your daily routine.
The reason for my resolution stems from my last dentist visit. I’m a big coffee drinker and over the years obviously the coffee turns the teeth a not so lovely yellow. My dentist, who is also one of my previous clients, asks me if i’ve ever considered whitening my teeth. Thats when I realized I was blind for so long and got stuck in a morning routine that was no longer serving me. The yellow teeth was a blind spot, what my life teacher calls the octopus on your face. You see it, but I don’t. Ye know, the broccoli caught in your teeth, or toilet paper on your shoe. Blind spots.
A light bulb went off in my head. Days later I went back to an old Ayurvedic method of oil pulling.
Oil pulling involves the swishing of oil around the mouth for 5-10 minutes to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. The built up of plaque can cause all sorts of problems, including bad breath, yellow teeth, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities. When you swish the oil around in your mouth (I use coconut oil) it acts like a glue, the bacteria will get stuck in it and dissolve in the liquid oil. Pretty neat my first few rounds as you see the oil turn from clear to yellow. Nasty, but neat if your into that sort of thing. Ha.
After rinsing my mouth of all the oil, I grab my Radius soft bristled toothbrush to finish off my oral care practice. I’ve been using this brand for 5 years now and will not go back to a regular brush or electric. So let me tell you about my love affair with this meaningful and beautiful designed toothbrush. They are designed by architects and handmade in the US since 1988. They have 300% more bristles than an average toothbrush, making it effective for up to nine months compared to the average three months. This smart 360-degree design, cleans and massages the gums. Feels ahhhmazing. Bonus, the heads can be replaced and the bristles you can choose its softness depending on how tender your gums are. Bonus Bonus it’s designed for both right and left handers.
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3. NASAL HEALTH
After all the oral care, I work on my nasal health. Now, in all honesty, this is not a daily practice for me but I do use my neti-pot a couple of times a week, to more on a daily basis around allergy seasons. These days, a neti-pots are synonymous as one of the tools used in Ayurveda that cleans out the nose and sinuses with salt and water.
I've never been one of those individuals who get allergies really bad around alergy season, but I still do use the neti pot to prevent sinus infections. Learn how to use a neti-pot here.
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Handmade neti-pot from the hands of a teacher and friend in Costa Rica.
4. DRY BRUSHING, SELF-MASSAGE + WARM RINSE
Dry brushing is another Ayurvedic self-care tool. It involves brushing in upward strokes towards the heart and circular motions around the belly.
“Removing dry and dead skin cells by dry brushing each morning not only helps improve your body’s ability to eliminate toxins, but it also improves the function of your sweat and secretion glands, turning your body back into the well oiled machine it should be.” Go to source.
Winter time especially, we are prone to dry skin and low energy, the benefits of dry brushing include, but not limited to: an increase circulation which helps contribute to our overall energy levels, stimulates the lymphatic system, calms our nervous system, and exfoliates the skin which leaves a lovely glow.
After a bit of brushing action I apply coconut oil to hydrate my skin. This can be found as another Ayurvedic self-care tool called Abhyanga — massaging the body with large amounts of warm oil. I massage areas of tension, giving enough time and attention to all parts of my body. I then hop into the shower for a quick warm rinse to open up my pores to absorb the oil and seal in the moisture.
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5. NATURE + MOVEMENT MEDIATION
After i’ve done the needful, I move to my mat to roll around and wake up the spine. My Sadhana (daily practice) always looks different. Sometimes it’s just stepping outside and indulging in some Pranayama to light me up, to feel sharp and alert. Or sometimes its just stirring around on my mat.
I’m always playing around with my morning routine, making changes over time as I learn about new ways to improve the quality of my life. But these self-care practices have become non-negotiable. I hope that some of these practices begin to peak your interest and change your routine for the better, as it has mine.
Cheers to acts of self-love through the practice of self-care,