Reflecting on the past few months, I think we can all agree—2020 has been a unique and stressful time.
We’ve been caring for family members, creating and utilizing new workspaces in our homes while simultaneously homeschooling our kids, and cleaning, CLEANING and C.L.E.A.N.I.N.G some more.
Everyday activities like grocery shopping have become more complicated. We’re social distancing, wearing masks and always armed with some form of antibacterial wipe or gel.
Friends, I think it’s time we gave our weary selves a little TLC! What do you think? If you’re ready, read on!
When I think of self-care, I think of a day at a spa with a massage or a facial along with hanging out in a sauna and finishing up with a soak in a whirlpool. But, often it’s the little, simple things we do day-to-day that can make the greatest difference in our inner and outer well-being.
Try a Homemade Sugar Scrub
Make a simple sugar scrub with a built-in moisturizer to exfoliate dry or rough skin. You’ll love how soft your skin feels after using it.
Sugar Scrub Recipe:
- 1 Cup Coconut Oil (not the liquid)
- ½ Cup Sugar (This is the only time I use white table sugar in my home)
- Essential Oil (I use 10 drops of eucalyptus and 10 drops lavender together; choose any scent you enjoy.)
Using a hand mixer, combine ingredients and whip until completely combined. Store in a mason jar.
How to use your scrub: First, rub the scrub all over your body. Continue to rub it in as you rinse it away with hot water. It’s even great for your face (avoid your eyes) and neck. Use your face wash to remove any excess oil.
After the shower, pat your body dry with a towel and get dressed. No need for lotion on sugar scrub day! You can use this scrub once a week for soft skin without over-drying. This scrub makes a great gift, too!
Take a Hike!
Hiking is one exercise you can do while social distancing! As the temperatures rise, the flowers are in full bloom and the leaves on the trees provide perfect shade.
Where to hike? The easiest way to find a great trailhead is to do an Internet search for “hiking trails near me.” My own quick search located 20 trails, no more than 30 minutes from my home. You can expand your search as far as you like to get a change of scenery.
How does it help? Hiking in nature can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest part of your nervous system). Use your senses to fully enjoy your experience. Take in the sights of nature, like the trees and foliage. Listen for birdsong, animals and the sound the wind makes in the trees. Touching can be tricky…while you wouldn’t want to touch poison ivy, try dipping your toes in a waterfall or stream. And, breathe in the fresh, fragrant air.
What to pack? Pack a snack to enjoy midway through your journey and don’t forget water. Many trails have benches along the way. Bring a book or a journal to enhance your experience.
Foods to Spark Some Energy
This time of year, light meals prepared with fresh, whole ingredients make a body feel good inside and out. This article highlights 27 energy-boosting foods. One of the suggested foods is quinoa. Check out my yummy recipe for a Greek Salad Quinoa below.
The great thing about this recipe (or any recipe for that matter) is you can adjust it to your liking. If onion bothers you, leave it out. If you’re not a feta cheese fan, use goat cheese or leave it out altogether. I like to eat this salad on top of a bed of mixed greens to add some phytonutrients (nutrients found in plants). If you eat meat, you can add some grilled chicken as well. Here’s the recipe:
Greek Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups liquid to make quinoa – I use chicken or veggie broth
- 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and in half again, then slice
- Handful cherry tomatoes
- ½ red onion chopped
- ½ cup Kalamata olives cut in half
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Make quinoa as directed on the package. (Before cooking, rinse it first in a mesh strainer until liquid runs clear.)
- While quinoa cooks, prep veggies.
- Let quinoa cool to room temp.
- Add veggies, cheese, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Add more lemon juice and oil as desired.
Moments for Meditation
Some people hear (or read) the word “meditation” and they decide immediately, “I can’t do that.” While quieting the mind takes practice, it can be learned.
Where to begin? Start by finding a relaxing place. It can be in your home or a special spot outside, wherever you’re able to feel your body come off of the hamster wheel.
Relax. Sit however it feels comfortable to you. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to make your belly rise instead of your chest. Sometimes lying down is the easiest way to learn this belly breathing technique. And that’s it—see how simple meditation can be?!
Take it slow. Your practice can be as long or as short as you like. If you’re new to meditation, start slowly. Yes, your mind will wander, but that’s part of the learning process. My favorite FREE app to teach meditation is Headspace. It starts slowly, allows you to increase the time as you progress, AND the man who speaks has a lovely British accent!
Find Comfort with Hygge
Try living like the Danish do by living a “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh) life.
What is hygge? Last April we visited Lainie, our youngest daughter in Copenhagen while she was enjoying her semester abroad. A wonderful tour guide told us about life in Denmark. He explained hygge is a way of living; it’s a cozy feeling, a mindful way of slowing down to appreciate the small things. It’s about feeling good and creating an atmosphere of comfort.
Hygge comes from the heart. Hygge doesn’t mean you have to wait for a cold night to light a fire and snuggle in with blankets and hot chocolate— although that’s considered hygge too! It’s really about doing for others from your heart. It’s about quality time, anytime.
Hygge can be a regular ritual. Living a hygge life can be enjoyed alone or as a group. Our guide mentioned spending Sunday nights with his extended family for dinner each week. Three generations of family laughed, told stories (both current and from the past), enjoyed food and each other’s company. They did this each week, year-round, not just for special occasions.
Most of all, do what makes you feel good! Pick one thing from a list of activities you enjoy and put it on your calendar. Make it a priority – Make YOU a priority this summer! You deserve it!