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Self-Care Tools: How to Use Them for Holistic Health

Self-care is a super-hot topic in the holistic health realm these days. And for good reason! What was once considered an indulgence is now seen as a necessity to balance a healthy body, mind and spirit. 

What is self-care, exactly? We all know that making sure we’re fed, hydrated, clothed and getting sufficient rest each day are necessities. What we’re talking about goes beyond these basics, incorporating tools and tactics into our regular routine that make us feel revitalized, energetic and grounded.

The What, Why and How of Self-Care

Many of us struggle with thoughts racing through our minds — endless ‘to do’ lists, analyzing our actions, etc. Although we try to control this, invariably we are just more stressed. And unchecked stress can lead to anxiety and depression, aches and pains, weight gain, lackluster skin, or worse. One great way to manage stress, though, is with self-care rituals.

There are physical tools that help to relieve feelings of tension and, at the same time, can make your skin look like a million bucks. And then there are the more subtle tools, like meditation and quality sleep. Let’s take a look at how to set up a self-care routine that will fit your holistic health lifestyle.

Tools

Who doesn’t love a new toy? Self-care tools come in different shapes and sizes, are effective in easing muscle tension and are fun to use. The fact that beautiful skin is part of the package doesn’t hurt either.

Gua sha stones and jade and quartz rollers are simple to use and offer big time benefits to face and body. These tools are used on the face to massage fascia, reducing puffiness and encouraging lymphatic drainage. Both may also be used on the body for deep tissue massage. Be sure to use a gentle touch when using a self-care tool on your face.

Another technique that benefits from the use of self-care tools is as an alternative to acupressure. High tech rollers made of surgical-grade steel offer deep tissue detox, improving elasticity, fine lines and skin radiance. These tools are also beneficial for massaging your body after workouts or when carrying tension.

Activities

Movement is an important part of holistic health. Rather than simply pushing yourself to get to the gym for an intense cardio session or heavy duty weight regimen, use exercise to boost energy and mood. In other words, do something you love.

Do you like spending time outdoors? Take a hike or hit your local bike trail. Yoga and tai chi have mind/body benefits that last throughout the day. Team up with a buddy or family member to make movement even more fun. The key here is to make activity a priority and schedule it in so you’ll do it regularly.

Mindset

Possibly the toughest element of holistic health is mental attitude. It’s not possible to think wonderful thoughts every second of each day. So, the first task in this self-care category is to cut yourself a big dose of slack. Next, take up meditation.

If the thought of sitting still for 30 minutes of your day as you attempt to wrangle your racing mind seems like the opposite of a stress buster, it’s time to rethink meditation. Begin with a few minutes each morning and grow your practice. Or try active mediation. As you go about your daily routine, try to focus on the task at hand without letting your mind wander. When it does (and it will!) gently bring your thoughts back into the moment. Hey, that’s why they call it a meditation “practice”.

Another way to bring yourself back-to-center instantly is with aromatherapy. Choose essential oils that hold the qualities you’re looking to instill. Citrus scents are revitalizing and refreshing. Mint scents are good for clearing the mind. And lavender is perfect at bedtime. Need extra help getting your Zzzz’s? Try a natural supplement that works to calm your mind and body without the sluggish feel of prescription or OTC medications.

Whether you like to practice self-care first thing in the morning, before going to bed, or throughout your day, the point is to do it regularly. Set self-care appointments in your calendar or put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your bedroom door, or double up and meditate while you’re taking a long soak in the tub. Every little bit counts!