Five Self-Care Favorites

May 30, 2014 by

When you hear "self-care," what do you think of? Do you think of brushing your teeth, of seeing a therapist, or of going to the beach? There are many ways we care for ourselves, everything from getting enough sleep to eating well and planning some play time.When I think of self-care, I also think of everyday habits that help my body do what it is so perfectly designed to do.

It's meant to use the wonderful food and nutrients we take in to keep us healthy, and it's designed to identify and reject and eliminate the bad stuff to keep us well and healthy. There's a lot of bad stuff these days, from regular old germs to food additives and an abundance of chemicals. Sometimes the bad stuff can overwhelm our bodies, and then we feel cruddy, run down, or sick.

What's a body to do? It's time to show our bodies some extra love, to help them do their jobs and keep us in tip-top form. You know I love simple, easy, quick, tips that make sense and feel good. These are five of my favorites.

Tongue Scraping

If you're still brushing your tongue, it's time to up-level. Why scrape rather than brush? Our mouths are full of bacteria, especially in the morning. Brushing swishes the bacteria around, and some of it ends up in your belly - NOT where you want it. Purchase a metal tongue scraper and use it every morning to sweep bacteria off the tongue and send it down the drain. Gently scrape from the back of the tongue (not so far back it makes you gag), and rinse. Repeat until there's nothing coming off on the scraper.

Drinking Water First

We're made of water - about 70% water. When we wake up in the morning, we're already dehydrated. Then when we reach for coffee first, guess what? We're dehydrating ourselves even more. Dehydration muddies our thinking, makes us sluggish, can make us constipated (no fun) and can make us feel hungrier than we really are. So, start with 16 - 20 ounces of room temperature (or warmer) water first thing in the morning for clearer thinking, more energy, easier elimination, and an appetite reality check.

Oil Pulling

This one might sound odd to you, but once you've tried it a few times I bet you'll love it too. All you do is put about a teaspoon (up to a tablespoon) of oil in your mouth. You can use plain sesame oil (not the Asian style), olive oil or coconut oil. I like coconut best. Just hold it in your mouth, swishing it around for up to 20 minutes. Don't swallow it! When you're starting out, just go for 5 minutes. Set a timer and use that time to make breakfast, check your email, or put a load of laundry in the washer. When the timer goes off, spit the oil into a trash can. Do not spit it out in the sink, unless you're a fan of clogged drains. Rinse with salt water or plain water. Your teeth will feel great!

Dry Skin Brushing

I really love this. You've used a loofah or a brush in the shower, right? Gentle brushing of the skin with a dry natural bristle brush or loofah is a wonderful way to stimulate the lymph (which drains toxins), get rid of dead skin cells and even break up fat deposits that we call cellulite (I've got a lot of brushing to do). To dry brush, stand in the shower (so the dead skin cells go down the drain), brush gently in long strokes up to three times in each area. Don't forget the bottoms of your feet, but skip any areas that are sensitive or where you may have a rash or injury. Brush toward the heart, and enjoy your softer skin and improved circulation. You will love it!

My friend Liz asked me why we're supposed to use a dry brush, isn't brushing in the shower the same? I did some research and couldn't find a good explanation. But what I've noticed is that when you use a wet brush, the bristles are softer. You don't get the same brushing effect from the softer bristle because it bends easily. Do it both ways if you like, but don't skip the dry brushing!

Walking

I love to walk in the morning. It's quiet, the air is fresh and cool, and I get to hear the sounds of nature waking up around me. I'm in an urban area but there are lakes nearby so we have lots of wildlife and my morning walk is like a mini-hike. It's also a time to check in with myself, physically, mentally and emotionally. If there are kinks that need to be worked out, chances are that walk will take care of them. Taking a walk in the morning, especially after having a big glass of water, also helps ease elimination, and that's a great way to start your day. And did you know it also helps your bones get stronger? Yep, it's true.

Your Turn

Do you have some favorite ways you help your body out? Maybe it's meditation, massage, or a type of exercise that makes you feel wonderful?Please share, I'd love to hear from you!