I'm sure you've heard the quote, "You can't pour from an empty cup" or maybe "You can't love anyone until you love yourself"? Either way, as cheesy as it sounds the concept is important to reaching wellness goals, quite frankly, any goals. Self-care, self-love, pampering, listening to your body, whatever you want to call it, taking care of yourself is the only way that your life as a whole will make sense and make you happy.
I have talked about this concept many times but its because its where I keep having to return to and is what really makes a difference in my everyday life. When I fall off my healthy habits pathway, in mind, body, or spirit, its always when I've neglected to check in with myself and make choices based on what I need, not what I want. This happens when I choose to push through and ignore feelings of frustration, stress, tiredness. When I choose to procrastinate and then cram to finish something before a deadline. When I stay up late, not getting the 7 hours of sleep that I know I need. These things happen all the time, however since I've made myself aware of them, they are happening less frequently. Now I choose to take a relaxing bubble bath when I am stressed or need to relax. I meditate and use deep breathing to bring my stress level down a notch, even if just one little notch. I no longer open a book, my phone or my laptop if its getting close to my "lights out" time at night. Individually these things are not miracle workers, but collectively and done on the regular they keep me from exploding from a days/weeks/months/years of pent up frustrations.
I liken this to watching a pot of water on the stove. As the heat rises and stress increases, the water starts to boil. If you ignore it it will eventually boil over. If you can begin to notice what happens in your body before this boiling over point you can take a moment to use something from your Stress Less Tool Kit to help bring you back into a more balanced state. This tool kit is not a product Im selling (although... mental note), it is a kit you are going to start making for yourself. It should be filled with things you enjoy both big and small, that also bring you wellness and rejuvenation, not just calories and chemicals.
Your kit will be different but here is what mine currently looks like:
- Multiple Herbal Tea Bags - Twinnings Peppermint & Yogi Kava Stress Relief.
- Essential Oils with relaxing and calming benefits - Chill Pill, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, Rosemary (Rosemary is my favorite).
- Lemon Balm Liquid Extract - I put a dropper full in water or tea to help calm the nervous system.
- Reflexology Ball - Right now I just use it under the ball of my foot to promote stress relief.
- An inspiring or funny book - Currently, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
I keep these physical items in a pretty zipper pouch and now even seeing the bag starts to relax me :)
Non-physical items in my tool kit are specific meditations and breathing exercises, taking a walk, going to water, reading outside, taking my shoes off and walking in grass, listening to podcasts or YouTube interviews, listening to my favorite music, cooking healthy meals, journaling, doing yoga, taking a nap, taking photos, writing, playing with my pups. The list continues to grow the more I look for healthy stress relievers. The only way to find these is to experiment by swapping the normal "unhealthy" stress reliever with something new. If you like it, add it to your tool kit. Very slowly you will start to crave these rejuvenation habits when you are feeling stressed out. Go ahead and get crazy. Instead of filling my cup full of self love, I am stocking up enough self love to fill up a well, a wellness well if you will ;)