We did it. We've made it through what has to have been the weirdest year in history!
Now it's the time of year that people begin talking about making New Year's resolutions and being marketed to about joining a gym or starting a diet. When someone makes a New Year's resolution, they are utilizing the blank slate that a new year brings to reach all their goals (e.g., weight loss, fitness, self-care, diets, etc.), but many years ago, I made my final new year's resolution; to never make another one. I found that all of my "resolutions'' resulted from other people's influence and not authentically my own. My resolutions to reach my fitness goals or my ideal weight stemmed from body image issues resulting from what the media fed me of what "beauty" is. I realized even resolutions to keep a clean and organized home wasn't even my own. So I stopped making them.
The caveat with New Year's resolutions is it's not a cliche to start at the first of the year or to have a resolution as long as your motivation and passion for change are present and, more importantly, are your own and not a result of false ideologies put on you.
For instance, there is nothing more detrimental to your esteem in the summertime than seeing the phrase "beach body" because if you have a body, it's a beach body, and you don't deserve anyone telling you otherwise. I'm anti-aspirational when it comes to making a New Year's resolution and body image, but I am, however, an advocate of self-care.
Here are ten tips from our Earth Harbor family on how to up your self-care practices in 2021, authentically:
Create a bedtime ritual
Getting your beauty sleep isn't just reserved for princesses, it's a real thing, and there's more to getting your beauty sleep than just going to bed at a decent hour. In fact, beauty sleep starts a couple of hours before you even begin to count sheep.
Creating a space that is conducive to sleep is the most critical element to getting your beauty rest. This includes having comfortable bedding and your perfect pillow. Not everyone can go out and buy a brand new expensive mattress, so investing in a lovely mattress topper works wonders for your sleep.
Dimming the lights about two hours before bed significantly increases melatonin production. While many know of melatonin as the "sleep hormone," melatonin does a tremendous amount more, including helping boost your immune system and keeping your digestive system in check. And detoxing from electronics a couple of hours before bed reduces your blue light exposure, which hinders melatonin production and impacting hormone health. Try utilizing blue light filtering glasses, and take advantage of the night shift mode on your electronics, which dim the screens and reduce the blue light being emitted, converting your screen into a warm sepia tone.
Your bedtime is essential too! Aiming to be in bed by 10 pm helps aid restoration in the body. Because we are diurnal humans, more restoration occurs in the two hours before midnight than in the four hours after midnight. During this restful slumber, your organ systems are resetting and repairing, and your skin cells are replicating. That is why it's called beauty sleep.
Aromatherapy is a valuable tool to utilize in your space, especially the bedroom. Diffusing essential oils like lavender and chamomile has been used for centuries to help aid in a restful night's sleep.
You can even enhance your self-care space with either energizing essential oils such as citrus or meditative essential oils like frankincense and sandalwood (please make sure they are sustainably sourced, though, since these are endangered species otherwise!).
All of the Earth Harbor self care products contain pure botanicals and many have essential oils— all of which create a sense of wellbeing. It's like an aromatherapy spa session in every bottle (or jar).
Take on a passion for your skin.
It has been said that when you become passionate about something, you improve upon it. Think about it; if you have a passion for health and wellness, you are continually improving your health and wellness routine. When you know better, you do better.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and if you are taking care of what's going in your body, you should put the same care into what goes on your body. Learn about your unique, individualistic skin type and what foods nourish your skin type, how your lifestyle affects it, and which skincare products best benefit it.
Tip: Do your face care ritual outside of the shower.
Many people wash their face in the shower and then apply their creams and oils afterward when they get out. But enhancing self-care practices includes a little bit of pampering and TLC for yourself.
Take 20 minutes out of your day when possible to practice a skincare ritual. This includes washing your face outside of the shower. It would be best if you washed your face with cool water and lightly pat dry. The temperature of the water you shower in could negatively impact your skin health, but more importantly, this 20-minute skincare ritual can be very meditative and relaxing.
Tea time equals me time. In our busy hustle-bustle lives, we have been accustomed to and expect an on-demand lifestyle. We want movies to be ready at the push of a button, groceries to be delivered in less than an hour, and coffee to be prepared in seconds. Having tea time is a relaxing and ceremonial aspect. In Asia, tea ceremonies have been performed daily for thousands of years, and in the United Kingdom, tea is a daily event.
A tea ceremony isn't just for special occasions; it's a "Ceremony" because you are taking a moment to celebrate the present. To reflect. To relax. And it's not complicated to do either. Merely preparing your hot water and using a teabag or steeping loose leaves in a teapot, using the 3 minutes it takes to steep to concentrate on your breathing and thinking about things in your life grateful for can have a tremendous impact on your wellbeing. It allows you to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, sip the tea.
The technique of dry brushing has been around for a very long time. It's merely taking a dry brush tool and brushing all of your extremities and your abdomen in gentle sweeping motions toward the heart. The brush's bristles work by gently stimulating lymphatic flow toward the heart, where the lymph system can excrete the toxins.
It's important to start slow with just a couple of minutes in the beginning once a week. The reason you start slow is that as toxins begin to loosen, you may notice a couple of pimples in your groin, armpit, and sometimes even the neck (think highly concentrated areas of lymphatic cells). These are normal healing reactions of detox and usually, go away on their own in just a day or so, but it is a sign your body is detoxing.
Piggy-backing off the dry brushing tips is another excellent and relaxing lymphatic massage technique is using jade tools. Jade is a naturally cold stone that can help soothe tension and stress and is one of the best metaphysical healing stones to keep in your beauty arsenal. Our ISLAND JADE Rose Gold Gemstone Facial Roller is the most traditional (and probably well-known) tool to utilize jade rolling. Still, the ISLAND JADE Gemstone Facial Therapy Mask is a favorite by many since it uses several mini jade stones to create a conforming and relaxing facial mask. But if you're looking for a truly unique experience, the ISLAND JADE Massaging Comb + Gua Sha combines scalp stimulation with lymphatic massage techniques.
Jade tool usage has been shown to reduce skin redness and reduce the appearance of pores and lines with regular practice.
Collagen is a very abundant protein that our bodies need to maintain healthy tendons, skin elasticity, prevent (or heal) leaky-gut, and replacing dead skin cells.
The benefits of collagen are endless, but it's been referred to as the "glue" that holds our bodies together. As we age, our collagen production begins to diminish, which many people refer to as "signs of aging" such as stretch marks, wrinkles, knee pain, etc.
Following a Standard American Diet of highly processed foods causes us to have an insufficient intake of collagen foods (or collagen boosting foods), which results in collagen-related diseases and low collagen symptoms.
Collagen is very complex and contains 19 amino acids, including both essential and non-essential amino acids.
Supplementing bone broth or a collagen powder in your smoothies is a great way to add collagen into your diet, helping your skin appear more youthful and helping with digestive issues. However, consuming collagen in this manner does not guarantee your body's absorption or utilization of the collagen, which is why it's important to help your body make its own (or if you're vegan or vegetarian).
Consuming foods such as aloe vera, silica, vitamins C and E, and pea protein can help your body create and use the necessary amino acids to help produce collagen. In particular, pea protein, which is high in an amino acid called Lysine, which is crucial for collagen creation, and Vitamin E helps protect your body against lipid peroxidation, which contributes to signs of aging.
This is why our LUNA RAIN Phyto-Resurfacing Night Serum and AQUA AURA Reparative Eye Creme helps give you the nutritive tools to age well with their high concentration of seaweed glycoproteins (the ocean's vegan version of collagen) and Vitamin C rich oils.
Fresh air and sunshine
Does this even need explaining? Fresh air and sunshine are the two most important things (aside from food and water) that we humans require. Getting fresh air helps restore your body on a cellular level, and sunshine is a great way to boost Vitamin D, increasing your immune system, and helping you stay healthy.
Grounding (aka Earthing)
The concept of Earthing has been around for millennia, but it's only become a buzzword in the past couple of decades. Like the Japanese concept Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing), the idea is as simple as putting your bare feet on the ground, connecting with the earth. It works by an electron exchange through the feet. This electron exchange behaves in the body and impacts the immune system similarly to consuming antioxidants.
It is believed that the soles of the hands and feet are the best methods of these electron exchanges, so get out there and plant your bare feet into Mother Nature.
Realizing that self-care is not vanity
This is probably the absolute most important tip in regards to self-care. If you take away one tip from this article, let it be this; self-care is not vanity but necessary.
Many people can't bring themselves to practice self-care because it is often perceived as a luxury or pampering. A luxury that takes time and money, something a lot of us have too little of. When the reality is, self-care can be as inexpensive as sitting outside and absorbing sunshine or making a cup of tea.
Do one, or do all of these, but make sure whatever goals you set for yourself this year, they are authentically yours.