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My Favorite Self-Care Activities

Favorite Self-care Tips via Food by Mars

This “self-care” stuff is getting a lot of attention lately, and I couldn’t be happier about it. And just because it may appear “trendy” doesn’t make it less valuable. I hope it gets more attention, gives people more ideas and makes it feel possible when we see our community and friends joining in! It’s helped keep it more top of mind for me, since honestly, self-care tends to fall by the wayside when it isn’t the basics of hygiene because I GET BUSY! And I know we can all fall into that sometimes. But, by prioritizing self-care slowly but surely, it’s majorly improved my health and sanity so I’m sharing my favorite self-care activities with you and hope it inspires you to try something new.

What exactly is self-care anyway?

Self-care is a way to take time for yourself and to take part in any activity that makes you feel happy and relaxed or positively stimulated, and by practicing this regularly – it helps you with stress management/reduction, and to generally feel happier and healthier. This is nothing new, and it’s been around forever! Saunas, baths, and other self-care rituals can literally be traced back over hundreds of years into the beginnings of civilization. It’s not necessarily indulgent and certainly doesn’t have to cost money, but it does require you to put some time aside to really take care of yourself so you can take care of everything and everyone else! Sometimes it might be seen as selfish but I argue that without a healthy balance of self-care in your life, you’re simply not as equipped to be selfless for those around you. Think of it this way… if the plane loses pressure, you’re instructed to do what? Put the oxygen mask on your face FIRST before helping your neighbor. This is because if you pass out, there is no helping your neighbor.

And I find that for those who spend a ton of time working, taking care of others, or who simply aren’t comfortable with taking time for themselves… they need it the most or they only tend to do it when they’re at their most desperate. For example, I used to get massive shoulder pain from my desk job, poor posture, and overall working myself into a stressful state constantly. So only once it was finally unbearable pain, I’d run to get a massage, which only helped for a few hours before the pain returned. Only once I started implementing more self-care, walks throughout the day, a standing desk here and there, and some regular baths or sauna sessions did that pain really go away. I now see it’s because I let it get so bad and de-prioritized myself for so long that it needed to be integrated more regularly to actually make a difference. Self-care is the opposite of a magic pill, it’s a practice and is totally custom and personalized to everyone, and can constantly change based on your needs or preferences.

Non-Toxic Winter Skincare via Food by Mars

My Favorite Activities

  • Epson Salt Baths
    • 2 Cups of Epson Salt in hot or warm bath water, make sure it’s dissolved before getting in. Here is my favorite jumbo bag! I also love adding these luxuriously scented bath salts. Soak for approx. 30 minutes and then shower/rinse, I love ending it off with some body oil. Voila!
    • Kick things up a notch: light candles, get an essential oils diffuser going, play some relaxing music, and anything else that creates a totally relaxing atmosphere.
  • Meditation
    • I love the Chopra App and Insight Timer for meditations.
    • You can meditate anywhere! And if sitting still doesn’t feel good to you at times, walking meditations ARE A THING. Whatever can help you slow down, and focus on your breathing.
  • Sauna
    • The sauna is a great place to be alone, relax, and sweat it out!! I started a couple of years ago going to my local Infrared Sauna spot (look that up near you!) and after 2-3 tries, fell in love with it– so I invested in my own. It’s great for, dare I say most things? This is a great way to detox. Grab a good book, or meditate and just relax in the sweatiest possible way. I prefer infrared vs. traditional steam saunas because infrared penetrates deeper and helps with pain relief as well. You also don’t know what’s up with the steam sauna’s water supply… so if you filter your water at home, it’s just as important to make sure the water you take in through your pores is filtered too.
  • Long walks
    • I love walking. It clears my head, and I get to be in nature… yes, even if that’s a city street, at least I’m outside getting some air. I like to focus on my breathing and my surroundings.
  • Art or Arts & Crafts
    • Sometimes my mind is in overdrive, ideas, thoughts, stress – you name it. And I can’t stay still, relax, or breathe deeply! So I really just need a distraction and my pick is to be creative with all that excess energy. I love coloring, painting, food photography of course, and have recently gotten into embroidery through this adorable store on Etsy!
  • A Yoga Class or Sound Bath
  • Netflix & Chill-AX
    • Obvious, right?? HAHA sometimes I need to turn off my brain and watch some zombies or dragons or laugh it out with a stand-up comedian.
  • Getting Help
    • Sometimes my chores start to pile up because I’m busy, and that neglect causes me anxiety… while I can’t do it often, sometimes I do need to hire some help with cleaning the apartment or getting my laundry done! My husband is always helpful in lending a hand but sometimes we just need a professional to get in there and do it RIGHT. So treating myself to a cleaning service and then relaxing with a book on the couch with my essential oils diffuser after makes me feel like a champ!

When and how often

Timing-wise, I’d say everyone is different. Look at your schedule and determine how you can fit in a few minutes each day or more! And then perhaps weekly there’s something you can do for longer (like that bath or sauna sesh!). The more regularly we can incorporate this, the more balance we can strike with all the running around and stress we have constantly from our daily lives. It’s only fair, right? These things add up, so start small as comfortably as you can and identify what you’re already doing that counts as self-care! If you must… add time to the calendar, block it off, and that’s a great way to make it a priority and make sure it happens. Perhaps one day it won’t have to be as rigid or planned if you don’t like doing it that way, but if you’re struggling to get it in… it’s not a bad place to start.

-Alison Marras
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