What if we all took care of ourselves? What would that look like? How would that affect our relationships and our planet? In the modern world, self-care can feel more like indulgence rather than a necessity. We are always on the go and there is more value placed on being productive than centered. It is so rare that our minds and bodies actually slow down and do nothing but receive; oftentimes even during sleep our minds are busy and we wake up feeling tired (see Yoga Nidra). When we give ourselves space, even just for a few minutes, to truly nourish ourselves, we increase our ability to be present, productive, and giving to others.
Sacred Self-Care is a way to infuse your wellness routine with ritual, beauty, and creativity. The intention is to approach self-care as an expression of self-love and not as a reaction to "fix" pain or discomfort. Each experience becomes a sacred act that enhances body, mind, and spirit. Here are a few of ideas you can integrate into your daily or weekly ritual:
1. Union with Nature - Nature herself is the greatest healer. Do you find yourself desiring cleansing water? Take a dip in a hot spring, enjoy a long tea ceremonies, or take herbal-infused baths. Grounding earth? Go for a walk barefoot in the woods or take savasana next to a tree. Transmutative fire? Use sacred smoke such as palo santo or sage or smudge your body, or do "surya namaskar", the practice of giving thanks to the sun at sunrise/sunset. By tuning into which element you are craving, you are bringing yourself into balance on a very intimate level.
2. Beauty Rituals - Sometimes focusing on outer beauty can feel like problem-solving, rather than embracing it as an extension of our inherent inner radiance. I've come to adore my beauty rituals as pleasurable experiences that connect me to my feminine essence. The Ayurvedic practice of Abhyana (oil self-massage) is very calming for the nervous system and leaves the skin and hair glowing. I enjoy infusing my own face/body oils with flowers and herbs, smudging with herbs, and adorning myself with beautiful and sustainable clothing.
3. Digital Detox - We live in a world where we are constantly inundated with information and have so many distractions readily available at our fingertips. Taking camping trips, retreats, and day or weekend-long detoxes from screens are very nourishing. If photos are part of your expression, I recommend carrying a camera, so you can leave the phone behind altogether. I recently put a limit on myself of thirty minutes of social media a day, and while I don't always stick to it, I find it to be a healthy goal that makes me feel more balanced.
Let us take care of ourselves so that we may be of greater service to others!