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I’m a bit of a rebel. No, scratch that, I AM A REBEL. And with that, I’m super hard on myself. I push limits. I challenge almost everything. And that means I often forget about self-care.
Even though I am one determined lady, I’m not always so determined to follow a self-care ritual or routine.
And that’s when meltdowns happen.
You know how it goes…
You start thinking, then you think some more, then you start comparing, and before you know it, you feel so down on yourself that you start sobbing uncontrollably.
Like, elephant tears.
You become a giant sobbing mess of hormones.
Then you think, “why am I crying?”
And you beat yourself up just for crying. But you gotta cut yourself some slack. And when you do?
That little voice in your head says, “It’s okay to cry sometimes. Everyone needs a good cry. It’s okay, just have a good cry and you’ll feel better. Just let it out. Everything will be okay.”
Then the mindfulness happens…you ask yourself, “why did this happen and how can I prevent it?” Or, let’s face it — reduce it.
You realize that so much has added up to your meltdown. For me, it was the culmination of starting a new part-time job, going through long hours of training, putting a lot of energy into my own biz/freelance career and coming down from what had to be the most amazing trip I’ve ever been on.
It’s tough work when you’re a non-conformist battling your way to creating your own career.
You feel like a beginner all over again. You overwhelm yourself with thoughts that you should be doing more when you’re already going gangbusters giving your all.
And that’s the perfect time to stop. Turn off the distractions, show yourself some love, and find yourself again. The first step in any self-care routine is to show yourself some compassion. Remind yourself that YOU ARE WORTHY of me time.
11 Self-Care Rituals I Use to De-Stress and Be More Mindful.
1. Curl up with a cup of tea and your fave book.
I love me some good romance novels and a bit of sci-fi too. So, I grab myself a great book, curl up somewhere comfy and get lost in a book. It’s a perfect way to get your nasty, overthinking brain back into the present moment. (Note: Fiction is best to keep from overthinking. I love Austen or any kind of romance from Nora Roberts or Johanna Lindsey.)
2. Lie on the floor, focus on your breath, and listen to soothing music with your eyes closed.
I love doing this. It makes me feel grounded. I opt for new age music or earth sounds like thunderstorms, the ocean, frogs, crickets, and yes, even the sound of a train. Funny story: the sound of frogs and crickets puts me to sleep and is the biggest thing I miss most about my house (it had a small wetland out back and I would lie on the couch with the windows open listening to nature).
3. Light a candle and simply stare into the flame.
Believe me, this works. It’s another way that I meditate, and it’s called candle gazing (Trataka) meditation. It’s best to do this with an unscented candle so you can focus on your thoughts instead of being overwhelmed with a perfumey candle – do as the Scandinavians do and try an unscented beeswax candle.
4. Take a long, hot bath with Epsom salts or bubble bath. Bonus points for turning off the lights and having a few candles around.
Hot bath? Yes, please! What’s not to love? Pour in some Epsom salts and reap the health benefits all around. This is the perfect de-stressor after a difficult day. A long, hot soak in the tub leaves me relaxed, my skin and body detoxed, and yep, has me sleeping like a baby. I have the best night’s sleep after a hot soak.
5. Paint your nails, toes, and curl your hair. Just for the heck of it.
Sometimes I just feel the need to be extra girly. I don’t know what it is, but glossing on a few layers of pink polish makes me feel better about everything. It raises my confidence level.
6. Drive somewhere you haven’t been in a while and simply sit. Or walk. Your choice. WITHOUT YOUR PHONE.
I have a few fave spots I enjoy going to and sitting peacefully. First is a short walk away from where I live – a giant rock where I sit and stare out into the sky and clear my brain. Next is a bit farther and involves a drive to Lake Ontario but it’s well worth it. I head to Downtown Oakville, grab an iced latte from Starbucks, and march down to the lake to soak in the sun and fresh air. I also take some time to people watch. It’s a great stress reliever!
7. Sit on a rock (or bench) outside with your fave Moleskine and write whatever comes to mind. Freewrite!
Leave me with my fave Moleskine journal, a pen, and some alone time and I’m a writing machine. I’ll brain dump what’s bothering me, write poetry, and if the mood strikes, I may even pen a short story or two.
8. Have an Artists Date.
Head to your fave art gallery, get crafty, or snap some photos. I can get lost for hours snapping photos of the outdoors, or even staging photos at home. Doing something creative focuses your mind on one task and can be a great stress reliever.
9. Dance around like a maniac to your fave songs.
Hello happy endorphins, goodbye bad mood and bad thoughts! There’s nothing like shaking off a bad mood to some upbeat tunes. I love throwing on my yoga gear and dancing like a maniac for 20 minutes. My faves songs to “Shake it Off?”
10. To find perspective again, write a gratitude list.
You’ll immediately focus on how much you really have, the beauty that’s all around you, and be present in the moment.
11. Cuddle with the cat (or dog).
What’s not to love about cat cuddles? I’m known to sit on the couch, with my cat curled up on my lap, sipping a cup of tea, doing nothing else. No TV, no YouTube, no iPhone distractions. Just a purring cat and a whole lot of relaxing. Dogs work too, but I’m a cat person. #sorrynotsorry
What are your self-care rituals?
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