5 Tips for Self-Care in the Winter
So you're going about your everyday (winter-adjusted) life and then the kind-of-expected-but-never-sure-when happens... you get sick. But you don't have to let it get you completely down. From the go-go-go perspective that most of us are still trying to keep up with from the warmer months, yes we may feel like our lives are coming to a halt! But if you've allowed yourself to settle a bit and have learned to take some time for yourself, when you get sick it wont feel as much like a dead end stop and more like a narrowing windy road through the countryside that you just need to slow down for. Keep moving forward, just at a slower pace.
Here's 5 Tips for Self-Care in the Winter:
I've said it before and I'll say it again, make yourself a pot of tea. Like 4 times a day. Stay away from cold drinks and sodas. You can have your caffeinated teas during the day if needed, but in the evening make yourself a pot of a nice herbal tea. Try Tulsi, Peppermint, Chamomile, or one of my supermarket favorites - Tension Tamer by Celestial Seasonings.
Your insides function easier with warmth. With hydration. With herbs.
Let your body adopt the mantra, "Work Smarter Not Harder". Here's another saying to give your body... "A computer (calculator..? I can't remember) is only as smart as it's user." Hi. Your body speaking. I'm so incredibly smart and divinely designed to function at the highest performance level possible, but it's up to you to provide me with the right stimulus and nutrition.
2. Neti Pot
We talked about the mysterious "neti" in my Yoga Teacher Training. Most yogis were very familiar with this natural remedy for the sinuses, but I was at a complete loss. Not to mention I was afraid of getting water up my nose in the first place! Why would anyone want to voluntarily get water up their nose?! I had been complaining one day to a friend about how incredibly stuffed up I was and no medicines were working. She mentioned Neti and after hearing my hesitation, offered to get together and take me through the process. WOW! So. Much. Mucous. Just Draining. Totally Gross.
But that's just the thing... it was out, in the sink maybe... but it was out of my body without blowing uncontrollably, without medicine and chemicals, just salty (ok, NaCl chemicals) distilled (or boiled) water. Granted the mucous machine in your body will keep making more like that is it's only job or something. But you can just keep right on Neti-ing.
At first it may feel like you're drowning, but once you get the hang of the head tilt/nasal drain concept, you'll be a-flowin' in no time. And learning about your unique body and how it functions along the way! You can even find them at the store right next to the cold and flu medications.
JUST TRY IT.
This one gets me every time. I tell myself that because I'm sick, I need to just lay down and soak in my misery and drink tea and I'll be OK eventually. Yeah, maybe. But getting up and stretching, doing a few sun salutations, warming the body up from the inside out with movement and breathing exercises, can speed up the process. No, I'm not saying to go to a hot power yoga class (or any class for that matter, stay home as to not spread the germ!) just take some nice yoga time to yourself in your own home in your warm pj's. Just as you use your Neti Pot to move the gunk out of your nose, you use yoga to move the sickness through and out of your body. Get that life force moving again so it doesn't stagnate.
4. Essential Oils/Massage
Get yourself a big bottle of sesame oil for the winter. This is what I use. *Before getting in the shower - rub this stuff allll over yourself! Not just rub, massage that gooey goodness in to your muscles, to your belly, to your face even- it's safe and hydrating! Get every last inch and appreciate your skin and body while doing so. A little bit of love goes a long way. In Ayurveda we call this Abhyanga. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to a mason jar, pour a body size amount of sesame oil in and use that for your massage. Then get into the shower. No need to scrub and wash all the oils off- I promise your shins are relatively clean. Just wash the dirty parts with soap while the rest of the skin soaks up the oil and hydrates the scales we've accumulated of the winter.
Not to mention all the specific benefits each essential oil has on it's own! Even when just diffusing in the air... But that's a topic for a later discussion. I do suggest googling which essential oils are best for the ailments you're experiencing. Like lavender for relaxation, lemon for congestion, peppermint to aide in fever reduction, or basil for adrenal support.
5. Bathtub Soak
If you're feeling the whole pamper yourself vibe and have some extra time... after your above mentioned oily massage, step into a nice warm bath and have a soak. I wouldn't suggest getting your hair wet unless your locks are extra dry and in need of some oil therapy. Don't worry about cleansing yourself here. Just soak. Be. Light a few candles.
Turn on some soft music or enjoy the peace and quiet. Allow your mind and body to de-stress.
Another option... for more of a detox route, take an Epsom salt bath. I like to pour my salts into a jar, add just a small amount of sesame or coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil (eucalyptus is a recent favorite) to the jar and stir it in with the salts. Don't add the essential oils straight to your water, this could be harmful as oil sits on the surface of the water, therefore not diluted in any way. For all the benefits of Epsom salts, I found this article.
Do these things even when you are feeling golden and like you could run a marathon. Slow down anyways. We're forced to tune in to our bodies when we get sick. Take that knowledge into your everyday healthy life. Tune in. Notice how you're feeling. What could make you feel EVEN better? Pamper yourself when you think you don't need pampering. This is prevention. Prevention in key.