Self-care is one of the most vital aspects of living a healthy, well-balanced life. Maybe you have your self-care routine down pat (Sunday evening face mask while reading a book with a cup of tea, anyone?) and are looking to change it up. Or maybe self-care is a totally foreign concept to you and you’re starting from scratch. Either way, below are three amazing ways to indulge in self-care that may seem scary but are truly life changing.
Yoga may not seem scary to some, but to others the thought of starting a new fitness routine--especially one that includes flexibility and poses with odd names--can be incredibly intimidating. Look for a class with 101, Basics or Level 1 in the name, and remember that everyone was a novice at one point (yes, even that lady doing a perfect headstand). Ask if the studio offers your first class free or if they have a drop-in rate so you don’t have to commit to buying a package before you know whether or not yoga checks the self-care box for you. There are also plenty of online programs that you can try--check your cable provider’s On Demand menu, search YouTube or try free classes on a platform like Do Yoga With Me. If you give it a go and it’s not for you, the good news is there are hundreds of other types of exercise out there that can aid in strengthening your body and mind and provide a dose of self-care in the process.
When you picture meditation, do you think of a Buddhist monk sitting atop a peaceful mountaintop in a perfect lotus position, Om-ing for hours? Well, meditation can be way less intense--and a lot less time-consuming--than that. In fact, starting with a just a few minutes of meditation per day can be hugely effective at reducing anxiety, calming the nervous system and helping you to chill out overall. Not sure where to start? Try an app like Meditation Studio, Calm or Headspace and do a short meditation (five minutes or less). Pick a time of day, like when you first wake up, when you know you won’t be distracted and will actually remember to do it. If you’re digging it, stay with the shorter meditations for a while until you feel ready to upgrade to a longer session. Rinse, repeat and be relaxed.
To the uninitiated, this may be the scariest of them all. You may be thinking, “Why on earth would I pay someone to stick needles in my body?” Fear not: acupuncture is not secretly a torture method disguised as a wellness practice. The needles used are a special type that are much thinner than those used in the doctor’s office, and acupuncturists are trained to place them in strategic places that can help to relieve pain and tension. According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.”
Even if you’re not experiencing any soreness or tension, acupuncture can be a great way to relax and rejuvenate. What’s not to like about re-balancing your energy flow? Find a licensed practitioner through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at http://www.nccaom.org.
Yoga, meditation and acupuncture may seem scary, but they might just be the ticket to helping you feel like your best self. And if these aren’t your thing, the most important thing is that you find a form of self-care that works for you.