If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you might remember a series that I wrote in 2015 called "Something For Yourself". The main point of the series was to give my readers some ideas on how they could bring self-care into their lives. I'm a big believer in doing nice things for yourself and even though the series only lasted a few months, I still had a lot of ideas that I never got around to writing about.
So, I've decided to bring back the Something for Yourself series and keep talking about self-care and self-love. Honestly, none of the ideas I'll be sharing are all that revolutionary, but even in their simplicity they are all valuable ways to show yourself some love.
If you'd like to look back at some of the original posts, here are a few of my favorites:
For today's post, I wanted to share a new treat that I've been loving lately, detox baths. You've probably already heard about how terrible flu season has been this year and I'm hoping that you've avoided getting sick so far.
A few weeks ago I came into contact with someone who ended up having the stomach flu, also known as Noro virus. Within that first 24 hours I didn't necessarily feel sick to my stomach, but I felt really drained and could tell my body was fighting off something. In addition to sleeping on and off all day, I also decided to try taking a detox bath, which I had heard about on Pinterest.
I headed to my trusty Health board on Pinterest and looked at a few of the articles I had pinned. Different sites had a variety of options for detox baths, but the main component always seemed to be epsom salt.
Here are a few major health benefits of taking epsom salt baths:
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits from taking an epsom salt bath. After I took my detox bath, I felt slightly tired and kind of drained, like my body was extra relaxed. By the next morning I felt SO much better and felt completely back in good health, despite my contact with the stomach flu. Part of my recovery could have been all the extra sleep I got, but I also believe the detox bath helped flush the virus out of my system and prevented me from getting full-on sick.
Here are some instructions for taking your own detox bath. You can do this up to 2-3 times a week. I would recommend trying your first couple of baths in the late afternoon or early evening, because you could either feel extra tired, overly alert, or a little of both. I remember laying in bed after my second detox bath and feeling extremely tired and relaxed, but having my mind racing around thinking about how amazing I felt.
If you're like me and have an extremely shallow bathtub, I've found an amazing solution that is super handy and super cheap on Amazon!
This drain cover is called the Bottomless Bath and is currently listed on Amazon for just $9. I ordered one for myself and I can tell you it worked like a charm! It might have worked a little too well, honestly. I was so excited to have my bath fill up much more than usual that I ran a little too close to the top of the tub. I had to be careful when moving not to splash water over the side. Next time, I'll be sure not to get carried away and will leave a little extra room.
Let me know in the comments if you try taking a detox bath! I can't wait to hear if you love them as much as I do!!
Last week I talked about creating a relaxing morning ritual for yourself to get your day started off on a nice note. Today I will talk about ending your day with a "me" night that will let you relax before bedtime. Here are some ideas for your "me" night:
Here are some YouTube videos that have other ideas on how to have your "me" night:
These are just some of the ideas you can add into your night routine for a "me" night. You can mix and match whichever ones you like and keep switching up your choices until you've created a routine that works for you. Let me know in the comments if there is anything else you like to do on your "me" nights.
This week I'm going to talk about starting your day off right by establishing a morning routine for yourself. Each person is different, so there's not one perfect morning that will work for everyone.
What I would suggest doing is writing down two or three things you can do each morning so that you can start your day on the right foot and set the tone for the rest of the day.
Here are some ideas on things you can do:
And here are a few YouTube videos that have some other ideas for you:
Hopefully after a week or two of following your routine you will feel like mornings are a time to get centered for the day instead of feeling like you're starting off the day by being frazzled. Let me know in the comments below which of the ideas you have incorporated into your morning routine.
Something for Yourself: Meditation
Meditation is one of the most recommended forms of relaxation and stress reduction. It is easy to learn and only takes a few minutes a day, so even if you are new at it you can still enjoy the benefits right away. I have been meditating on and off for a few years now. As one doctor explained to me, meditation is a chance to do nothing for a few minutes of your day. While meditating you are free from worries and concerns that typically stress you out.
Here is a great article by Daily Makeover on how to get started with meditation. Either follow the instructions listed in the article or try it on your own. There are plenty of ways to get started with meditation and different formats work differently for each person.
The way I started meditating is by finding meditation podcasts on iTunes and doing guided meditation. This made it easier for me because I needed to hear a voice that would guide me along the meditation. For me, sitting in a quiet room is a perfect recipe to let my mind wander and start to overthink things, which is the exact opposite of what you're trying to achieve. One of my favorite podcasts is called Meditation Oasis.
There are also apps you can put on your phone that can guide you through meditation. Here's a link to a previous article I wrote about the meditation apps I use and why I like them. Some of them include visualization to help you relax, which is another form of stress relief I like to use. Visualization is also great in helping you achieve your goals, similar to what we discussed last week with vision boards.
However you decide to bring meditation into your life, remember that it takes time and practice to quiet your mind and relax your body. The more you do it the better the benefits you will see in your life.
I am always looking for new meditation podcasts and apps, so if you have any favorites please share them in the comments below.
Next week I will talk about establishing a morning routine that will allow you to get your day started off on a positive note.
Apps for Relaxation & Meditation
I have recently been trying to focus on relaxation and meditation to alleviate stress in my life. It turns out there are many apps out there that can help with guided meditations or sounds to play while relaxing. Here's a snapshot from my phone of all the apps I've downloaded:
I'll give you a quick description of each app and how I've come to use each of them:
This app is free and very easy to use. You're given pre-set scenes with relaxing sounds that can be used with a timer. Sometimes I'll just open this up while I'm reading or doing stuff around the house to have some background noise. There is also a series of meditations and a program of guided meditations to follow. I haven't used these yet, but plan on trying them out soon.
As the name implies, this app can be used to alleviate anxiety. There is a pre-recorded meditation session that lasts for almost half an hour. I found it to be very effective to help me relax and clear my mind. The free version has limited options for the settings, but they can be configured if you pay $2.99 for the upgraded version.
In the free version of this app you are given 10 days of meditations. They are each 10 minutes long and are guided by the same person each time. The app also has some handy animations to explain some of the principles of meditation. This program would be great for a beginner who doesn't have much time. There is an option to subscribe to the service for more programs. I have gotten through 7 out of the 10 days, but I don't think I'd subscribe for other programs only because there are other free options available elsewhere.
This app is similar to the Calm app in that it has pre-set recordings you can easily choose. It also has a timer function so you can set the sounds to stop after a certain amount of time. There are locked sounds that you have to pay for and I find it frustrating that it gives you the option to unlock the sound but doesn't tell you how much it costs. When I click the unlock option it prompts me for my iTunes password without giving me any indication of how much I'm about to spend. I'll just use the free sounds if I'm tired of the sounds offered by Calm.
I think this is my favorite app for sounds. It has a lot of options that you can layer together into your own personal mix. My favorite right now is a combination of Thunder, Rain on Roof, and Wind in Trees. I like it so much that I haven't tried any of the other sounds. There are other sounds that are locked. It says you can get a lifetime access of all 108 sounds for $9.99. Your other option is to choose either the 3 month subscription for $6.99 or the 1 month subscription for $4.99.
This is the only app that I paid money for out of all the ones I've listed. It was recommended by one of my favorite YouTube channels, so I went ahead and bought it for either $1.99 or $2.99, I can't remember which. As soon as I heard the voice for the meditation I realized it was from Meditation Oasis, which is a podcast I've been using for meditation for the last couple of years. So if you want to save some money and not buy the app, just go to the Podcast app and subscribe to Meditation Oasis. They have plenty of meditations for different purposes, so I can't imagine that the app is much better.
I have had Sleep Pillow for a long time and had kind of forgotten about it until I got back into listening to relaxing sounds on my phone. It is easy to use and gives you the option to either use pre-mixed sounds or the option to create your own.
At first I really liked this app because it has set meditation programs for you to follow and gives you badges as you complete the series. I also like that it tells you how many minutes you've spent meditating with the app and how many meditations you've completed. I started with Mindfulness 101 in the Adult section of the Programs menu and really liked it. Then I went to Mindfulness 102 and things started to get weird. One of their meditations is called "Where Did My Food Come From" and another is called "Mindful Eating". Maybe these are common meditations to some people, but it seemed weird that they were in the generic Adult section. I stopped following the program at that point and have yet to get back into it. I just looked ahead to Mindfulness 103 and it looks a little better. Maybe I'll keep trying it.
This is another sound app that I've had for a long time. I find it a bit clunky and not as user friendly as some of the other ones, but it is possible to create your own scenes and sound mixes. I've got mine set to Waves after playing around with the other options. I turn it on when I miss being on a cruise and want to remember how relaxing it is to listen to the waves outside my balcony.
So those are all the apps I've found that I would recommend to anyone who is hoping to relax or meditate. I also just found Happify but have not had time to play with it very much, so I don't know if I would recommend it or not. If you have any apps you think I would like, please let me know in the comments below!
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.