Anyone feeling depleted? Time to step up your self care! After vinyasa class over the weekend, one of my very favorite yoga instructors checked in & asked how I was doing. I shared that I’d been feeling a lot of pain in my body, especially in my joints, lately. She asked if I’d been under stress. Why yes, yes I have! We talked about some dietary boosts & some self care practices & then she shared this awesome quote from Danielle Laporte, “Self Care is a Divine Responsibility.” I heard it loud & clear!
One of my favorite & simple rituals? A nice calming bath. But I haven’t been making much time for myself lately…
Things have been a little crazy around here these past few weeks. My little Pug, who has my entire heart, had some scary health issues come up. After extensive & expensive testing, it turns out she is as healthy as can be, but her vestibular system is a bit out of whack & is basically giving her an extreme case of doggie vertigo. In time, it will work itself out naturally, & she is adjusting to her imbalance & doing a whole lot better. Thank goodness!
And for me…well, I got pretty out of balance, too. Now, as she recovers & things get back to normal around here, it’s time to start taking good care of myself again. For the past two weeks, all of my attention has been on my baby girl, trying to keep her comforted, calm & safe. In caring for her, my self-care got pushed to the side, & at a time when I needed it most. I read this advice, albeit a little too late, from Nicole Wolf that was a wonderful reminder…
“On an airplane they always tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before you assist your children. And this is basically how you should live. Making sure you are okay & thriving so that you can better respond to & nurture those in your care.”
We should always take care of ourselves…FIRST. It’s the hardest thing to do, especially when someone really needs you. It may even feel a bit selfish, but we must. It is so important not to push ourselves to the edge of depletion when caring for others. It can be as simple as a 5 minute yoga break, a couple of deep nourishing breaths, a quick abhyanga with warm sesame oil, a comforting snack, or a cup of tea, just make little moments for yourself throughout the day! But when you really have the time, there is nothing like a warm bath enhanced with Epsom salts & essential oils, lots of candles & calming music.
Why Epsom salts? Hello, Magnesium! When you are feeling stressed, fatigued, anxious, irritable etc, it’s time to ask yourself a simple question…am I getting enough magnesium? Magnesium is vital to our overall health & well-being. It helps the body regulate over 325 enzymes & plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions, like muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production & the elimination of harmful toxins. Yet, most of us are magnesium deficient…
The amount of magnesium required by the body is greater than people think & many magnesium supplements are not completely absorbed by the body. Furthermore, changes in agriculture & the modern (SAD!) American diet ~ with its fat, sugar, salt & protein ~ can hasten the depletion of magnesium from our bodies. We can quickly deplete ourselves further when we put a number of stresses on our delicate bodies ~ including emotional stress, medications, heavy exercise, diabetes, & gastrointestinal disorders. Too much calcium in the diet can be a factor as well, as studies indicate that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can increase the shortage of both nutrients. According to the National Academy of Sciences, magnesium deficiency helps to account for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis & joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue & a number of other ailments.
So…if magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract, what are we to do? Bathe ourselves in Epsom salt! Epsom salt (a.k.a hydrated magnesium sulfate) is rich in both magnesium & sulfate. Studies have shown that soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt helps to increase magnesium levels, as both magnesium & sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. How can this help us?
- Improved heart and circulatory health.
- Improved ability for the body to use insulin.
- Flushed toxins & heavy metals from the cells.
- Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation.
- Relieved stress.
- Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
- Improved oxygen use.
- Improved absorption of nutrients.
- Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
- Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.
All this from one of my most beloved self care rituals? Yipee! Epsom salts are widely available & can be found at the grocery store, drug store, or natural foods market. It can be as simple as adding two cups of Epsom salt to warm bath water & soaking for at least 12 minutes, three times weekly. (source)
A few holidays ago, my chef friend Katie hosted a “Make Your Own Handmade Presents” class where we made some delicious giftables & mixed up some fun self care concoctions. Her recipe for “Detox Bath Fizz” was gifted to all of my loved ones & I whip it up for myself on the regular. It’s so wonderful & I am excited to share it here!
- 1½ cups Epsom Salts
- ½ cup baking soda
- 8 drops lavender oil
- 3 drops clary sage oil
- 3 drops peppermint oil
- 3 drops rosemary oil
- In a large bowl whisk together Epsom salts & baking soda. Add essential oils & whisk again. Pour the entire contents into a warm bath & allow to dissolve. Or pour into a mason jar & give it as a gift to a friend in need of bliss
The mixture of essential oils is soothing, balancing, & enhances clarity, all while giving you that healthy dose of magnesium that your tired body is probably craving! When gifting, it is really pretty to add fresh herbs, dried flowers, etc. So pretty & the aroma will definitely “take you away.”
If you are struggling, as I am to take the time for self care, I encourage you to download Ashley Neese’s Self Care Planner. This is a helpful template that can help you stay accountable, & help you build a foundational routine. As Ashley reminds us, “The more we take care of ourselves the more empowered we become to stand in our truth & show up for the people around us.”
So, if you haven’t taken the time to honor your deserving self, allow this to be a gentle invitation. Make a cup of tea, draw a soothing bath, & bliss yourself out. That’s right. Ahhhhhh….
I’ll be back soon with more info on magnesium, it’s benefits, how to get more of it in your diet, & a have fun giveaway for you to enter.