There’s an old saying - look after your body and it will look after you. In order to take care of others you really do need to take care of yourself. Any parent of young children or with elderly dependants knows that. It’s not selfish; it’s self-care – two very different things. Reflecting on what the art of self-love means to you is important. How do you take time out to nurture yourself? What lights you up? When you pause and take time out of life, what do you like to do to connect to your soul? Have you been meaning to try something new and never got around to it? Well now is that time, whether it’s taking up Tango dancing, learning a new language or going on a meditation course.
In fact both self-care and therefore self-love are the ultimate act of taking responsibility for one’s health. It’s an act of empowerment. We’ve all heard the statement – healthy people are happy people – and it’s true. Taking real ‘time out’ to nourish your body, sleeping well, drinking plenty of water, spending time in nature and connecting with others are all forms of self-care and from that, self-love can blossom. Giving your body the correct nutrients for it to flourish and exercising it frequently are only part of the story; mental health is equally important when it comes to enjoying a longer life. We have to begin by loving ourselves.
At Slow Ageing Essentials we are fascinated by the link between mind, body and spirit for optimum health and wellbeing. Everything in our universe is connected so when your mind, body and sprit are working in harmony then your health should also be good. If something upsets this balance – from injury to emotional stress – you can become ill. But there are many small lifestyle changes you can make to nurture your wellbeing and improve every area of your life. By creating your own morning routine, you will quickly notice the benefits. Try to give yourself at least 15 minutes daily – here’s how:
Affirmations – Positive affirmations are a great way of cutting through the mind’s negative chatter. You can counteract limiting self-beliefs with a simple line repeated as a mantra. Find a little sentence that makes you feel better; it stops the mind looping. You can repeat it throughout the day, in the morning and evening or during the night, if you can’t sleep. It’s a question of not letting your mind take over; we have that conscious awareness. Much like gratitude lists, there is real science behind affirmations, so it’s a very useful tool. Why not write out all the negative self-beliefs you have around yourself in one column, then next to it write the exact opposite? For seven days take the one that stands out the most and practise saying it internally over and over. Every time you have a negative thought, try counteracting it with an affirmation. The results of this practice can be incredibly powerful.
Gratitude - Feeling grateful helps us to appreciate what we have, not what we lack. This form of living in the moment really can fill the soul. What better way to start the day than by counting your blessings? It helps you feel more optimistic by putting you into a positive frame of mind. Reflecting on things you are grateful for can also help you sleep better as well as boost your immune system. After all, the happier you are the more you empower your body to be healthy. Simply making yourself smile can change your mental mood in an instant.
Just think about the good in your life, however small. Be grateful your body works – I woke up this morning and nothing hurts, I don’t have a cough, an ulcer, I have all my limbs. I feel good today – thank you! You get the idea. Try to notice new things you are thankful for each day. You could even keep a gratitude journal to record them - a small notebook by your bed is ideal. Be specific; by writing these down you quickly begin to see how full of good things life is. This acts as a great reminder if you’re feeling down.
Cultivate empathy – Compassion is proven to improve mental health and life satisfaction. When you’re stuck in judgement in your outer world, often there’s judgement going on in your inner world. Counteracting this by starting the day with a loving kindness meditation is the perfect antidote. When we connect to finding appreciation and love for other people in our lives – whether it is our family, our community or a close friend – we are then more able to create it for ourselves.
Breath awareness – Our breath is one of the most powerful self-care tools we posses yet we tend to take it for granted. If you don’t meditate daily, connecting to your breath can be an excellent way to calm nerves, alleviate stress and stay centred. It doesn’t have to mean lighting candles, sitting on a meditation cushion and taking 30 minutes out of your day. Research shows that as little as 3-5 minutes of conscious breathing can reset your system. Observe your breath, feel it travel – slow and smooth. Try it for a week, morning and night and see how you feel.
Spend time in nature – If you live in a city, cortisol levels and ‘fight or flight’ reactions always seem to be on overdrive. Our bodies secrete excess cortisol and behave like we are under constant attack. This creates disproportionate levels of stress, leaving us feeling tired and anxious. The antidote is to get outside into nature, any nature. If you live near a park, make the effort to take a stroll. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll feel calmer.
Sun Salutations – For many, a series of Sun Salutations can be the perfect way to begin every day. Based on an order of yoga poses (or Asanas) that are performed in a continuous flowing sequence, they help improve strength and muscle flexibility. It’s a complete harmonious sequence for the whole body – stretching, flexing and toning arms, legs and your core – it really can get your heart working! Energising the body like this can also help to maintain a healthy weight. The focused breathing you enjoy as a part of these linked movements can help with meditation as well. It’s profoundly beautiful. Start with two to four rounds and build up slowly.
Self-massage – Simple self-massage helps to wake up your entire system and start your internal energy flowing. It stimulates blood flow, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your cells leaving skin glowing and radiating health. Begin with your face. Containing over 40 muscles, exercising them for just a few minutes a day can encourage a brighter complexion and firmer skin. Using our Essential Facial Essence, which has been precisely formulated for your face, the revitalising essential oils will be allowed to penetrate fully and be that much more effective. Follow our ‘Skin’ergy’ self-massage application for the perfect routine.
For your body, apply our new Essential Firming Body Essence and begin by smoothing around your breasts using circular motions, alternating hands as you go. You could use this opportunity to check for any lumps or changes in your breasts too. Move down to your abdomen and repeat the motion in both directions; clockwise then anticlockwise. This helps digestion. Then massage each leg using long, vigorous strokes. Begin with your buttocks and lower back, then travel down your thighs and calves to the feet. Finally, smooth up and down both arms. Make sure your strokes are long and flowing.
Dry body brushing – This is ideal pre-showering. Skin is the body’s largest organ and one of its main channels of detoxification. Dry body brushing is an energising way of breaking down unwanted toxins and shedding dead skin cells at the same time. By improving blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, toxins are released and your skin works more efficiently. The skin is encouraged to produce new cells and that results in brighter, smoother skin. It’s exhilarating for mind as well as body, instantly making you feel more alive. It only takes a few minutes and will quickly become routine.
Create an at-home spa – Soothe your skin and calm nervous system with an aromatherapy healing experience. Used by many cultures to soften and enrich skin, take time out on any regular evening when you can give yourself some extra time, run a warm bath and go to bed early. Our new Slow Ageing Essentials Bath Essence contains the perfect blend of essential oils to create a dreamlike bath experience whilst rejuvenating your body. Our top tip; massage a little of the bath oil directly onto your skin before slipping into the bath for double the skin-boosting benefits!
If all this seems a lot to incorporate during the week, spend an hour on Sunday evening to recharge, revive and regenerate all over. Put all the Slow Ageing products into action and see how they work holistically. Start with dry body brushing then give yourself a whole body exfoliation with our new Slow Ageing Essentials Face and Body Exfoliating Polish. Next indulge yourself with warm bath laced with new Bath Essence before giving yourself our Skin’ergy massage all over. Your skin will be especially receptive to any products you apply now so use the Facial Essence and Balm. Before bed you could always take a few moments to perform a relaxing ‘Legs Up The Wall’ yoga pose too; it’s calming for the nervous system before sleep. We think you’ll feel calm and relax!