Simple tips for self-care and love in this month of love ... and always!
February is known as the month of love and romance. Here at Indagare Natural Beauty, we're making it all about your relationship with YOU! Keep reading for our top tips on how to feel amazing by turning your feelings of love and devotion inward.
Focus on getting enough sleep
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real. A Harvard study has linked poor sleep with all kinds of health problems - short term effects can affect our judgement, mood, ability to learn and retain information. Long term chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a multitude of problems, including a weakened immune system, obesity, diabetes and even cardiovascular disease.
Another study from the University of California at Berkeley looked at just one night's loss of sleep with 18 healthy young adults. Participants reported a 30% rise in anxiety levels, compared to how they'd felt the night before.
What can you do to help yourself get more and better quality sleep?
- Calm yourself with a breathing routine before bed - this 4,7,8 breathing routine aims to reduce stress and aid sleep.
- Try to decrease your daily stress. If your workload is causing you too much pressure, talk to your employer about reducing it.
- Your bedroom should be free of distractions such as mobile phones and televisions.
- Try drinking herbal teas from about 4 pm, and be sure to watch your caffeine intake (stopping by mid-day but being mindful of how much you have before then).
- Make time to pamper yourself. I formulated Indagare's Relax & Nourish Body Oil while going through a particularly stressful period where insomnia was getting the best of me. It includes some stunning essential oils with proven links to helping the mind and body relax and unwind as well as botanical oils that are wonderfully nourishing for the skin (anybody that knows me knows I love to multitask!). Use it with a Gua Sha for a body and facial massage before bed for the ultimate relaxing treat.
Take Mini Digital Detoxes
Contrary to what many of us believe, social media and hanging out online isn't really relaxing. We have failed to realise that the convenience of staying connected can actually be causing us stress. Research suggests that limiting our social media exposure to just 30 minutes a day may lead to a significant improvement in wellbeing.
Today, most of us rarely get a chance to switch off, primarily due to the evolution of smart-phones guaranteeing we have a computer with email and social media alerts in our palms all day! We've become the masters of multitasking because of this.
Ariana Huffington is a massive fan of taking regular digital detoxes, after collapsing from burnout, exhaustion and lack of sleep. Speaking at the Discovery Leadership Summit in 2016, she said: "Multitasking is a scientifically disproved myth, and human beings need time to recharge. Recent science has shown that the pervasive belief that burnout is the price we must pay for success is a misconception. We know, instead, that when we prioritise our wellbeing, our decision-making, creativity and productivity improve dramatically."
Why not do a mini digital detox regularly? Could it be every Sunday the phone goes away after 10 am, and you focus on reconnecting with yourself and your family and friends face-to-face?
Side note: If you do regularly use social media, it's essential to follow and engage with accounts that are going to inspire you and make you feel good - or even better, encourage you to focus on your own self-love and self-care.
Prioritise 'you' time
The world is such a fast place these days, and many of us often find it hard to stop and take some time for ourselves. But this is so important.
Book yourself into your weekly schedule. Plan the week ahead Sunday night and be sure block out time just for you. It might be to go for a walk, go to the gym or a yoga class.
If you aren't sure from the outset what you'd like to do with your 'me-time', just book an 'appointment with myself' that is untouchable and get the time locked in. This way, you've blocked out some time in your diary each week that is just for you, and you can decide closer to the time how you want to spend it.
Just make sure that when your appointment with yourself comes around, the phone is off, and promise yourself there will be no thoughts of work or others.
Consider your diet and gut-health
It isn't just naturopaths and nutritionists that are talking about gut health. Science has confirmed that your gut health can have a significant impact on your health, wellbeing, and feelings of vitality. Taking care of your gut is one of the best ways you can show your mind and body some self-love, because, frankly, you'll feel so much better both mentally and physically!
I enjoy Doctor Mark Hyman's podcast (The Doctor's Farmacy). I can't tell you how often various guests he gets on talk about different elements of the gut and how it affects our health - from stress to our microbiome and the foods we eat to medications we take. As Doctor Hyman says: "The gut is the gateway to optimal health, but a damaged gut can wreak havoc on your body – from autoimmune disease to heart disease and everything in between."
With your gut health affecting so much, surely it deserves to be a priority when it comes to your self care? You don't necessarily need all the latest expensive supplements you see all over your social media feed. Start with being mindful of how stress is affecting your gut health, the types of foods you eat (lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, fermented foods) and even your thoughts, and get hold of a good probiotic.
Switch to organic and natural beauty products
These days, consumers are more aware that they need to be conscious and not trust that because something is sold legally or on shelves everywhere, it is good for us. It is well documented that there are several questionable ingredients in many commonly used personal care products.
Learn to read labels and be you, and your family's, own advocate - switching to natural personal products is easy today and an important gift to yourself for your overall long-term health. Safe Cosmetics have a great page on toxins - some of them known carcinogens -found in cosmetics.
Natural skincare has come a long way in the past decade, with many products delivering results as good or better than their chemically enhanced counterparts.
At Indagare Natural Beauty, we've spent years developing a bespoke line of high-performance organic skincare, made right here in Australia from the best quality ingredients (whether that means working with Australian suppliers or going to the regions in the world that known to grow the best of what we are looking for!). You can find more information on this luxurious all-natural skincare range here.
We hope you agree that these are all easy self-love habits you can start incorporating in this month of love and take with you throughout life. As Diane von Furstenberg said, "The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself."