How are you feeling today? I hope you’re feelin’ yourself in these first days of the new year.
Personally, I started mine off nice and relaxed which is exactly what I needed. As you may have read in my last post, i’ve been off work (again) thanks to my mental illness, and dealing with a re-diagnosis situation. I’ve been doing pretty well and making some serious strides, gaining back some of my old energy little by little. That being said, the last thing I wanted to do was buy a $60 ticket to a venue packed wall to wall with sweaty, yelling, squirming strangers, and then not be able to flag down a cab home. NIGHTMARE!!!! Even when i’m not dealing with social anxiety, I hate that shit. My partner and I had a cozy games night in with some good friends, eating snacks and giggling like goofs, and it was perfect. Bonus: we were able to WALK home!
Anyway! I hope however it was that you spent your NYE, it was exactly what you needed and felt like the perfect way to ring in 2018.
So here we are! 2-0-1-8.
I’ve been mulling it over, and in today’s post I decided to do something fairly short and sweet – (for ME, as we all know i like to write novel-esque entries). It’s typical to write about new years resolutions, and things we learned from last year. I thought I’d kind of combine those things a little bit with some of the things I don’t consider to be resolutions, but more like lifestyle changes. Things that i’ve been implementing for awhile (thanks to suggestions from counselling, reading other helpful posts, etc!) but am really gunning to stick to this year for the sake of my mental wellness, and healing from the awful episodes that 2017 brought me.
I am simply calling these things my “favourite self care rituals” for this year – and hopefully for the foreseeable future!!
So let’s get to it! In no particular order….
1) Feeding myself new, creative & healthy recipes
In the last 2 years, I’ve made a lot of modifications to my diet specifically for the benefit of my skin. For the last 4 years or so, i’ve had awful skin – hormonal, cystic acne – the kind that makes you want to hide in a hole. Through finding the right skin care regime and cutting out most dairy, gluten, soy and refined sugar, I’m seeing MASSIVE improvements, and my skin is healing! The added benefit has been when I stick to this diet, I feel happier. I feel lighter. I have more energy and don’t feel as lethargic. It’s impressive. Luckily, I love to cook and experiment with new tastes, ingredients and recipes so this diet has been kind of a fun challenge for me. I thought I’d share one of my favourite new recipes i’ve been devouring as of late! A VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE BREAKFAST SANDWICH! Yes! it is amazing!!!!! Leaves you satisfied and full for hours, and gives you a huge energy boost. Give it a try 🙂
- 2 slices Gluten Free Bread
- 1 can White Kidney Beans
- 2-4 slices Tomato
- 1-2 slices Vegan Cheeze
- 1 Tbs Vegan Mayo
- 1/2 Tbsp Ground Turmeric
- 1/2 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Vegan “butter” spread
2) Pop your bread in the toaster. Throw your beans in a pan, and sauté with a bit of olive oil and the crushed garlic.
3) Slice your tomato, and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper if desired. Put in the oven to get nice and roasty, only takes about 5 minutes.
4) Put your beans into a bowl, and add your vegan mayo, turmeric and onion powder. Use a fork to mix and mash these ingredients together. You don’t want to mash them all the way smooth, leave it so that it is textured.
5) Butter your bread with your vegan spread of choice (i use Earth Balance, soy free version), and lay down a thick layer of the bean filling. Pop your roasted tomatoes on top, and then your vegan cheeze slices on top of that. Now, put it into the oven for about 5 or so minutes to help melt the cheeze, and get things nice and toasty.
6) To finish it off, I also added a little bit of tomato ketchup and sriracha hot sauce, and it tasted better than any brekky sandwich i’ve ever had!ENJOY!
2) Facial Massages
You know what’s great? Massaging yo’ face. And no, not to get all Regina George ^^^ about it and start criticizing flaws in your skin, but just to take a moment for yourself. As I said above, I am really big on my skin care regime, as it has been a huge part in improving my skin, and diminishing the scars left behind from cystic acne. I hated my skin for a long while because of what it was “doing to me” mentally. I deprived it of anything good, and just slathered on everything under the sun to destroy the acne bacteria. Flash forward to now – I am educated enough to know that the only way to get rid of my breakouts is internally. So to properly encourage my skin to heal from the outside, it is less about covering it in zit cream and acids and more about putting generous amounts of protective, healing and nourishing ingredients IN.
So since this is something that I do religiously twice a day, I’ve turned it into a self care ritual that goes above and beyond just caring for my skin. My favourite part of my skin care ritual is to use a hydrating, nourishing oil and massage it into my skin for about 2 minutes. Make sure you do this after cleansing, and any treatment products like serums, essences, etc. I use gentle, circular motions starting from the middle of my face and always working up. Physically, this has some lovely benefits like stimulating collagen and brightening the complexion. But internally? It brings me a moment of peace, to check in with my body and relieve tension.
My favourite facial oil is the Facial Recovery Oil by Eminence. Yes I am slightly biased because i used to be an employee of Eminence – but for real? I have always used other brands simultaneously, and I have gone all the way through 3 bottles of this one. That never happens. It has a luxurious texture, tons of skin benefits and a relaxing spa fragrance attributed by the organic oils. It’s also 100% organic and biodynamic. Win.
Time and time again in the midst of mental health crisis, I forget about the benefits of simple movement. It has been reminded to me constantly as of late by my counsellor AND my doctor that I should be more active – that this will not only keep me physically healthy, but will help me feel happier, help slow down my mind and help me sleep better.
So I’m challenging myself to not only get back to doing yoga every day at home, but also to leave the house and brave the cold for the sake of a simple walk. Get the blood moving, see some nature and shit. So far 50% of 2018 I have stuck to this, so that’s not too bad! (I had a dip in my mood the first to days so I was basically couch ridden). Today, I walked to go get a kombucha and a couple supplies for dinner, and took the long way home to take in a bit more fresh air and scenery. I have to say, it IS nice to let your mind clear and to feel connected to nature, or to your community for a little while. I think that bit of connection is so important during trying times. So i’m going to make this effort every day- rain or shine!!!
I’m also going to start dipping into listening to Podcasts as I do this, which is new to me! Today I listened to a Ted Talk, as well as an episode of my friend Nicola and her pal Tia talking about true crime on their channel 2 Blonde Ghouls. I highly recommend those goofs!!
4) Setting a bedtime ritual
I have not been sleeping well. It’s been rough. Sleep has never been an issue for me, but the last month or so it’s been extremely difficult. A part that is playing into that is, I believe, some new medication that I am trying. But aside from that I know that my sleep patterns have been all over the map.
My counsellor proposed a simple question the other day: “Do you have a bedtime?”
No. No i do not. At least I didn’t, not until now! We are so addicted to our screens and to keeping ourselves busy all the time that it is so easy to forget about one of the most basic human needs, and that is REST. We need rest. Mental illness or no.
So now, I’m aiming to be in bed by a certain time (barring the occasional exception), and leading up to that time I’m trying out this thing where I unplug from life a little bit. Plug in my phone to charge, set my alarm, and then leave it. Make some tea, snuggle into warm blankets and pull out a book. I usually do a guided meditation or body scan before bed as well, so I am keeping that in the program. So far, so good!! I feel like this is a ritual I can look forward to in the evenings, and can also ensure that I’m setting myself up for the best rest possible. What works for you???
5) Letting Creativity Flow Freely
I’ve always been a creative person. I literally don’t think I would have made it to 25 if I didn’t have music as my outlet. I’ve always been a writer, a performer and a dreamer. The thing is, the kind of negative thought patterns and self talk that I have developed over the years through my mental illness sometimes makes it really hard for me to go after those things. It’s a huge inhibitor of my creative process and my writing at times, because I become a huge self critic, which triggers me to hit some really low, self deprecating points (all things I am actively working on with professionals).
That being said, when I am working through mental health issues and DON’T feel up to working as hard on my music as I typically would, the last thing I want to do is halt my creative process all together. I’m trying to keep the creativity alive through alternative avenues such as crafting/DIY’s, making creative meals, therapeutic coloring/drawing, etc. These things help me still feel like I am accessing the creative part of my brain and MAKING something, but at the same time lowering the pressure that I sometimes feel when I spend time on projects that are extra dear to my heart.
So there you have it my lovelies! Those are a few of the main “self care rituals” I am currently implementing into my life to make my transition back to ME feel more balanced, healing and complete. I hope that some of these things inspire you to try them for yourself, or create your own rituals. If you already have a list of your own, i’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. Have a wonderful week!
-Spirit Sister, Nicolle-