A few days ago I finished Paramhansa Yogananda's nine day cleanse. In a way, the decision to undergo the cleanse happened suddenly - for better or worse. I hadn't really planned to do a cleanse, although I had been noticing little suggestions from the universe that one may be needed. The week before I began I'd had dinner with a couple of people who were in the midst of a sugar fast. As we were talking about their experience I shared about the first time I did the nine day cleanse. A few days later I was talking with a friend who had started a type of detox which required drinking some sort of cleansing juice, and again I shared about the cleanse I'd done the year before. Although I was noticing these whispering suggestions of another round of cleansing, I wasn't motivated enough to start seriously consider embarking on one. Then on a Monday morning after getting very little sleep I was turning off my phone alarm and saw a text from my podcast partner, Alessandra, saying she and a couple of mutual friends were starting the nine day cleanse and encouraging me to join. I can't remember the exact inner response that was elicited by this kind invitation at that delicate hour in my only half-rested being, but amongst other words I know there were several Nos. Of course, as I started to turn the corner into a more fully awake state it seemed like the right time and opportunity. In a matter of a couple of hours I decided to just do it and begin right away so I would be finished as soon as possible! The lack of mental prep was mostly a blessing. I was glad I didn't have days of it hanging over my head, which would bring a great deal of my trying to plan it all out mentally to no useful end. I knew I was going to have my challenges with it whether I carefully planned it out or if I just cannon-balled into it, but at least with the cannon-balling I could just get on with it.
One of the things that appealed to me so much with the timing was the fact that my friends were also doing it at the same time. I'm part of a virtual community, and we had a little group from various pockets of the globe who were adhering to the same restrictions, undergoing similar mental and physical effects, and resisting the same internal calls to chocolate. We were also approaching the cleanse in slightly different ways. Some were adhering strictly to the guidelines, while others (me) were a little looser in their adherence. One of the ways I convinced myself to go forward with the cleanse was that I would give myself a little slack. I wanted to follow the cleanse carefully for the first 4 days or so and then allow myself an apple or banana if I felt like it after I'd gotten that far. Ultimately, it was day 6 before I treated myself - half an avocado on my raw salad. I know, I'm wild.
One area of improvement for me in this process is staying more fully present. I really feel that I was projecting into the future to when the cleanse would be over far too much. I felt powerless in my mental "ticking away" of mealtimes. One grapefruit breakfast down, 8 to go. Fifteen mealtimes down, twelve to go. Just four more cooked veggie meals left and then I'm done. Maybe someday I will be better at embracing where I am in the process without just trying to get through it, but it did not happen this time.
Something which I found fascinating was my automatic tendency to relate to myself as hungry. As the system clears out there is a definitive feeling of lightness throughout the system. Even after a meal, there isn't anything heavy in the belly. This left me without a sense of anchoring that I'm used to in the stomach, and I would find myself thinking I was hungry. It was helpful to tune in more sensitively to the sensation and notice that it wasn't in fact hunger, but an unburdening. Well, sometimes that was helpful - and other times I would daydream about when I could eat something a little heavier again! In one of our many chats over the course of the cleanse, Alessandra commented about how good her stomach felt - as though it had been massaged from the inside. I hadn't really tuned into that but once she pointed it out I realized how right she was. My belly felt not only light and clear but just good.
I wrapped up the cleanse a few days ago now. I am glad I did it, and I'm glad it ended. It was great to be able to give my system a reset and to flex my will power muscles!
I was honored to be asked to contribute to Redfin's recent article on practicing self-care at home. Keep reading to discover many easy and helpful ways to treat yourself!
Expert Tips for Practicing Self-Care at Home
Self-care – it’s something we often overlook during the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. However, in order to nurture the health of our mind, body, and soul, we need ways to promote well-being and reduce stress.
The thing about practicing self-care is that you intentionally need to make time and space for it. Luckily, there are many things you can do right from the comfort of your home. Keep reading to hear from experts in the field on their favorite at-home self-care practices for a healthier, happier you.
1. Create a sacred space. Whether it’s a room, chair, or bed, find a place to spend a few moments or longer to relax your mind and connect with your inner self any time in the day or night. Allow this time to be free from having to do or be anything whatsoever, give yourself permission to just ‘be’ by taking a few breaths, closing your eyes, and letting yourself relax.
– Rest & Be
2. Plan next week’s meals over the weekend. Have good quality tools in your kitchen so home-cooked meals are easy to prepare. Stock your pantry with whole grains, broths, and beans for healthy eating.
– Wellness and You
3. Start and end the day with a healthy habit. Home self-care is where we kick start the routines that move us towards feeling and functioning great. We’re ruled by our habits, and consistency is what will ultimately get us to our goals. The home is where we begin and finish our day, so starting and ending the day with a simple healthy habit can be the game-changer that keeps our health moving forward.
– Moore Life Health
This can be simple like drinking lemon water in the morning and at night spraying your pillow with lavender.
– Wellness with Molly
4. Fill one of your spaces at home with color. Whether it be small decor items, plants, or a throw blanket featuring your favorite color. Think less about clashing and more about vibrancy, positivity, and intention to create a space worth living in.
– Acacia Counseling & Wellness
5. Get enough sleep. 7-9 hours of quality sleep is fundamental to good self-care, and sleep is arguably the easiest thing on this list. Plus, sleep has a multitude of other benefits for your brain and body.
6. Start a skincare ritual. A soul-nurturing skincare routine can help you feel like you’re having a spa treatment every day, even if it’s just a few splendid minutes to yourself while chaos ebbs and flows on the other side of the door. Choose self-care products that are made with essential oils, and infused with crystals and good energy because they smell wonderful, feel nice on your skin, and offer a holistic, deeply replenishing healing effect on your mind, body, and spirit. Creating this ritual will make you never want to miss your “me time” sanctuary of self-care.
– SpaGoddess Apothecary
7. Get outside. There’s no easier way to push “restart” than getting outdoors and going for a walk. Use the rhythmic crunching of dirt under your feet as a cadence for breathing and before you know it, you’ve sauntered into a serene, meditative state.
– Magnolia Wellness
8. Use Aromatherapy. This is a powerful way to provide comfort and healing at home. Studies show that rosemary, for example, can improve cognitive performance. Peppermint and jasmine can enhance brain function and focus too. Lavender and lemon balm have been found to soothe pain and stress. These essential oils interact with body chemistry and can also improve sleep patterns, increase daytime alertness, and stimulate sociability.
– Lifetime Wellness
9. Recognize simple rituals as acts of self-care. Self-care rituals at home serve to remind us that we are worthy of the good that comes from giving our emotional, mental, and physical needs their due—from a slowly sipped cup of hot tea to a hot shower that steams up the mirror while listening to your favorite podcast. Recognizing these simple rituals as acts of self-care is where it begins. From there it becomes easier to recognize and be grateful for all of the ways we can build ourselves up in the face of the daily grind.
– Elle Studio + Wellness
10. Keep your home tidy and smelling good. Before getting into relax mode after a long day, burn a candle or incense and make sure to straighten up the house. Decluttering from the day is essential!
– Studio KT
11. Remember the benefits of physical exercise for your brain. Do some burpees. Jump rope. Go out and walk briskly around the block. Do some push-ups and planks. Anything that elevates your heart rate and breathing rate (within reason) for at least 10 minutes is super beneficial for mental focus and state of mind. Get up and move around, and you will feel and think better!
– Miller Chandler, Owner/Certified Exercise Physiologist, Foundation Wellness
12. Address stress or anxiety when you feel it. If you notice yourself feeling stressed, anxious or tense, find a calm quiet space to sit down and breathe. Take a long, slow, gentle inhale; exhale out through your mouth with a sigh. Exhale completely, making it slightly longer than the inhale. This sends signals to your nervous system that you are in a safe space, and it is ok to rest and relax. Your breath is the one organ in your body you control; it’s free and always available.
– Anchor Meditation
13. Make it work for the season you are in. One of my favorite acts of self-care is making sure I am moving my body, but as a business owner and mom of four little ones, I don’t always have time for long runs or hours at the gym. Therefore, I keep it simple: a brisk walk with my twins in a stroller or a short at-home Pilates workout on the floor of the bathroom while my kiddos are in the bath. Sometimes keeping it simple is the secret to success.
– Jaclyn Elwell, The Balanced Life
14. Try dry brushing. Not only does this exfoliate your skin keeping it looking smooth and feeling soft but also it is one of the few ways in which you can improve the flow of your Lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the main waste line for all toxins in your body. The health of your lymphatic system will determine the health of your body. Dry skin brushing is an inexpensive way to truly help your body inside and out.
– Cleansing Concepts
15. Make a deliberate transition ritual. Our lives are full of over-stimulation and sometimes high-tension. If we aren’t careful, we can carry tension and stress from one situation to another. Instead of being strung along, bringing our day’s baggage into our safe home space, create a simple ritual to transition out of work or into your home space. It can be as simple as three, mindful breaths, a dance sesh to a favorite song in the car, or a stroll around the block.
– Pivot Wellness
16. Make self-care a priority. Hopefully, you have already discovered ways to show yourself, love. Whether it’s meditation, a warm bath, sitting in the sun, music that warms your heart or other ways to nourish your soul, the most important thing is to make sure you take time for it every day.
– Meditation Oasis
17. Get physical. Moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day will greatly enhance your physical and mental well-being. You can move your body in a variety of ways, such as a brisk walk around the block, a slow jog, some jumping jacks, sit-ups or even an online yoga class from the comfort of your own living room.
– The Yoga Collective
18. Meditate in the morning. To foster self-love at home, get in the habit of meditating in the morning for 10-minutes before jumping into the fast pace of the world. Just like exercise, meditation requires consistency to see any meaningful results. By practicing first thing in the morning, you guarantee that you won’t forget to do it.
19. Breathe. Close the eyes, feel the breath (make it long and slow if it is not already), and find yourself in the body. Don’t focus on the body itself, but instead find the You inside the body. Connect completely with that spark of eternity, which is within you for a few breaths, and feel good!
– Meditation by Kara
20. Make small changes to your environment and routine. Diffuse essential oils or burn a non-toxic candle, play ambient spa or meditation music, turn off digital devices, and put your feet up. Little luxuries like at-home masks will hydrate and pamper your skin along with a silk pillowcase for the ultimate beauty rest. Epsom salt baths are soothing and help aching muscles and tension in the body.
– Elizabeth M. Donat, NY and internationally licensed esthetician and founder, EMD Skin Solutions
Originally published by Redfin
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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