Right now a lot of us are feeling a sense of overwhelm, anxiety and heaviness with how much our lives have changed and a sense of loss for how our lives used to be and uncertainty as to when things may become ‘normal’ again. That’s why it’s more important now than ever that you are kind to yourself by cultivating a practice of consistent daily self-care.
Fortifying your emotional, physical, and spiritual health through self-care is the foundation for your overall health and well-being
In Part 1 we will explore what Ayurveda teaches us about self-care and physical practices and in Part 2 will expand on the spiritual, emotional and mental practices for wellness. I’m sharing what my personal practices are for each of these areas and I hope this inspires you to take good care of yourself during times of lockdown and beyond.
WHAT SELF CARE IS NOT
The term ‘self care’ can raise many emotions including guilt and for some it can seem overly indulgent or egotistical; that we are pursuing a life of narcissistic self-absorption.
However, this can’t be further from the truth. Research in the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology and various fields of wellness have shown that self-care has a positive long lasting effect on our health and wellbeing and on how we respond to stress and anxiety.
Self-care is not something you only do if you have lots of leisure time. Neither is self-care a reward that is only to be gained once other tasks are completed.
Self-care is not selfish or a waste of time. It is essential to our whole well-being and health.
AYURVEDA AND SELF CARE
In Ayurvedic teaching, taking conscious and mindful ownership of your wellness is not just necessary but your sacred duty to yourself and your community.
This is essential as we are here to fulfil our Dharma or our calling here on the planet. Think about that for a moment! Isn’t that such a powerful thought?
To support yourself in your daily life you must be healthy and well in all aspects of yourself – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
If we made it our purpose that looking after ourselves is our number one personal priority and this, in turn, empowers others and contributes to a greater level of wellness in our families, communities and on the planet then what a powerful movement that would be!
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
You can create daily self-care rituals to care and connect to yourself on a deep level by honouring your Ayurvedic Dosha or mind-body type and its specific needs. You can learn more about your dosha here:
BE AN EARLY BIRD
Waking up before the sun rises is recommended in Ayurveda as it’s a time of day rich in the universal quality called Sattva which brings about balance, peace, harmony, purity and clarity. In the early morning when there are these loving Sattvic qualities in nature is the perfect time to bring peace to the mind and freshness to the senses.
HOT WATER HEALING
The first thing I do on getting out of bed is tongue scraping my tongue with a copper tongue scraper to remove toxins (called Ama) deposited overnight. I follow this with a big glass of hot water, an Ayurvedic recommendation to help detoxify the body and I continue this practice of sipping on hot water during the course of the day.
This daily hot water cleanse helps dissolve and wash away any accumulated Ama that is blocking both physical and subtle energy channels. It aids in digestion and assimilation of food during the day and ensures nutrition can be delivered more effectively to your cells and cellular metabolic waste is more efficiently eliminated.
LOVE YOUR SKIN
Create moments of ritual and connection through using Aika organic skincare. Invest the time to deeply breathe in the aromas, engage your senses by enjoying the textures of each product and feel them melt into your skin. Bathe in the energy flowing through you as you massage your face and neck with love. This is not functional skincare. It is showering ourselves with loving care every day and is pure joy.
Just as nature has daily rhythms so does your skin and body. That’s why I’ve created the AM and PM skincare to cater to your different needs in the morning and evening.
MORNING SKIN LOVE
In the morning I love the 3-step Aika Arise Ritual of using the Pure Polish Ayurvedic skin cleanser for sweeping away dead skin cells and creating smoothness and softness. Even sensitive skin types can comfortably use the Pitta Pure Polish which has a cult following with those that have rosacea, acne and skin sensitivity.
Follow with the Tonic, our organic skin toner and face mist to infuse hydration and balance the skin and emotions. I carry a Discovery Size Tonic in my bag that I use during the day for a hydration boost, aura cleansing and emotional balance whenever I need it.
While my skin is still damp I apply the Face Balm concentrated day moisturizer to lock in hydration, provide daily nutrition and protect my skin during the day. The Eye Elixir eye serum is the final step to help keep the under-eye area looking and fresh and protected.
NIGHT SKIN LOVE
At night I cleanse my skin with the Deep Cleanser and make up remover to remove any trace of makeup, increase the circulation, release toxins and drain lymph.
I follow this with the Ayuressence aromatherapy compress drops (one of my favourite products) to help my skin regenerate from the cellular level and prepare me for deep sleep.
I love massaging the Face Elixir organic face oil slowly and mindfully over my face and neck for a boost of anti-oxidants and vitamins to help repair my skin while I sleep. The Eye Balm Aika’s rich eye cream melts into firm and nourish the skin around my eyes.
I have bundled the morning and evening 3-step ritual kits for your personal at-home skin routine here –
HOW DO I FIND THE TIME FOR MY SKINCARE?
I get asked a lot about how I find the time for all this and my answer is simple. I prioritise me. When you prioritise anything in your life you find the time and you make the time to do it.
LOVE YOUR BODY
One of my absolute favourite Ayurvedic daily rituals is to lavish my entire body with herbal oil after a shower. Our skin is our largest organ and this daily Abhyanga oil massage moisturizes and increases our skin’s elasticity, promotes circulation, strengthens the muscles, helps detox the lymphatic system, calms the nervous system and balances the doshas.
How beautiful that the Sanskrit word for oil, Sneha can be translated as both oil and love! Just like the experience of being loved, Abhyanga can give a deep feeling of security, stability and warmth.
I have created the Aika Body Anoints to be used daily and they are beautifully aromatic Ayurvedic herbal body oils customized for each dosha. Aika body oils are made over a long process of herbal infusion and small batch hand blending to be richly infused with herbal phyto-nutrients.
Select the one for your dosha or if you’re like me get them all and vary them based on how you want to feel each day here:
FEED YOUR BODY THE GOOD STUFF
There is so much to say about Ayurvedic food that I could write a book on it! Very simply the best way to nourish your body with food is to eat what is in season, choose local and organically grown with minimal pesticides, herbicides and additives, include as much fresh coloured vegetables in each meal and eat for your dosha. More on dosha specific nutrition to come in a future blog!
MOVE YOUR BODY
The secret to establishing a regular exercise routine is finding something that you enjoy and suits your mind-body type and each dosha has specific needs when it comes to physical movement.
Vata dosha individuals benefit best from grounding and gently paced exercise such as walking, cycling, dancing and yoga. Pitta dosha types thrives on anything that gets them out in nature such as walking, gentle jogging and swimming and anything that helps them stay cool-headed and calm. Kapha dosha people get the best results with endurance sports such as running, weightlifting and team sports.
I like doing gentle stretching in the morning and walking my dogs in our local park in the evening. I practice Vinyasa and Yin yoga weekly and I love how alive my body feels after. Most nights while preparing dinner I play some music and dance while I cook!
Next week I’ll be sending out Part 2 of this blog to deep dive into emotional, mental and spiritual self-care.
Take good care of yourself.