3 Self Care Commitments That I Am Making

Hi Everyone!

It’s official, the past year and a half has kicked my butt. I have been challenged and stressed in ways that I could never have imagined and now I have hit a wall. I know that I am not alone in this. Almost every conversation that I have had over the past few months has highlighted that we have gone thru something major. And although there is now light at the end of the tunnel, many of us are coming out of the other side of this pandemic exhausted, stressed out and emotionally battered. If you are one of these people just know that you are not alone. Between increased work hours, attempting to achieve work/life balance, financial challenges, taking care of children and partners and homes (seriously why is there always so much laundry?!?!), we are all dealing with something and it is really stressing everyone out!

I have always held a lot of tension and stress in my body – relaxing is not a natural state of being for me at this point, but over the past few weeks my back has been tied up in painful knots thatI just can’t seem to shake. With my background in wellness, I tried every tool in my self care toolbox that I was able to but it made little difference with the pain. I finally booked myself in for a much needed massage and as I lay on that massage table with my masseuse painfully trying to loosen my stress knots I finally came to the realization that I need to make some changes or the impact of stress on my health could have detrimental results. I needed to make some self care commitments and stick to them if I want to be the person that I aim to be. Now it’s really easy at times like these to make bold proclamations, stay motivated for a short while then fall back into old patterns. My goal is to avoid this vicious cycle so I am making small habit and lifestyle changes that I can build upon while setting better boundaries with the things that are causing me the greatest amount of stress. I decided to put 3 self care commitments that I am making to myself in writing on the blog to help others that may be struggling, as Stylishly Zen is also a wellness blog. Here are the 3 self care commitments that I am making to myself:

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Make friends with and respect the Do Not Disturb

I bought myself an iWatch for my birthday this past January and I hate it. It tells me to stand when I am, it doesn’t count activity or calories accurately and it wakes me up in the middle of the night to either breathe or stand when I am fast asleep. Needless to say, I am not recommending this idiotic piece of tech to anyone. The one solution that I found for the middle of the night wake ups was to set a Do Not Disturb on my phone so the watch doesn’t wake me. I like that my watch no longer wakes me up but I am guilty of not respecting it. I am often still awake past my bedtime scrolling on social media dreaming about all of the glamorous lives that I am seeing. Sleep is important and I need to start prioritizing it for my body, mind and spirit. Making sure that I am in bed, lights out and phone down when the Do Not Disturb kicks in will go a long way in helping me get a reasonable amount of sleep for a clearer and well rested mind and body.

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Crowd out bad foods with better ones

When I was studying to become a health coach, we were taught the concept of crowding out. It means that you don’t need to completely cut out the bad foods from your life but you can lower your intake of them by increasing the amount of healthier choices that you make. Since the start of the pandemic potato chips have become a food group for me, and the idea of going cold turkey makes me want to dive head first into a bag of them. Instead I am going to work on making better choices while not depriving myself of my favourite junk food. By increasing healthier options in my kitchen when I come home late, stressed out and hungry. will help me to make better choices Healthier choices will help me to feel better in my body and hopefully eliminate some bloating which will make me much happier and comfortable in my body over all – basically a win win.

Increase body work

Body work is a loose term that I use to get better in touch with my body and how I am feeling overall. When I incorporate more body work into my lifestyle I feel more in touch with my body – I am more relaxed and more aware when I feel a little imbalanced so I can react faster to remedy it. For me a combination of yoga, foam rolling and massages work best along with epsom salt baths to relieve any residual tension that I may be feeling. I have managed to maintain cardio workouts over the past few months but yoga and pilates have gone out the window and my foam roller has been gathering dust in the corner of my living room. So I have now pulled my yoga mat out, dusted off the foam roller and made a commitment to my masseuse to come more often and I am hopeful that the pain that I am currently feeling will disappear (but the lessons will stay as I never want to get back to this miserable and painful state of being).

I will let you know how this plan goes in a couple of months. Hopefully I will have positive news to report. How are you doing with everything? Are you making any self care commitments to yourself? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by Stylishly Zen today and I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

Five Simple Self Care Ideas When You Only Have Five Minutes

Hi Everyone!

Self Care has become a very popular term over the past few years. There are a range of opinions on it from selfish to necessary, but in reality it simply means to care for ones self in whatever form that means to you. Normally self cares lists include suggestions like “take a bubble bath” or “read a magazine” which are great suggestions when you have the time and energy, but let’s be honest – lately I have neither the time or the energy. Over the past few months it has become increasingly important to me to have self care practices in life that work within any amount of time that I may have. They don’t need to take a huge amount of effort but they do require a bit of mindfulness so that the pay off is more than worth it. The past year has been incredible stressful for many people around the world, so here is my list of quick self care practices that helps me to feel better when I am feeling a bit low:

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  • The magic of a cup of tea. There is something very comforting about a cup of tea (any type). The ritual of steeping leaves in a bag in hot water, holding the warm cup and taking slow sips are all small activities that can give you a moment to just breathe. I have always loved drinking tea for its myriad of benefits, but stealing a few moments just for myself to enjoy a sip or two has done wonders in calming my mind when things feel like they are in overdrive.

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  • Find your scent. This may sound a bit odd to some people, but fragrance is a very powerful tool and finding one that you enjoy and reminds your body to relax and unwind when you smell it can have great long term benefits. Personally I lean towards relaxing scents such as lavender and camomile oil to help me to unwind before going to sleep at night. I keep a bottle next to my bed and I apply a small amount at night. The scent tells my brain that it is time to slow down, relax and go to sleep. Whatever you choose though, look for something that reminds you to breathe and helps both your mind and body to unwind. You will be surprised how beneficial this technique can be when things are stressful and overwhelming.

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  • Take a hot shower and learn the art of self massage. This may not seem like a big deal, but taking a few moments to enjoy a quick hot shower is a great mood lifter. Try to focus the water to the area along your neck and back where you hold tension. I have also found that using a simple hand held massager on my neck before or after a hot shower has helped me release a ton of tension that I hold within my body.

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  • Move! This doesn’t mean that you need to do a hard core workout but you need to move your body – whether that means a quick walk around the block, marching in place or holding downward dog for a few moment. This will help you to connect deeply with your body and take a deep (and most probably much needed) breath

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  • Discover the benefits of facial massage. I love a beauty tool more then most people and my most used ones are the tools I have for facial massage. Whether it’s gua sha, a facial roller , or face yoga, facial massage is a great way to relieve tension that you are holding in your face. The added bonus of this practice is better product penetration and glowing skin, it’s a total win win!

And there you have it! My quick self care practices list that I rely on regularly to get me through life’s challenging moments when I am feeling low or overwhelmed. What self care practices do you rely on in your everyday life? Let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

Photo credit: http://www.stylishlyzen.com, http://www.pinterest.com

Why You Need to Add a Jade Roller To Your Beauty Routine

Over the past few years the jade roller has become a popular tool in many peoples beauty arsenal.  While they are often included in beauty flay lays posted to Instagram, and occasionally gets a shout out by beauty vloggers on Youtube, many people don’t realize that jade rollers are a fabulous addition to even the most simple of beauty routines.

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The jade roller was a closely guarded beauty secret of Chinese Royalty for centuries.  Aside from the beauty benefits, using a jade roller was also considered a spiritual act for dispelling bad energy and balancing your Chi (Vital life or energy force).  Symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue and body pains are often considered indications of imbalanced Chi.  Practices such as using a jade roller or acupuncture along with self care practices such as getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well can help to realign your Chi.

Aside from the holistic benefits of using a jade roller, there are also some great beauty benefits as well.  The top three beauty benefits of using a Jade roller are:

  • Brighten complexion
  • Chase away fine lines
  • Release tension that is held in the facial muscles resulting in a more relaxed and youthful complexion

Rolling the jade over your skin assists in lymphatic drainage, increases blood circulation and helps to diminish fine lines.  It also helps your products to penetrate more deeply into your skin.  An added bonus of using a jade roller it is great in helping to relieving puffiness after a late night – keep it in the refrigerator to increase the cooling sensation.

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How to use a jade roller:

  • Cleanse and apply your serum and/or your moisturizer as your normally would
  • Starting at the neck, roll the jade roller in an upwards motion in long strokes
  • Complete rolling the jade roller over your entire face and neck in an upward motion
  • Use the smaller roller to massage the under eye area to help to alleviate any puffiness that you may be experiencing
  • Wipe the roller clean with a damp towel
  • Enjoy a brighter more youthful complexion!

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a jade roller to get the benefits of it – I purchased mine from Amazon for $8.00 .  Please note that the colour of the jade will vary from roller to roller – this is just due to different colours of the stone and does influence the effectiveness of the roller.  Here are a few jade roller options in so that you can shop this post:

Jade Rollers on Amazon

Jade Rollers from Herbivore Botanicals

Jade Rollers on Etsy

The Stone Massage Company

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I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

A Simple Detox Ritual To Start Your Day

Starting your day with hot water and lemon has often been suggested on every wellness blog and detox blog that I have ever read or perused.  I began to include hot water with honey and lemon into my morning ritual about 10 years ago after reading about the metabolism and immunity boosting benefits that it provided.  I began this ritual when I was in fashion school full time and working full time – I couldn’t afford to get sick. I truly believe that this simple ritual helped to keep me healthy.  Over the years I have adjusted this drink, at times I omitted the honey and included a pinch of turmeric and black pepper or a few drops of turmeric oil for an anti-inflammatory boost.  But drinking a mug of hot water with fresh lemon has remained a constant to my morning ritual over the years.

Because I often read about the benefits of drinking this simple warming drink, I just assumed that it is something that everyone does. But after working with clients and speaking with friends and family over the past few years, I have learned that I was wrong.  Despite the plethora of evidence supporting this simple detox ritual, many people have yet to get on board.  If you are one of those people – don’t feel bad, but I would like to encourage you to include this simple drink into your morning routine.

Reasons to begin this detox ritual:

  1. It helps to rehydrate your body by replacing fluids you may have lost during the night while sleeping
  2. Aids digestion as the lemon juice helps to flush out unwanted toxins and waste from the body
  3. Boosts your immune system, lemons are a great source of vitamin C and honey is anti-bacterial.
  4. Helps to balance your body’s PH level. Disease thrives in an acidic environment within the body and lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods (once metabolized), so they are superstars when it comes to re-balancing your body’s PH to a healthier level.
  5. Helps to keep you skin clear.  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which combats free radicals, this in turn helps to decrease wrinkles and blemishes and boosts your glow factor.
  6. Aids in weight loss.  The pectin fibre in lemons helps to squash hunger cravings and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

What to do:

  • It’s a good idea to use spring or filtered water as you want to keep it as clean as possible
  • Use warm – hot (not boiling) water
  • Squeeze the juice of half of a fresh lemon into a mug
  • Pour in the hot water
  • Optional additions to your lemon water: half a teaspoon of raw or Manuka honey, a pinch of turmeric powder/a few slivers or raw turmeric/3 -4 drops of turmeric oil with a bit of black pepper

Some people may feel that including a mug of hot lemon water to their mornings may be time consuming and that they just don’t have the time for it as they rush to start their day.  I would suggest that if you are one of those people, then try to include this ritual into your mornings a few times a week when you are not so rushed (weekends perhaps?).  Another option is to fill your travel mug with hot lemon water to sip on your way to work and have your first coffee when you arrive at work.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Do you have any detox rituals that you swear by?  Let me know in the comments below!

I hope that you have a wonderful day!  XXS

The Self Care Shower Ritual That You May Be Missing

Detox is a commonly used word amongst people in the wellness community, and over the past few years it has become a commonly used buzz word in popular culture as well.  It means many things to many people, but essentially it is used to communicate a method to rid toxins – most commonly from the body.  While your body has detox organs that help to eliminate toxins from your body naturally, there are certain things that one can do to help further stimulate this process within the body.

This year I decided to incorporate a new detox ritual into my self care routine, namely dry brushing.  This self care routine has become popular over the past few years, and while I had attempted once or twice prior to this year, 2016 is the year that I committed.  For those of you that don’t know, dry brushing is the process of brushing your skin with a natural bristle brush.  Some of the benefits of dry brushing include:

  • It sweeps away dry skin cells
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates the lymph nodes
  • Improves the appearance of cellulite
  • Boosts circulation

It is best to dry brush before you take your shower and many prefer to do it in the morning as they feel energized after.  How to maximize your dry brushing experience:

  • Use a soft but firm natural bristle brush
  • Start dry brushing at your feet and brush upwards to your heart
  • While dry brushing your stomach, brush in a counter clockwise circular motion
  • Use a circular motion when dry brushing your chest – that is where lymph drainage occurs
  • Take your time, spend 3 – 5 minutes dry brushing
  • Enjoy the process, it is a great time to breathe and take some time for yourself while doing something great for your body.

I am so happy that I have added dry brushing into my self care routine.  My skin looks and feels great since I have started.  It forces me to slow down and take a minute for myself while I am brushing.  It is extremely therapeutic and I find myself looking forward to my new self care ritual on a daily basis.

Are there any new self care rituals that you have included in your routine this year?  Let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  XXS