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

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3 Beautiful Reasons To Eat Pine Nuts

My love affair with pine nuts is fairly recent.  Although this beloved seed has been eaten since the ancient times for their nutritional benefits, I only tried it for the first time four years ago.  But since then, pine nuts have become my go to addition when I want to take a simple dish to the next level.  Aside from its delicious nutty taste, pine nuts are a great beauty boosting food.  Here are my top three reasons to reach for the pine nuts:

  1. The majority of the fat in pine nuts is made up of monounsaturated fats, which is the primary fat in the Mediterranean diet.  Monounsaturated fats are helps to keep the cardiovascular system healthy making pine nuts great for heart health.  It is also great for skin health as it keeps the skin healthy and hydrated from the inside out.
  2. Pine nuts are packed with antioxidants such as selenium, Vitamins A, B, C, E & K and lutein.  These antioxidants help the body to combat the signs of aging by fighting free radicals.  They also help to keep the skin supple and young looking with good elasticity
  3. Pine nuts also contain many anti-inflammatory properties which help with a myriad of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, acne and itching.

And there you have it – 3 beautiful reasons to complement your dishes with pine nuts.  What is your favourite way to include pine nuts in your cooking – let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

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Please Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.  It is not intended to serve as a substitute for a consultation or medical treatment from a qualified physician or healthcare practitioner.

5 Self Care Practices You Should Be Doing

There comes a time in everyone’s life that they forget to take care of themselves.  With life moving at a frenetic pace and our ever increasing responsibilities, there are only so many hours in a day and it is easy to put your own needs on the back burner.  The problem with not making self care a priority is that you can only continue this way for a limited amount of time before your body forces you to start caring for yourself.  For many, this is normally a temporary wake up call as they eventually go back to living life at full throttle not taking the time to care for themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, self care is not a selfish act.  By not taking the time to nourish and rejuvenate yourself, you will eventually deplete yourself of the ability to do things for others.  The old adage “you can’t pour from an empty cup”  rings true in this situation.  Over the past few years I have tried to make self care a priority.  While I am not always successful, there are a few self care rituals that I frequently practice to centre and  rejuvenate myself.  They also help to remind me that I need to be on my priority list, and to schedule a larger chunk of time for myself in the (very) near future.    My top five favourite (relatively quick) self care practices are:

IMG_00401). Get outside

We spend way to much time indoors.  Being outside and enjoying the fresh air is good for the mind, body and spirit.  Take a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the view or go for a quick walk around the block to get your blood pumping.

IMG_00472) Meditate (or just breathe) or stretch

I used to think that meditation was not for me.  My mind is always racing and I am frequently multi-tasking, how on earth could I be expected to just sit and breathe???  It turns out that those reasons are exactly why I needed to develop a meditation practice into my life.  Ever since I started to meditate I feel more grounded and not nearly as scattered as I used to be.  Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating to reaps it’s benefits.  I normally meditate between 5 – 15 minutes first thing in the morning (before my to-do list kicks into high gear).  Some mornings when I am running late I take a moment to take five deep belly breathes then I head out to start my day.  I have met many people that are interested in beginning a meditation practice but they are overwhelmed with the amount of information given to them about how to practice successfully.  Don’t overthink it!  Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breath.  In and out, in and out.  If you find your mind starting to wander don’t worry about it, just calmly bring your awareness back to your breath.  Some people find it helpful to have a mantra.  If you feel that you would benefit from one  then just be sure to pick one that you can say/think with the flow of your breath.  Voila!  You are now a meditating superstar!

There are countless benefits to stretching or doing yoga.  It is good for the mind, body and the soul.  If you are to busy to take a class then roll out your mat and move through a few moves at home.  There are some great apps out there (my favourite is Yoga Studio) that will help you to achieve a successful yoga practice wherever you are.  Aside from the greater range of flexibility and the calming effect that yoga has on my mind, I love the rosy glow that I get from my yoga practice.

IMG_20393) Put your electronics down!  (Yes that includes your phone)

Chances are that this self care practice may take some well…….practice.  Most of us are overly reliant on our phones (yes that includes me most of the time), but taking some time away from our electronic lifelines is healthy.  While the idea of being away from our phones for even a second is frightening take baby steps.  Try leaving your phone in another room while you eat and don’t pick up your phone as soon as you wake up.  This will allow you to stay (and enjoy) the moment rather then mindlessly going through your day.

IMG_00504) Take a mini spa moment

In an ideal world we would all have the time (and the resources) to visit a spa for rest and relaxation.  This is obviously a far cry from reality but with a little effort you can have a mini spa moment in the comfort of your own home.  Apply a sheet mask while you relax. Light some candles, enjoy a glass of spa water or wine and read a leisurely magazine to achieve the full spa effect.  When was the last time you took a luxurious bubble bath?  Treat yourself to your favourite bubble bath and body oil and be sure to add in some epsom salts to help relax those tired muscles. It doesn’t matter how you choose to bliss out as long as you do it.  Even just 15 minute of spa time will rejuvenate your body and nourish your busy mind.

IMG_00375) Treat yourself to something that will make you smile

I don’t mean to go and splurge on a high price item and consider it self care.  It can be as simple as treating yourself to a bouquet of flowers or a picture that gives you a positive pause for thought.  Something as simple as flowers can brighten a room, bring the outdoors inside and encourage you (and those around you) to smile.  Small treats that you enjoy will help to remind you that YOU are worth making yourself a priority.

There are endless ways to practice self care but it is important that you take the time to do so.  What are your favourite ways to care prioritize yourself and nourish your mind, body and soul?  Let me know in the comments below

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  ❤️XXS