AN INTRODUCTION TO SELF-CARE
In this article, we’re sharing some of the best suggestions and recommendations we have to support and encourage you in building a self-care routine. Carving out dedicated time for yourself is equally as important as the time you spend doting on others, caring for family and loved ones and contributing professionally. One of the ways you can grow your self-care practice is by incorporating natural wellness products, which we will learn more about in this article.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
Self-care can be defined as the act of taking care of yourself, of taking part in active behaviors that encourage and enhance wellness and promoting the importance of physical and mental wellbeing. Prioritizing self-care is one of the ways we can help prevent and manage illness or general unwell when it occurs and can help us focus on being happy, healthy and well overall.
Self-care is a broad and loosely defined term that can mean many things to many people. While no one definition is all inclusive, some people consider the following acts to be supportive of self-care:
- Eating healthy, nutritious meals that provide the body with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to perform optimally
- Carving out time daily for activity and movement that safely increases the heart rate, causes the body to sweat and allows for the energetic release of stale energy
- Spending time in nature, allowing the sights and sounds of the outdoors to slow the worries and stresses of the mind and to positively engage the senses
- Practicing good sleep hygiene, which in part means to consistently engage in high quality, uninterrupted sleep for between 7-9 hours each night
- Receiving a safe and controlled amount of direct sun exposure to encourage vitamin D production in the body and to support feeling happy and well
WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?
There are many reasons why it’s imperative to experience the benefits of regular self-care. One of the primary benefits is that self-care encourages you to build a healthy, trusting and safe relationship with yourself. In order to best be of service to other individuals in your life, it’s important to first build a relationship of self-forgiveness, self-compassion and self-prioritization.
It’s easy for self-care to be misconstrued as being selfish or self-serving, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. You disservice the other relationships in your life, many of which may include people who depend on you, when you are feeling less than optimal and aren’t in the headspace to show up as your best self.
Some additional health benefits of self-care can include:
- Increased levels of serotonin in the body can help bring significant improvements to our mood and our level of physical energy
- Decreased levels of stress. When you prioritize your personal wellbeing, you send information to yourself and others that says you know the value of managing your stress levels for optimal health
- An improved sleep routine and schedule, which also has the ability to positively impact your stress levels, energy levels and even your digestion
- Protecting your mental health. Thoughtful, intentional time focused on you can help improve your self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SELF-CARE?
We mentioned earlier some of the different acts that can be considered supportive in practicing self-care, like eating well and prioritizing sleep. Here we’ll dive deeper into a few of the ways you can perform each of these behaviors, as well as suggest a 100% natural wellness product you can try pairing with this activity:
1. Eating healthy and nutritious foods each day. As much as we derive pleasure from a decadent treat, consistently eating in a way that deprives the body of the nutrients it needs to perform optimally each day (eating fast food regularly, for example) is a surefire way to create harm in the body. Nutrient dense foods like those that come from plants, nuts, seeds and some whole grains can support your body in feeling naturally energized, stable and focused throughout the day.
A product to pair with your healthy eating habits: Gutzy is a soothing blend for your tummy that contains balancing, supportive ingredients like sweet fennel, peppermint and roman chamomile to comfort the body before or after a meal. Try rolling directly to the stomach and massaging in a clockwise direction.
2. Daily activity and movement. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the type of movement that feels best for your body and mind. While some people choose to partake in high endurance activities like running or weightlifting, others thrive in gentler movements like yoga or long walks. Whatever feels right for you, it’s the practice of committing to movement each day that matters most.
A product to pair with your daily activity and movement: Extra Strength roll-on is our largest, most powerful roll-on to ease sore muscles, back ache, strains and sprains. The warming and cooling sensation of essential oils like sweet birch, marjoram and rosemary can be applied to areas of the body like the arms, legs and back pre and post workout to help soothe, ease and relieve.
3. Spending time in nature. There’s nothing as supportive for both our bodies and our minds as the great outdoors. Breathing fresh, clean air, hearing the birds and insects chirping and buzzing overhead, taking in the beautiful aesthetic of the leaves, trees and flowers – nature really is where it’s at! Making intentional time to be screen-free and in commune with yourself and those you love while spending time outdoors is one of the greatest gifts we can offer ourselves regularly.
A product to pair with your time spent in nature: Energy roll-on is a refreshing, uplifting and invigorating blend to help you feel boosted no matter where you are. Revitalizing essential oils like peppermint, lemon, basil and rosemary can be applied to the temples, wrists and other pulse points for a natural boost whenever and wherever you need it.
THE TOP FIVE BENEFITS OF SELF-CARE
While the benefits of self-care are endless, some appeal on a larger scale because it’s easy to connect with the results quickly. Part of the joys of learning what feels good and right to you is experimenting with different activities, practices and strategies that can help you to feel connected with yourself and ready to be of service to others. Below we’ll discuss what we believe are five of the most important benefits of self-care:
SELF-CARE IS PRIORITIZING YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
1. Self-care can create tangible, positive impacts on your physical health. Prioritizing taking care of your body and mind in part means a commitment to looking after yourself, treating yourself well and becoming more attuned to your unique needs. The seemingly smallest behavior shifts can create habits that serve you well for the long term.
SELF-CARE IS A REDUCTION IN STRESS
2. Self-care can support in a reduction of stress, worry and anxiety. Some of the activities people choose to support self-care like taking a long walk, reading a good book, engaging in a pleasurable activity like a massage or a bath can all help to reduce feelings of tension, worry and restlessness, which in turn can help reduce symptoms of stress.
SELF-CARE IS THINKING HIGHLY OF YOURSELF
3. Self-care is good for your self-image. Investing in and prioritizing yourself is one of the ways you can create a positive self-impression and continue to grow your courage, confidence and self-esteem. There is a saying that goes, ‘like attracts like’. When you carve out time intentionally to be in support of your highest self, you’re more likely to continue wanting to be kind and gracious with yourself.
SELF-CARE IS MAKING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH MATTER
4. Self-care allows you to prioritize your mental health. Doing your best to avoid the burnout than can accompany many of life’s stressors is key to your overall wellbeing, and mental health is at the center of that. Taking the time to indulge in activities that make you feel rested, relaxed and happy is good for your mental health.
SELF-CARE IS BUILDING MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
5. Self-care can support you in growing and maintaining healthy relationships. When you are at your best, you have the most to give. When you are content in who you are, you will have an easier time feeling close to others and becoming willing to open up further, which is integral to long lasting and fulfilling relationships.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW TO ENGAGE IN SELF-CARE
Because the term ‘self-care’ is so broad and the definitions so vast, it’s prudent to say that self-care is a highly personalized and unique-to-you experience. Give yourself permission to say that what works for someone else may not be what works for you and vice versa; let yourself choose what makes sense and what makes you feel your best. Here are three suggestions for ways in which you can take care of yourself:
BUILD YOUR SENSE OF BELONGING
Whether it’s joining a new gym, signing up for a pottery class, reconnecting with your old college roommates or chatting with colleagues over lunch, it’s important to share time, space and connection with others in order to foster a sense of truly knowing yourself and how you fit into spaces with others.
MAKE TIME EACH DAY FOR SOMETHING YOU LOVE
With professional and personal obligations at an all-time high for many, this can feel like a tall order but remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Dance in the living room before work. Take a bath before bed. Call a friend on your lunch break. Do your hair and makeup “just because”. Making yourself and the things you care about a priority sends signals to your brain and to others in your life that you think you’re deserving of the effort.
FIND NEW WAYS TO RELAX
If your tried-and-true methods don’t seem to be sparking joy in the same way anymore, it might be time to expand your horizons. Many people report finding joy and contentment when they seek out new activities and practices to support them in finding relaxation, stress-release and a way to ‘blow off steam’. Try signing up for a yoga class in your neighborhood, walk home from work a completely different way than you usually do or hit up a new local hotspot for brunch on the weekend – you'll be surprised what a little newness can do to support your physical and emotional health.
FIVE OF THE BEST SELF-CARE PRODUCTS IN THE NATURAL WELLNESS SPACE
Here at Saje, we pride ourselves on offering truly 100% natural, plant-based solutions for many common ailments like sleep, stress, pain and more and we’ve recently began to expand on our assortment of products formulated specifically for mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Choosing alternatives to synthetics to support you in exploring mindfulness and self-care is a simple, practical way you can boost your connection with your body and mind and create a positive sensory experience. Below we’re sharing five of our favorite wellness products for self-care:
OUR #1 PRODUCT SINCE THE DAY WE FIRST OPENED OUR DOORS
Peppermint Halo roll-on is a well-known, well-loved product here at Saje that has been with us since our inception all the way back in 1992. We blended this cooling, tingling product to be comforting and balancing to the head, neck and shoulders and when applied creates something like a ‘halo’ effect. Peppermint Halo is a warming and cooling blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender and more.
A SOOTHING, GROUNDING SOAK AT BATH TIME
Sleep Well bath salts are supportive as part of your nighttime wind down routine. A warm bath is well-loved by so many as a self-care practice that helps soothe and ease the body as well as relax and calm the mind. These salts are blended with tranquil essential oils like valerian, lavender, neroli and jasmine, and a couple tablespoons is all you need to feel restful.
RECREATE A SPA-LIKE ENVIRONMENT AT HOME
Spa Day diffuser blend is a refreshing and herbal blend that was formulated to help turn any space into an oasis of calm. Bright and uplifting lemon helps create a sunny disposition, herbaceous and woody juniper berry promotes clarity and eases worries while fresh and grounding black spruce helps to put the mind at ease. Add 8-10 drops to a diffuser of your choice, sit back and say, “ahhh.”
HELP ENCOURAGE YOURSELF TO STRESS LESS
Stress Release diffuser blend is another one of our go-to options when we want to fill the air in our space with essential oils that are calming, uplifting and balancing. This blend, also available as a roll-on and a bath salt, is formulated with lavender to relax the body and harmonize the mind, roman chamomile to ease restlessness and sweet orange to promote feelings of happiness.
FREE YOUR MIND AND THE REST(FULNESS) WILL FOLLOW
Our Pocket Farmacy – Mindful Edition has been a smash success since launching in Spring 2021, including winning an award from the prestigious Allure Best of Beauty for “Best Essential Oils”. This kit contains five essential oil roll-ons that have been formulated to support mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing by helping to increase confidence, connection and reflection while protecting your energy and encouraging you to unwind. Designed for topical use only, these roll-ons can be applied to areas like the temples, wrists, over the throat and chest and in the elbow creases as desired.
A SIMPLE SELF-CARE CHECKLIST FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING
As you’ve discovered while reading this article today, what constitutes self-care is broad and vast and has more to do with your personal preferences and inclinations than it does with prescriptive to-do lists. After all, self-care won’t feel like care if you feel obligated to do it. We’re sharing here a simple self-care checklist to help you on your journey and to encourage you to create space and time for yourself when deciding how you want to invest in your wellbeing.
You can consider creating a checklist with simple, tangible actions you can take each day to support in reaching your overall goals, like:
- Meditate each morning and/or night
- Stretch and move your body each day
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water
- Add fruits and vegetables to every meal in your day
- Write in your journal
You can also consider a checklist of more holistic practices to help you build towards a consistent practice of self-care that may include:
- Connect with yourself – check in regularly, evaluate where you are and where you may want to be
- Connect with others – spend time with people you love and trust and who you feel safe to share your feelings with
- Connect to your community – be it a church group, activity meet-up or volunteer experience, you may find the support you need to feel your best
- Find ways to consciously create joy – take up a new hobby, schedule time to watch the newest season of your favorite show, plan a weekend getaway; whatever it takes to make you feel happy and fulfilled
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO SUPPORT SELF-CARE
We’ve written additional articles you may find useful and interesting on your self-care journey and we’d like to share them with you here:
Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.
— Audre Lorde