Daily Self-Care Routines for Mental & Emotional Balance

Daily Self-Care Routines for Mental
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

We’ve all heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure*. It is much easier to prevent any illness by not allowing it to take root, than once symptoms have, like a tree, taken root and borne fruit. We have addressed some preventive tips in previous classes, and this class will overview the basics. Optimal balance is different for everyone, though there are basic things to do that can be adapted specifically for you. At any stage of imbalance, from prevention to full-fledged illness, treatment is more effective the more specifically individualized it is. Underlying all of the specifics, the most important thing is to make time for self-care!

Most people have been brought up with the notion that we are supposed to take care of others before taking care of ourselves. One of the worst insults to give many people is calling someone selfish, always thinking of themselves before others. An important distinction to make here is the difference between self with a little ‘s’ and Self with a capital ‘S.’ Self with a capital ‘S’ is when we are making choices in alignment with our highest potential or purpose, self with a little ‘s’ has experienced separation from Self, and grasps for things outside to fill the emptiness inside. Only from a place of separation does one experience the “lack” mentality, thus develop addictive tendencies, and never feel full, because they are feeding a bottomless pit. Potential employers, lovers and friends who may not have your best interests in mind, and be more like vampires will be attracted to one in this state.

You may have heard you can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself. Or that you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. If you are prioritizing taking care of your Self, you don’t feel like grasping for outside substances or behaviors, and you have extra energy and empathy to be present for, and attune to others. Once one has experienced a state of nourishment and fulfillment, the natural state is to want to give back. Potential employers, lovers and friends who will actually be good to and for you will be attracted to you when you are in this state.

Grasping for outside substances

So, how does one step into and maintain this connection with purpose and our highest potential? It starts with a breath!

Most of these routines would ideally be adapted for each person individually, based on your mind-body constitution, your particular imbalances/ history, the season, climate, and other current life circumstances. And in general, making one change that sticks is better than making all these changes quickly and quitting them just as quickly. Ideally, start with making one change that is easiest to make, and integrate it into your life over a period of a week or two. Then pick the next one, and so on. Generally, it takes time and outside support to integrate lasting changes. Otherwise, this paper will sit on a stack of other papers, and perhaps get lost in the whirlwind of your life and others’ needs. So if this resonates, put it on your fridge and give yourself a timeline, marking the next step on your calendar, schedule reminders on your phone, and just practice finding a regular time to practice each step. Regularity is key to remembering. And when you encounter challenges, call a friend from class today, call or text me and if I’m available, we’ll help you find a way through!

Waking Routines

  • Upon waking, take a couple of minutes to remember your dreams, write them down if you have time.
  • 2 minutes of deep breathing & intention setting.
  • ½-1 cup warm water with lemon before caffeine to start the day with alkalizing. Add a half tablespoon honey, if weight loss* is desired.
  • 5-15 min stretching the body with conscious breath, meditate for 2 minutes after, sitting still, keeping gaze still, focus on a sweet place of choice.
  • Dry brush body before or after a shower, especially if weight loss* is a goal.
  • Chyawanprash – 1tsp 2/day for energy if you don’t have much tongue coating.

Mealtimes

Mealtimes
  • Eat at regular times, like placing a log on the fire at regular intervals to keep the fire burning steady, food will break down best if fire is not let to go out or given massively different kinds of food at each meal.
  • Let lunch be your biggest meal- when the sun is highest, so is your body’s ability to metabolize. Ex: teacher’s client who only did this lost 100lbs.
  • Eat organic, or at least if you eat meat, let the meat be organic.
  • Sip hot water or ginger tea with meals. Food does not need to be “washed down,” only digestive enzymes and acids get washed out by drinking lots of fluid with meals, especially cold/ iced drinks, which essentially stops digestion.
  • Eat food prepared with love. We digest the emotions of the cook as well as the molecules of the food.
  • Thank the food, say blessing, or at least take 3 deep breaths to slow down and appreciate the food’s journey to your plate, and start the enzymes preparation for this meal, especially if you didn’t cook it.
  • Chew thoroughly and slowly for best metabolism. Doing this alone will reduce* the need for pills, etc. to “speed up metabolism.”
  • Eat to 75%- especially if you have GERD or burning indigestion. Like a washing machine, if you fill stomach too full, food will not break down.
  • Sit for 10-20 minutes after you finish eating, enjoying pleasant music or conversation.
  • Do not eat when emotional, you will notice emotions heighten after meals if you do.

Work/ Play/ Exercise

Wear colors that are balancing to you:

  • For example, if you tend to run hot &/or you experience a lot of frustration or anger, &/or if it is summer, wear cooler colors.
  • If you tend to feel cold, especially in hands and feet, &/or identify with more fear in your life, &/or it is winter, wear warmer colors.
  • Wear harmonious patterns that cultivate clarity and focus.

Exercise in whatever way you prefer for a minimum of 20 minutes 3x/week, or work in the garden if exercise is not possible.

  • Take breaks in work- at least once every hour and a half, get up and walk around the room, or put the printer on the opposite side of the room.
  • Drink 8-oz glasses of water a day, if you don’t drink caffeine.
  • If your co-workers are ok with it, have an essential oil diffuser on your desk to clean and enliven the air around you and keep everyone’s immunity and energy up.

Bedtime Routines

Bedtime Routines
  • Turn off electrical stimulation about an hour before you want to be asleep. 10 pm is when people’s second wind, or in Ayurveda, we say the second fire starts.
  • Consider the stimulus of whatever you are reading or watching- violent, dramatic or chaotic images, noises or themes will tend to replay themselves in your dreams and often in your life.
  • Warm 1-2 to 1 cup raw milk or nut milk to 120, sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom and enjoy!
  • Scrape tongue.

Consider the following:

  • A bath with 1/3 cup Epsom salts, perhaps 1/3 cup ginger and essential oils for 10-20 mins. Oil the body before or after bath especially if you experience pain or insomnia.
  • Restorative Yoga, or at the very least, legs up a chair or wall and breathe.
  • Pressure point in the center of hand, or massage your feet with oil.
  • Meditate on your breath, observe your thoughts and keep returning back to your breath when you notice being distracted.
  • Chant/ meditate on the sound of Om or better, Lam for grounding.

Nasya – Nasal oil when you lie down, 3-5 drops in each nostril & sniff to reduce* nasal dryness, including runny nose, and harmonize the mind.

Sleep with a less firm pillow under the head, more firm under the knees to sleep on the back. Bunch pillow up under the head when on the side and place a pillow between knees and under the top arm.

Weekly Additions

  • Have fun at least once a week, nurture your spirit’s sense of lightness and play, especially if you work or are ‘on duty’ the rest of the time. Remember true fun will make you feel better afterward, not deplete you. Consider for every cup of caffeine or alcohol, you need two cups of water to rehydrate you. Same goes for ‘fun’ that depletes you. Staying up late to party not only doesn’t give your organs the time they need to regenerate, it makes them work double time.
  • Rest for a full day at least once a week.

Quit Smoking with tips from Ayurveda- Remember: cravings last for 6 minutes

  • Chew licorice or calamus root when you get craving.
  • Find replacement- fresh peaches help remove* nicotine from the system.
  • Eat baby carrots or other distraction while driving.
  • Drink more water, a journal on the source of stress when you get craving.
  • Pranayama/ chanting/ walk/ exercise- increase* the flow of oxygen, refocus the mind.
  • Smoke without distraction if none of the above works.
  • Roll herbs in cigarettes- peppermint, lavender, mullein, sage, mugwort, wormwood, damiana, yerbasanta. Best if they are cooked in ghee first. Reduces* the amount of tobacco and mends damaged tissues.
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In-Post Image: Istockphoto.com

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Author

Expert Author : Skyler Bright (Consumer Health Digest)

Skyler Bright, CAS, PKS, CMT, RYT has taught yoga to thousands of students over 15 years. She has studied over 3500 hours in yoga, massage, and Ayurvedic Health Care over 10 years. Skyler taught yoga at the Chopra Center and La Costa Resort before opening a yoga studio in San Diego, which was voted 5th best studio in the KGTV 2007 A List. She has taught yoga and given massage to clients from all over the world at Mar de Jade Resort in Chacala, Mexico, The Spa at Sugarbowl Ski Resort in Tahoe, among others, in addition to providing Ayurvedic Health Care for clients in her private practice and women in local shelters. She has held two Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher trainings. She currently teaches yoga and self care classes at a Cal-WORKs program, DVSAC in Grass Valley, Mindfulness and yoga at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, in addition to developing a pilot program to reduce relapse and recidivism through Sierra County Drug Court.