‘You cannot pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.’
I am committed to regular self-care but like many, I learned to prioritize self-care the hard way. When I started my career as a massage therapist 22 years ago, I went full throttle. It was all about helping clients and growing my business, often to the detriment of my wellbeing. What I quickly learned is that if I truly desire to help others for as long as possible, then I would have to be vigilant with my health + wellness routine.
To keep my cup filled, I have a “Wellness Cabinet” stocked with nurturing modalities and practices that I use daily, weekly, monthly, annually or as often as I can.
In Ayurveda, daily practices are one of the cornerstones for health, graceful aging and longevity. Here are 6 of my morning practices.
- Dry Brushing
- Oil Pulling
My morning starts with a liter of room temperature or warm lemon water to hydrate. In addition, my 40-year meditation practice keeps me focused and connected. It pairs well with daily journaling which helps gives my thoughts and emotions form and structure to better understand myself. I prepare for my shower by warming oil for self massage before heading to the bathroom for 3-4 minutes of dry brushing. This keeps the skin glowing and most importantly supports the lymphatic system. I do the oil pulling while in the shower. Once I am done and after I dry off, I perform a self massage. Again, this usually takes less than 5 minutes. My morning ritual sets the tone by keeping me grounded and prepared for what the day brings.
After several injuries, yoga and walking are my present weekly staples. Regular exercise is not just about physical activity but also increased mental clarity and elevated mood.
- Massage Therapy
- Chiropractic care
These 3 modalities are my antidote for stress management, pain reduction, and restorative sleep. There are many more benefits for me, though. They also help boost digestion, balance the energetic body and massage offers positive human touch.
Semi-annual + Annual
- Medical checkups
- Astrological check ups
Regular medical checkups and astrology do not seem a likely pair but both help to keep my health on track. I never miss my regular checkups with my allopathic doctors. I visit my holistic dentist twice a year and get my annual physical and Well Woman like clockwork. I don’t read horoscopes daily as they are more of a general overview rather than a personalized tool. Instead, every year I get a solar return reading to look at the upcoming planetary movements and how to optimize them. As an astrologer, I also regularly look at my chart to delve deeper in how I can grow and evolve.
As often as I can
- Create and cultivate community
- Not sweating the small stuff
- Celebrate life
My family and friends are my emotional and spiritual support, therefore, I make time to build close relationships. Nothing lifts the spirits like a shared simple pleasure. When I get upset and I don’t have family and friends to help bring me back down to earth, I pause and ask myself, “Will I be thinking about this on my death bed?’ If the answer is ‘no’ and it often is, then I let it go. Full Stop. Period. Done. Don’t sweat the small stuff and 99.9999% of stuff is small when you look at it from a bigger perspective. Finally, I look for opportunities to celebrate life as often as I can. Traveling is one of my favorite ways to celebrate as I get first-hand experiences with different cultures, history, food and people. But I am not always traveling for pleasure so most of the time it is about finding smaller moments to celebrate like laughing often, sometimes at inappropriate moments; singing out loud while waiting at the crosswalk; dancing in the supermarket aisles or frequently asking myself throughout the day, ‘What can I celebrate?” ‘What do I need to forgive?’ What can I be grateful in this moment?’
When you are well, you are happy. When your physically, mentally, emotionally fulfilled, you have more to give, more to enjoy and a full glass to toast the good life.