If you are a woman whose hair is perfectly in place, with your makeup perfect and you’re always exactly 2 hours early for your flights and you never have dishes in the sink and are never late for appointments or to pick up your kids and you have all of your meals perfectly planned and thought out, then this isn’t for you and you can scroll on by. (And honestly, sister, even though you’ve got it all pulled together, it sounds like you could use some self-care, so you might want to stop and peruse this anyway). And also call me. I need help with all of those things!
If, on the other hand, you ride a razor-thin line between hot mess and magical Unicorn Goddess daily, maybe even minute to minute, then I am definitely talking to you!
We need some coping tools, ladies, am I right?! And it can’t take all day or even more than an hour for us to get our heads on straight. I mean a weekend yoga retreat in Costa Rica would be divine, right? (and if you can swing that, then, by all means, do it!) If, however, you have little humans who depend on you and/or a full-time job and a VERY full life, then you are probably squeezing your own self-care, into the cracks. And that’s okay. Sometimes self-care has to happen in the cracks. The important thing is that you are remembering to get it in.
How do you squeeze self-care, in the cracks? What I mean by that is a shift in what we consider self-care. Self-care can be such a loaded phrase and conjures up pictures of bubble baths and candles and massage and anything less than that can feel like not real self-care.
So, let’s redefine self-care. Self-care is any time you have to care for yourself, to make yourself your top priority. Are you early to pick up the kids? Take 5 minutes in your car to close your eyes and breathe, really focusing on the breath coming in and out of your body. Are you waiting for your oil to be changed? Take a 15-30-minute walk around the block, focusing on how your body feels moving in the world. Even errands and menial tasks can be self-care if we shift our perspective…
Do your grocery shopping alone (which can feel like the exact opposite of self-care) …Focus on how amazing it feels to be choosing foods to nurture your body. Instead of mindlessly wandering the aisles, invest in the experience and feel gratitude for all of the amazing products and foods that are available to you in one place. Are you cleaning the house? Again, this can feel like the exact opposite of self-care, but when you get present and invest in the process, think of how satisfying it is to tidy and clean…it’s instant gratification to put a dirty plate in warm, soapy water, scrub the sponge around and lift a shiny clean plate out of the sink!
These shifts are all just a matter of mindset. If you feel into the moment, luxuriate in it, just a bit and DECIDE that you are going to take this time for your own self-care, it will be nurturing and it will nourish you in the best way possible.
But maybe you need something a bit more tangible in the way of self-care. Something you can touch and feel and that reminds you to take a moment for yourself while you give yourself a mini-spa experience. My go-to for self-care in the cracks is essential oils. These beautiful gifts from nature relax my mind, support my body and can change the energy in and around me in the most profound ways.
Essential oils are volatile, aromatic compounds that are really the lifeblood and protection for the plants they come from. They are lipid-based, as are our cells, so they can enter into our cellular tissue, having profound interactions on our physical bodies and body systems.
Our sense of smell is our direct link to our limbic brain, which is the primal brain, directly linked to our emotions. We’ve all had an experience of catching a whiff of something and immediately being transported back to an emotion or a memory. Essential oils can actually influence our emotions (and the emotions of those around us) in a powerful way.
Essential oils also have their own energies and vibrations. We, humans, are very influenced by the energies and vibrations of plants, which is why sometimes the best self-care is to go be in nature. Get out and garden. Go for a hike. Hug a tree. Or use an essential oil that has the very essence and vibration of the plant which you can feel and experience just by putting a drop in your hand, inhaling the fragrance and rubbing it into your pulse points.
**Just a quick note...not all essential oils are created equally. I am actually extremely allergic and sensitive to most brands of essential oils that are being sold. Many brands contain fillers and synthetics that have the opposite effect on our systems, so make sure you find a high-quality brand of essential oils so that you can experience the benefits I am talking about, and not react from the other noxious chemicals that are added to many essential oils brands.
My favorite essential oils for self-care:
Wild Orange! This beautiful citrus oil is so cheerful and warm. It feels like being enveloped in a great big hug and as such, it is a mood balancer. If you feel sad, lethargic or apathetic, this oil is very uplifting for your energy and spirit. On the other hand, if you feel anxious, upset or on the verge of an emotional breakdown, this oil can ground you back into a feeling of comfort and support, as well as uplift your spirits. It is also the oil of abundance, so it can be very powerful in assisting with a scarcity or lack mindset.
Cypress is the oil of motion and flow, which can help us release stagnant energies, worries, perfectionistic tendencies and our sense of needing control. This oil helps us to feel more flexible, trusting and adaptable. It is also wonderful for supporting the circulation in our bodies on a physical level.
Bergamot is the oil of self-acceptance. It helps relieve feelings of despair, self-judgment and low self-esteem. When we feel unlovable and hopeless this beautiful citrus oil can help us to feel optimistic, confident and hopeful. It awakens the soul to hope and offers courage to share the inner self.
Ginger is the oil of empowerment and helps us to take complete responsibility for our life circumstances so that we may choose our own destiny. It helps us to overcome victim mentality, a sense of powerlessness and blaming others...we can become empowered, capable and purposeful. It is also a warming oil and can be very helpful in cases of a spleen imbalance.
Grapefruit is the oil of honoring the body. It teaches true respect and appreciation for your physical body. It encourages a positive relationship with your body based on love, tolerance, and acceptance. If you are experiencing body shame, obsession with food and dieting, eating issues or distorted body image, using this oil can help you find body acceptance, healthy relationships with food and eating as well as feeling nourished and respectful of your own physical needs.
Magnolia is the oil of compassion. When we begin to feel disconnected, numb, lonely, isolated or unkind this oil guides us back to compassion, respect, and kindness. This oil can assist us to feel safe and loved and from this perspective, we can naturally see where we withhold compassion from ourselves and others. This beautiful oil inspires a willingness to see divine beauty within each soul we meet, including our own.
Pink pepper is the oil of intrinsic equality, which means this oil helps us to be less judgmental and to step away from comparison. This oil leads us back to compassion, self-acceptance and seeing ourselves as equal to other humans. Comparison never leads to happiness, just insecurity. This oil reminds us to be patient, kind and loving.
I carry my oils with me at all times and I use them whenever I feel like I need a little extra self-care. Sometimes I know exactly what my mind, body, and soul are craving and other times I let my intuition guide me. I love to create blends that also support me and I put these in roller bottles and dab a little on my wrists, insides of my elbows, over my heart and on the back of my neck. This gives me a moment to catch my breath, connect into the moment again and give myself a moment of pure, unadulterated self-care. Which makes me a way better mom and person, in general.
And they help me with my mindset when I need to take the time when I’m doing mundane (necessary) tasks and turn them into self-care moments.
Kestrel Bishop is the creator of “Hot Mess to Goddess” a workshop experience to balance your hormones with chakra alignment, essential oils, yoga and meditation as well as the creator of a line of essential oils that help to support your endocrine system, align your chakras and bring your body from “fight or flight” back to “rest and digest.”
She is passionate about essential oils education as well as reminding women how to choose to love themselves in every moment of their day. The voice that speaks the truth inside will always remind us of how powerful and brilliant we are. The monkey mind will fight and argue that we are too much or not enough. Find the true voice and choose love.
You can connect with her on Facebook at Mindful Essentials or on her website mindful-essentials.com or drop an email to [email protected].