In a recent post about self care (check it out here), we talked about finding your zen as part of a regular self care routine. I rounded up some of my favorite ways to recharge and reset my mental state when things get really lively. Let's be honest, that's on a regular basis in our house!
1. Go outside
This is my absolute favorite way to recharge, and works every single time no matter how crazy life is. Take a walk, go for a hike, sit outside in your garden or a park. Studies show 15 minutes outside can reduce your stress levels, ease anxiety and improve your focus. The added benefit is that you're breathing fresh air and experiencing the world around you.
2. Take a bath
Baths are a luxurious indulgence, which makes them perfect for finding your zen. It's more of a time commitment than some of our other recommendations, but lying in a bath for 20 minutes that's full of bubbles or scented with a bath bomb can really ease your mind and body. If you are able, I find taking a bath shortly before bed really improves my sleep quality. An extra indulgence? Add candles!
3. Get a Massage
Muscle tightness is something I struggle with on a regular basis, so anytime I'm able to schedule a massage I jump at the chance. It's relaxing, my body feels rejuvenated after a session and by lying still for an hour, I'm usually able to quiet my mind. Now, I realize massages are not always easily achievable as they require a dedicated amount of time and can be pricey. I try to schedule one quarterly with my favorite masseuse, but in a dream world I'd go once a week. One day!
4. Play in the dirt
I love to play in the dirt, and find gardening to be a really lovely, productive way to recharge. The whole process of gardening is mesmerizing to me, and taking moments out of the day to mindfully celebrate the circle of life by watching the progress of plants grow is inspiring. It's been shown that getting your hands dirty can improve your immune system and mood. Just another great excuse to get outside and make some mud pies!
5. Spend time with your pets
There's something about spending time hanging out with pets that makes me feel at peace, and allows me to recharge while still contemplating life. We have two dogs, seven chickens, and a horse that all help me to reset in different ways. Being the person our dogs are SO, SO excited to see brings a smile to my face, and the chickens offer endless entertainment. Our horse lives at a boarding facility, so we often get to spend time bonding and hanging outside on the trail. I've never had a time where I've consciously spent time with our pets and left feeling anything less than amazing.
6. Pamper yourself
Light a candle, refresh your diffuser and put on a great face mask for a relaxing self care session. Why do I like face masks for pampering? Mostly because they force me to sit still for 15 minutes until it's time to remove them, but also because it's a routine that causes me to slow things down a bit. The added benefit is I'm refreshing my skin and usually getting some kind of aromatherapy benefit at the same time. Want to take it to the next level? Schedule yourself a mani/pedi and enjoy being pampered!
7. Get creative in the kitchen
I know, I know. Being in the kitchen is a chore. Why is it on this list? Well, those moments when I get the kitchen all to myself in a quiet house to create something special are like magic. Using time in the kitchen for me doesn't always bring zen when I'm cooking spaghetti on a weeknight, but on those days when I get the opportunity to make artisan bread or a special dessert - those are the days that recharge.
8. Do yoga
Any form of yoga, any skill level, any length of practice. The meditative nature of yoga and it's many variations keep me coming back time and time again to renew my practice. I'm not a regular by any means, but yoga outside in a park under an ancient tree is nothing short of sacred in my mind. I leave feeling taller and stronger and like I could conquer the world.
Need some yoga inspiration? My latest favorite youtube channel is Yoga By Adrienne. The host is quirky, funny, yet drives you to find a deep yoga practice each time.
9. Get coffee
Meet up with a friend or head to the local coffee shop by yourself. You're great company! If you're around people most of your day, finding a few minutes alone may be what you need to recharge. Bonus points if you take your coffee outside!
I'm new to meditation and still figuring it out. On those occasions where I'm able to find even just 5 minutes to meditate, I reduce tension throughout my whole body and get the swirling in my mind to stop, both which allow me to be more productive and mindful in my day.
Now, I'm not a trained medical professional, but I do believe that taking care of yourself first is an important priority. It's hard to raise tiny humans and be good stewards of life when you feel like you're falling apart. I hope that you're able to find some ideas about how you can incorporate zen into your self care practice, and would love if you shared your ideas in the comments!
I'm off to take a bath!