MY FAVOURITE SELF CARE + WELLNESS RITUALS
I recently shared some of my favourite self care and wellness rituals and there were a ton of requests and questions for me to explain the how, what, when and why so here is The 411 on 7 of my favourite self care and wellness rituals!
Some of my favourite self care and wellness rituals are;
Helps with lymphatic drainage and inflammation. I habit stack my dry brushing with another already implemented routine - drinking my lemon water! So I dry brush for a couple of minutes whilst the kettle boils, this way, I do not have to find any extra time to do this. This method is perfect for those short on time.
FAQ: How do you do it? Upwards motions, everything towards the heart! Spend a little more time on stubborn areas such as outer thighs if you struggle with low circulation in those areas like myself. Always do it whilst your skin is dry, before a shower instead of after.
FAQ: Which brush do you recommend? Any! I personally use an ESPA one from Amazon, which I couldn’t find, but it’s identical to this one.
Gua Sha and facial massages again help with lymphatic draining and inflammation, so if you find your face feeling puffy or swollen, gua sha and lots of water will certainly help with that. I love to use a steel tool instead of a crystal. I aim to do this each morning, but sometimes, I forget until after I’ve done my makeup. You want to do this when you’ve applied some serum to your face, otherwise it’s going to drag your skin as you perform the exercises. You can google Gua Sha exercises for a full guide on how to do it (it’s very simple and takes a couple of minutes).
FAQ: When should I do this? Add this into your skin care regime, after you’ve cleansed and applied serum, but before SPF and moisturiser.
Daily Smoothie + Vitamins
I am not someone who loves to mix their nutrition up, I prefer consistency especially during the week, because thinking of new food ideas just adds more thoughts to my already busy mind so I love to have a staple breakfast that I have every single day that provides me with protein, carbohydrates and all of my essential vitamins in addition to extra vital supplementation.
FAQ: What is your daily smoothie?
I am living for Free Soul Chocolate Vegan Protein, it tastes delightful, so thick and creamy unlike most chocolate proteins which taste like dishwater. I add half a banana, 1tbsp Glutamine, lots of ice, and I use oat milk, but you can use any milk you prefer.
FAQ: What is Glutamine and why do you use it?
L-Glutamine is an amino acid, conventionally known for preserving muscle, but also a fantastic supplement for improving gut health and strengthening the gut lining, therefore creating a more ‘robust’ gut. Therefore, less bloating and stomach issues.
FAQ: Which vitamins do you use?
Non-negotiable vitamins for me are, Multivitamin, Omega-3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Acidophilus
Secondary vitamins that I love to take to optimise my health are; Magnesium before bed, Ginkgo Biloba for brain health, collagen sachets added to my decaf coffee.
FAQ: Do I need all those vitamins, can’t I just take a multivitamin?
No, you do not need all of the additional vitamins, but it would be unrealistic to say that we get enough vitamins through diet alone to optimise our health and well-being. Multivitamins are a blend of many vitamins, however as women and if we’re living in colder climates, we will need more than the ‘average recommended dose’ - however it’s important that you consume any vitamins or supplements at your own discretion and if you are uncertain, consult a professional before taking additional vitamins and supplementation.
Our tongues hold so much bacteria which can be linked to poor oral health. Tongue scrapers can remove up to 79% more bacteria than brushing alone. Poor oral health has been linked to poor brain health, and as someone who is wildly passionate about taking care of my brain, this is a non-negotiable for me.
FAQ: How do you use it? Simply floss, brush your teeth, then scrape your tongue using a metal tool, rinse with each scrape until your tongue no longer has any residue remaining other than normal clear saliva. Use it twice daily when brushing your teeth.
FAQ: Which one should I purchase? Any metal tongue scraper will suffice such as this one
Journaling is one of my favourite tools for understanding my thoughts, reflecting, and self expression.
FAQ: When should I journal and how long for? I recommend a daily practice, for a few minutes up to however long it takes you to write what you need to. There is not ‘magic’ amount of time to journal.
FAQ: What do I write? Set an intention before you open your journal, what do you want to get out of it that day? Do you want to write your to-do list? Want to write about a recent conflict with your partner? Want to write a positivity log? Maybe just the emotion you’re most feeling right now? It really doesn’t matter what you write about, it’s personal to you, at that moment. The more you journal, the more natural it will become when you put pen to paper.
FAQ: What if I’m not good at it or can’t think of anything to write? There is no right or wrong way to journal, it’s simply the concept of putting words to paper. If you struggle with what to write, you can google journal prompts to help guide you, or my favourite is writing a list or a few words about how I’m feeling this could look like “stressed, overwhelmed, confused” for example, then I would spend time asking myself ‘why am I feeling stressed right now?’ and then try to answer those questions on paper. Each time you do this you will become more aware of why you’re feeling the way you are, and if you do wish to find a solution, you can do so now that you’ve pinpointed the cause.
FAQ: Which journal should I buy? Again, it’s personal to you. But, I personally do not enjoy the heavily promoted journals, I find them both overpriced and not useful especially as a beginner. I would recommend a plain page per day journal, you can always buy a plain notebook for longer journal logs. Having a blank canvas allows your thoughts to flow more freely vs a promoted journal that asks you what your 5 year goals are when all you want to do is journal about how you’re feeling in that present moment. I use this journal, and have done since January 2021!
Hot + Cold Therapy
One of my FAVOURITE self care and wellness rituals has to be hot and cold therapy, this is essentially a sauna followed by a cold plunge. The contrast in temperatures is incredible for the central nervous system, inflammation, endorphins and the immune system.
FAQ: How long for each? I spend 15 minutes in the sauna, followed by a cold plunge for 3-5 minutes. I will then repeat this process 2-3 times (time dependent)
FAQ: What if I do not have access to a sauna and/or cold plunge? Check if your gym has a sauna as most leisure clubs do, or see if you can access a local facility. Unfortunately, you cannot replicate a sauna at home unless you have something like a sweat blanket or suit, which are not identical as saunas help with your breathing and cardiovascular functioning but they will certainly make you sweat, they are just not so cost effective! For cold therapy, again some gyms will have a cold plunge (such as David Lloyds) you can also find local facilities (mostly in London) that have cold plunges available since the rise in popularity amongst the health and wellness community. Alternatively, lake/ocean plunges will suffice (granted you live in close proximity to one). But lastly, and the more accessible option is a cold bath or shower, feel free to create an ice bath that you can submerge yourself in for no less than 3 minutes (if you struggle with the time, ease your way up to the 3 minute mark, do not give up, keep pushing you time), or, simply take an ice cold shower, which will be more difficult to sustain the temperature as it is not evenly distributed, my favourite hack for cold showers is having the water hit my chest to stimulate the vagus nerve which is responsible for regulating our CNS.
If you follow me closely on social media you’ll know I haven’t touched a drop of caffeinated coffee since April 2023 when I was forced to remove it from my day during a health and wellness retreat and haven’t since looked back. We all love a cup of coffee, myself included, which is why if I do have coffee it will be strictly decaf only, even heavily caffeinated sodas have gone from my life. The reason for this, was because I was finally able to see the negative impact that caffeine had on both my mind and body after removing it, I did have one small coffee after removing for 4 days and I could not believe how terrible it made me feel, making it a very easy transition to a caffeine free life. I will add, I would have most definitely found this difficult had I attempted the detox/removal in the midst of a busy daily life, so my advice would be to try and remove coffee/caffeine whilst travelling or away from your usual regime where you may feel reliant on coffee.
FAQ - What do you drink instead? Decaf coffee if I desire the taste for it, herbal tea, lemon water, or decaf tea or turmeric lattes
FAQ - How differently does it make you feel? When I had the coffee after 4 days, I noticed I felt anxious and on edge for no reason, my heart rate was fast and therefore more adrenaline in my body, I had a cloudy head and stomach pains, and it made me realise, all of these things were a normal part of my day to day beforehand that I confused with ‘energy’. Caffeine is a stimulant and therefore will quicken your heart rate, do not mistaken that for energy.
FAQ - What can I expect if I remove caffeine from my diet? You will experience headaches for the first 24-48 hours, I found them to be extremely intense, and paracetamol didn’t really budge them. Because I was restricted and unable to even access coffee had I wanted to, I had to ride it out, so that would be my advice to you, expect a headache, but do not give in and have a cup of coffee. Once this passes, you will notice how much more natural energy you have. Change your perspective from ‘I need a cup of coffee’ to ‘I’m tired and need to get an earlier night’, if we have 7-8 hours of sleep, there shouldn’t be a need for stimulants. Understandably and if you have young children, this may not always be easy to achieve, so I would avoid trying to cut something out unless this is realistic for you to ensure you have consistent and high quality sleep to support you through this transition to a caffeine free life.
I hope you loved this blog and have more clarity on how to implement these rituals into your day to day life. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop me a DM over on Instagram @helenderbs