Daily Detoxification

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We are in the midst of major renovations at the moment, and this post was inspired by a conversation with my Mom about toxicity. When she expressed concern about all of the painting I was doing this week, I assured her that we were using the lowest VOC (volatile organic compound) paint I could find (Benjamin Moore Natura). Our conversation gave me pause, however. I try as much as possible to reduce our toxic load by consuming organic food, and using completely non-toxic body care and cleaning products that I have either made myself or sourced from a company I trust.

As I mentioned above our paint selection is the lowest toxicity that I have been able to find, and we are using eco-friendly products for our renovation wherever possible. That being said, while our personal choices are non-toxic, I fully recognize that we are still exposed to toxins on a daily basis – heavy perfume worn by people in the elevator, commercial cleaning products and air fresheners in public restrooms, gasoline fumes at the gas station, etc. I feel that detoxification practices are essential, given that zero toxicity is not an option.

When I say detoxification, I am not talking about seasonal or juice cleanses. Yes, these kinds of cleanses can be very beneficial – but they are not recommended, nor are they practical over long sustained periods of time. I have several gentle detox rituals that I like to incorporate on a regular basis, to reduce the toxic load my body is accumulating through day to day exposure. In an ideal world I would do all of these daily, however life being what it is (a wild and crazy adventure!) I tend to find that I am able to include some of these rituals daily, and all of them over the course of a week.

Daily Detox Rituals

Warm water with lemon:

I start my day with a 16oz cup of warm water, with the juice of half of an organic lemon (freshly squeezed, no green bottle shortcuts!) Adding lemon to my water first thing in the morning helps to create an alkaline balance in my body; while lemons are acidic in taste, they have an alkaline effect in your body. I often add a pinch of cinnamon (great for regulating blood sugar) or cayenne (wonderful for promoting blood circulation). Dr Axe has a fantastic blog post outlining the many benefits of lemon water here. I should add that drinking lots of water period, even without the added benefits of lemon juice or spices, helps with your natural detoxification process and is an excellent idea!

Sole water:

Sole water consists of large chunks of Himalayan sea salt placed in a glass jar and covered in filtered water. The salt saturates the water, creating a VERY strong brine that can be added to a large glass of water (my preferred ratio is 1 tsp per 16 oz of water). Sole water is wonderful first thing in the morning as it helps restore electrolytes and detoxify the body through helping to flush out heavy metals. Salt of Life is a wonderful Vancouver based company that carries rock crystals and smaller granules for either cooking or bathing. I am a big fan of the company after having the opportunity to chat with one of the owners on several occasions. I like to make my own electrolyte drink first thing in the morning by adding fresh squeezed lemon, a teaspoon of sole solution and a bit of sweetener to my mug (maple syrup, coconut nectar or honey are my favourite choices!)

Dry brushing:

I found out about dry brushing thanks to Meghan Telpner and Nadine Artemis. It is a wonderful technique that assists with lymphatic drainage, blood circulation and the reduction of cellulite. Dry brushing involves the use of a bristle brush to lightly brush (go figure!) your entire body, working in small circles or strokes upwards, in the direction of your heart. Dry brushing works really well just before getting into a bath or shower. I love to add a few drops of Living Libation’s Lymph Tonic to my dry brushing ritual, I find the blend of essential oils to be very uplifting and energizing, and feel good about the fact that this particular blend aids in detoxifying my lymphatic system! My favourite dry brush is the Body & Breast Brush, also by Living Libations; my skin is very sensitive and I find it is not overly abrasive. Nadine Artemis has a wonderful video on dry brushing here, if you would like a visual reference.

Tongue scraping:

I found out about tongue scraping thanks to some reading I did on Ayurvedic medicine. We are told to brush our teeth twice a day, however not a lot of attention is given to clearing debris off your tongue. A stainless steel or copper scraper is a wonderful way to keep your tongue clean, and can easily be incorporated into your tooth care ritual, as it takes only a few seconds to complete. My favourite tongue scraper is by Dr Tung; Upaya Naturals carries this model, along with a copper option here.

Oil pulling:

Oil pulling is another Ayurvedic practice that I use on a regular basis. Traditionally this is done with sesame oil, although coconut oil is another wonderful option. I find the solid texture of coconut oil challenging, so I prefer to melt it over low heat and then use it at room temperature. Or I use it in the summer, when coconut oil is liquid anyway. Coconut oil is promoted as a natural tooth whitener, although both types of oil help to eliminate bacteria in your mouth. You will notice after swishing the oil in your mouth for 5-20 minutes that it has turned milky in colour, this means that it is working and is a good sign! Be careful not to swallow any of the oil prior to disposing of it in your toilet or garbage can. Food Matters TV has a wonderful overview of the many benefits of oil pulling here.

Green Leafy Vegetables:

Popeye had a good thing going on – upping your intake of green leafy vegetables is very beneficial in maintaining a healthy acid/alkaline balance in your body, and to assist in the process of detoxification. There are so many different greens available at farmer’s markets, and they can be consumed in a variety of different ways. I love adding them to my smoothies, sautéing them in a bit of olive oil and garlic, making up kale chips or finely chopping whatever greens I have in the fridge and adding them to pretty much everything I make. Soups, stews, pasta sauce – they all work beautifully with the addition of a bit of green leafy goodness! Dried wheatgrass powder is another excellent option to add to smoothies for a detoxification boost.

Rebounding:

Another practice that I feel is incredibly beneficial when it comes to detoxification is using a rebounder. Otherwise known as a mini trampoline, a rebounder is beneficial for lymphatic health, helping to circulate toxins out of the body through gentle bouncing movements. There are tons of video sequences available on YouTube, if you would like something choreographed, however a gentle bounce for 10-20 minutes a day provides sufficient benefit without needing to bring out your inner gymnast. As an added bonus, the rebounder is a fabulous way to bring down excess kid energy during the witching hour, otherwise known as 3-5 pm every day! We parted with our rebounder when we left St John’s, but it is currently on my wish list as rebounding is a quick and easy, not to mention highly beneficial practice.

What are your favourite detoxification rituals? Are any of these techniques new to you, and if so are you going to give them a try?

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Doing More With Less

 

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A little over a year ago my husband and I made a momentous decision that completely changed our lives. While that may sound a bit dramatic, it is the absolute truth. What is so significant about this decision we made was that it required a huge amount of faith and trust on both of our parts. I am a planner, I have been pretty much since birth. I have lived from a fear perspective of having to micro manage and control everything, because only then did I feel safe. If I plan for something, and guard against every possible glitch, then I will be ok, right? The end result of this was a life that felt very tight and constricted. I didn’t realize how restricted I was, until I broke old patterns and discovered a new way of being.

I had a health crisis in March 2014 that I will be eternally grateful for as it forced me to take a long hard look at my life, and make some very necessary changes. My husband was in a transition period as well, we both did a lot of soul searching, and had some deep and meaningful conversations about what we wanted our life to look like. The end result of all of this soul searching was a leap of faith move across the country. We packed our kids in our Mazda 6 and embarked on a road trip from St John’s, NL to Victoria, BC. The car trip was a wild and crazy adventure, one we hope to repeat when my son is old enough to remember it.

When we made the decision to move we elected to let go of most of what we owned. This decision was motivated by a couple of things. We had no desire to pay to move all of our stuff so far, especially since we had already moved the majority of it to St John’s from Calgary in the first place. We also both felt that there had to be more to life than carting around a bunch of posessions, and were very keen to lighten the load.

I had spent over 4 years repeatedly shuffling and organizing everything in our almost 3,000 square foot house, but as soon as we made the decision to move something shifted within me and I was suddenly able to purge as I have never purged before. My husband worked on touch ups around the house while I listed or donated at least 3/4 of what we owned. I have never felt so liberated in my life, the more I let go, the lighter I felt. It was a beautiful experience, and also a humbling one as I was forced to face up to all of the possessions I had accumulated over the years. The worst part was, a lot of it was stuff I hardly ever used and had saved for a “what if” rainy day that never ended up happening. We coordinated a small moving truck for the items we didn’t want to bring with us and left with two medium suitcases, a kitchen box, stroller and bag of yoga gear in the trunk. We were on the road for over 2 months, and we found that what we brought was more than enough.

Prior to our move we had been doing a lot of reading about tiny homes, and were keen to try out a smaller space to see if this kind of lifestyle would work for our family. We decided to try it for a year, as an experiment of sorts, and rented an 869 square foot apartment when we arrived. I remember looking around our new space the day all of our boxes arrived thinking Oh My God, how are we going to make it all fit? We unpacked and did another massive round of purging, and found that everything we needed fit quite nicely in our new apartment. I am not sure I would have been able to do all of this even a year before, but having the motivation and a variety of great tools at my disposal got me to a space where it was finally possible to let go.

While on our road trip I discovered The Minimalists and read their book Everything That Remains, which proved to be a wonderful source of inspiration. Through The Minimalists blog I also found Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist site, along with Francine Jay’s Miss Minimalist. I began to better understand the environmental impact of a consumerist lifestyle, through Trash is For Tossers, among others. The more I read, the more it all made sense to me. I recently discovered Capsule Dressing, and purged my closet, thanks to Project 333. We are still letting go on an ongoing basis, living in a small space forces us to think long and hard before making new purchases. Does that mean I will never buy anything again? Of course not, but when I do make purchases they are very selective, and I try to support local and independent retailers as much as possible. Adopting a one in, one out policy with new purchases also helps to prevent the clutter monster from creeping in.

With three kids clutter does creep up quickly, but on the upside we can clean and vacuum our apartment in a half hour or less. I feel good about the values we are passing along to our kids, focusing on non-accumulation, and time spent rather than stuff. We live in close proximity to downtown and can walk everywhere, with the added benefit of having several parks and a swimming pool close by. My kids still have lots of toys and books, but we are now focussing on experience gifts and books on our kindle, or from the local library moving forward.

I was inspired to write this post today because it marks the closing date for our 839 square foot condo. Our one year experiment has become a lifestyle, a paradigm shift that has completely changed our relationship with possessions and accumulation. I am all about live and let live – just because we choose to do things in a certain way doesn’t mean it is the right choice for everyone. But after experiencing this for a year – and gaining a new perspective on the environmental impact of mass accumulation, I do believe an increased level of consciousness around purchases would be beneficial for everyone.

What is your take on downsizing? Do you think it is necessary – or desirable to have less stuff? What steps have you taken (if any) towards a more minimalist lifestyle?


Eco Friendly On The Go

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We absolutely love to travel with our kids – our cross country road trip last summer is a testament to that! One of my biggest pet peeves with travel is the amount of waste generated with eating out. When we did our road trip we brought along a kitchen box with a Vitamix, a couple of pots and pans, a cutting board, chef’s knife and induction burner hot plate. We found these items invaluable for making meals on the road – but there were often days when we were driving long distances and did not have the facilities available during the day to make our own meals. After watching Bag It with our kids a couple of years ago, we made it a family policy to eliminate consumption of throw away plastic bags, bottled water and to go coffee cups – and set the intention to try and eliminate our waste generation as much as possible. Thankfully there are many reusable products that help us achieve our goal while on the road. Here is a breakdown of some of our favourite eco friendly options for both short and long distance travel:

Drinks

Drinks

We have several options we love to use for hot and cold drinks – and soup, in a pinch! One of those options is the lifefactory glass water bottle. It comes encased in a silicone sleeve, which helps alleviate breakage when dropped. This is not foolproof – my son broke his last year, but we were able to order a glass bottle replacement and re-use the silicone sleeve. The bottles come in various sizes, we had our kids pick their favourite colour and all ordered the 16oz format. There are a few different places you can purchase them in Canada – online or in person at The Good Planet in Victoria, at Planet Organic in various locations across Canada, and online at Upaya Naturals. If you happen to live in the US you can order directly from the company here.

Another great water bottle option is the S’well stainless steel bottle. Available in a variety of different sizes and colours, the S’well bottle works well for both hot and cold beverages. It is a great option for little ones (like my son!) who are more prone to drop a glass bottle. These bottles are available at Mother Nature’s Market, The Good Planet store in Victoria, as well as several online retailers such as S’well.

For hot beverages, my husband and I love the Contigo West Loop Travel Mug. They also come in a variety of sizes and colours (we went again with the 16oz option) and are available at Amazon.ca and The Bay here in Canada, or via the company website in the US. Costco frequently carries their mugs in store as well. I love that they include a lock that allows you to put the mug in your bag without fear of spillage. Another option for the West Loop model that the tea drinker in me absolutely loves is the tea infuser. The top seals shut, and it comes with a drip cup, which means you can steep your tea without having tea leaves spill into your mug, and can reserve the leaves for a second steep once your first cup is done. The steeping cup also alleviates spills and drips, either at home or on the road. I have tried many different mugs over the years, and this is by far my favourite!

Utensils Straws Flatware and Napkins

Utensils, Straws, Tableware & Napkins

Throw away plastic cutlery makes me crazy. Whenever I see a plastic fork the image that pops into my head is this same fork sitting in a landfill for years, following a short lived usage time of maybe a half hour tops. I was so thrilled to find an eco-friendly alternative care of To-GoWare at The Good Planet store here in Victoria, also available online via Amazon.ca. Made of bamboo, the sets include a spoon, fork, knife AND a set of chopsticks, which is perfect for our family as we love Asian cuisine. The utensil set comes in a recycled PET plastic carrier bag, with a small caribiner hook which makes it easy to locate in a large bag. We each have a set, and bring them with us wherever we go.

We have almost completely eliminated our use of plastic straws, thanks to some fabulous metal and glass alternatives. While a glass straw may not seem all that travel friendly, most companies (Strawsome for example!) offer the option of a plastic case for travel. Yes, the case is plastic, but it is a multi use item that eliminates the need for plastic straws so at the end of the day I think it is more than worth it. You can find metal and glass straws at various stores around Victoria (Ingredients Market, The Good Planet) or online care of LifeWithoutPlastic and Upaya Naturals.

We purchased a couple of sets of stainless steel plates and bowls when our kids were small and had a tendency to throw things off their high chair. We now find them perfect for meals on the road. The cups we have we ordered via an EWG Christmas fundraiser, but you can find something similar, along with bowls and plates on lifewithoutplastic.

I have a couple of cloth napkins that I love to bring on trips, along with a set of reusable cloth towels that are the perfect alternative to paper towels, both at home and away. The cloth napkins we purchased come care of ECOlunchbox and I ordered the cloth “paper towels” on etsy here. They are super absorbent, and work well on the road too!

Food Storage

Food Storage

We have found many different food storage containers over the years, using metal, fabric and glass. A few of our favourites are as follows:

One of my favourite storage containers are mason jars. We use them to store all of our dry goods, as well as any leftovers we might have at home. They can be used as drink containers, and Be Love and Cafe Bliss here in Victoria use them for take out drinks (with a discount if you bring your mason jar back for your next take out order). I love that companies are now taking this initiative! Mason jars are a great option for food storage, at around $13-$16 dollars per dozen.

Lunchbots have put out wonderful stainless steel containers, perfect for lunch on the go. They offer a few different sizes and options for separate compartments, for snacks like hummus and veg or crackers. They are a wonderful option for work or school lunches, and can be found on Amazon.ca.

Sanctus Mundo makes wonderful stainless steel containers in a variety of sizes. I love the large format for ordering lunches out (location permitting) and for picnics with friends. Smaller formats are perfect for dressings or sauces either at home or away. You can find them online in Canada here.

I love all of the glass storage containers now available. Anchor makes a good product, in a variety of different shapes and sizes. You can find them at Canadian Tire, in store or online. Costco also carries Glasslock products, which are another great option.

Reusable shopping, snack and produce bags

Reusable Shopping, Snack and Produce Bags

My favourite company for eco friendly shopping bags is Envirosax. Their bags are durable, fold down to a small, easily transportable size (perfect for a purse of diaper bag) and come in a variety of funky prints. The compact nature of these bags has saved me from a run back to the car mid grocery shop and/or carrying epic piles of groceries in my arms thanks to having forgotten my bundle of reusable bags in the car. You can find them in many eco friendly stores, or online with shipping to Canada here or in the US via the company website.

My favourite produce and dried goods (beans, grains etc.) bags are carebags . They can be found at the Market on Yates in Victoria, or online here. While companies like The Bulk Barn insist on using their own plastic bags, many grocery stores and independent markets are happy to have you use these for bulk items instead. They are our go-to for produce items as well. As an extra added benefit these bags can be used to strain nut or seed milk in a pinch! Definitely a win-win scenario.

I love lined cloth snack bags with a Velcro or zipper seal for trail mix, sandwiches or crackers on the go. You can purchase them on etsy care of mamamade (convenient if you have decided to try the cloth towels as well) or via companies like KeepLeaf or Colibri. I see variations on this theme at a lot of the farmer’s markets I frequent, which is wonderful as you can’t get more local than that!

The price point for a lot of these items is high, however their durability and ability to re-use them over time brings the lifetime cost down considerably. The positive environmental impact, and reduction of plastics being sent to the landfill are also important considerations to take into account.

What are your favourite re-usable containers and eco-fiendly travel options?


Popsicle Trio

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Nothing says summer quite like a popsicle, especially the home made variety. I am not a huge fan of conventional popsicles; I have done quite a bit of research into artificial flavours and colours and am simply not comfortable putting all of that junk in my body (and more importantly, the bodies of my kids).

I still remember getting popsicles as a kid, I was always asked if I wanted an orange one, a pink one or a purple one. This could be because colour coding simplified the whole process, but I always felt the flavours were just a vague approximation of the fruit they were supposed to resemble, so this was more fitting somehow. Here in Victoria we are lucky enough to have gorgeous artisanal popsicle makers at Kid Sister, which we are known to frequent, especially when days are hot and everyone is clamouring to get outside.

I think the most important argument for home made popsicles is the enjoyment of coming up with a recipe, and then making them together. My daughters get very creative in the kitchen, my eldest recently came up with a special tea involving strawberries and mint – which would incidentally also make an excellent popsicle. It is a great way to make use of fresh summer fruit – and flex your creative juices at the same time. I love to see what kinds of crazy combinations we can come up with, using ingredients we excavate from the fridge or our CSA box.

All of the popsicles pictured above were made using a Zoku Popsicle Maker; I was disappointed by the small capacity (3 popsicles at a time for a family of 5 doesn’t work so well) and the extensive re-freezing time for the unit had me return to the tried but true old school metal popsicle moulds for a second batch of the Basil Lemonade Popsicles.

Here are three quick and simple popsicle recipes that we have made and thoroughly enjoyed over the past few weeks:

Watermelon Popsicle with Lime and Smoked Sea Salt

1 small seedless watermelon
1/8 tsp smoked sea salt
1/2 lime, juiced

I went simple with this recipe prep, and mixed watermelon chunks with the sea salt and lime juice in my Vitamix. I then poured the mixture through a mesh strainer, for a smoother consistency and poured the finished juice into my Popsicle moulds.

Smoked sea salt is a beautiful compliment to the sweetness of the watermelon and the tanginess of the lime – I was really happy with how this turned out!

Mojito Popsicle

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup filtered water
Small handful fresh mint
3 small cucumbers
4-6 limes (about 1/2 cup lime juice)

Combine the coconut sugar and filtered water over low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.

While the simple syrup is cooking, juice the mint, cucumbers and limes (without the peel). If you don’t have a juicer, you can blend the mint, cucumber and peeled lime in a blender and strain it through a fine mesh colander, nut sack or cheesecloth.

Whisk together the fresh juice and simple syrup, and let the mixture cool to room temperature before pouring it into your popsicle moulds.

Basil Lemonade Popsicle

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup filtered water
1 small handful basil
4 small lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup juice)
Filtered water to make up 2 cups liquid

As above, combine the coconut sugar and filtered water over low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat, and add the basil, allowing it to steep for a couple of minutes in the simple syrup.

Process the basil simple syrup and lemon juice in a blender, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Pour into popsicle moulds to set.

Depending on how many popsicle moulds you have, you may or may not have leftover liquid. All of these popsicle bases work really well combined with sparkling water for a cool and refreshing summer beverage.

What is your favourite popsicle recipe? I am always looking for new recipes to try and would love to hear all about it below!


The Importance of Self Care

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I have a confession to make – I am a recovering type “A”. I have spent most of my life juggling multiple balls in the air, trying to be all things to all people and to do everything in exactly the right way so that no one could possibly find fault. Quite frankly this way of being is exhausting. A couple of years ago I got wise to the fact that perhaps this wasn’t the best thing for my health and sanity. It took even more time to come around to the fact that taking time for rest and relaxation was not decadent or lazy but rather a vital component of bringing my stress level down and living a healthy life.

Over the past few years I have found a number of self care practices that have helped me find and maintain equilibrium, but a work trip of my husband’s compounded with big life events that were both wonderful and highly emotionally exhausting led me to burn out. I have started to build myself back up and fill the well by adding many of these practices back into my daily routine. Notice how I said “many” and not “all.” I purchased a copy of Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo’s excellent Reform Your Inner Mean Girl book a few months ago, and the top of my list was “Doing Addict.” No big surprise there. One of the first things I decided to do when I recognized that I had reached burn out was to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. Single point focus (I guess another word for this would be the omnipresent “mindfulness”) has done wonders in allowing me to remain calm and not get into a spin. I can’t get as much done, but to be honest for the first time in my life I am ok with that.

Here is a list of my favourite self care practices. In an ideal world I would do all of them, daily, but in the spirit of truly reforming my type “A” tendencies I am only committing myself to a few of these practices every day.

Tapping (aka EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique)

I discovered EFT through a Tapping Solution Summit several years ago. I have fallen in love with the technique, and find it works wonders to help me regain equilibrium when I am struggling with stress, anxiety or worry. I use it with my kids as well; my daughter asks for it if she is feeling upset or anxious. Nick and Jessica Ortner head up the Tapping Solution website, and also published an incredible book by the same name, which you can find here. The book includes a link to a morning and evening stress reduction tapping sequence that I absolutely love. I notice a huge difference in my sleep and general stress level when I use it on a daily basis. At 20 minutes each, the sequences are do-able, even with a busy schedule.

A Solitary Walk

I love my kids so much, and am so thrilled to have made the choice to spend my days with them. That being said I am putting a lot of my time and energy into caring for others, and I quickly notice when this starts taking a toll on me. Being able to get outside by myself for a half hour walk down by the waterfront, or in a park makes all the difference. I come home refreshed and recharged – and am a better parent and partner because of it.

Meditation

The word meditation can elicit lots of different ideas and images. Sitting quietly with no one to engage with other than yourself can be a daunting proposition. But the payoff is huge. I have tried so many different styles of meditation, all with their own benefits, but I find myself coming back to silent meditation. I love Michael Stone’s Meditation App, I set a custom meditation for a minimum of 5 minutes, with a bell ringing every minute. I love a fully silent meditation, but find the bell helps me bring my mind back into focus when it starts to wander.

A Warm Cup of Tea

With to do lists a mile long, I often find it challenging to allow myself to stop. The ritual of boiling the kettle, taking a few minutes to let the tea steep and then sitting down to enjoy it goes a long ways towards helping my nervous system calm down. I am not sure that the tea itself is as important as the ritual of slowing down enough to enjoy it – however I do have some great tea recommendations that help engage a relaxation response. I love the Lullaby and Angelwater teas from Silk Road, as well as the Relaxing Blend from Harmonic Arts. I love to brew up a pot of Oatstraw tea, it was recommended to me by a health care provider several years ago and in addition to enjoying the taste I also appreciate it’s many stress relieving benefits.

Fiction

I have had a flourishing love affair with novels, well pretty much since birth. Unfortunately I often let reading for fun fall by the wayside, as I tend to focus on more technical books that are related to health and wellness. I have made the decision to carve out time each week to read whatever I want, something that is NOT on a required (or even recommended) reading list. It feels decadent and delicious, much like a slice of chocolate cashew cheesecake. Which is also good for engaging the relaxation response!

A “Relaxing Bath”

My daughter coined the term “relaxing bath” after I added some Epsom salts and lavender essential oil to her bath. I try to fit in a relaxing bath whenever I can, adding Epsom salts, frankincense & lavender essential oils along with some baking soda and apple cider vinegar for a detox bath if I am feeling fancy.

Exercise

When I am busy and stressed out the last thing I feel like doing is exercise. But I have begun to re-framed how I view it, not as something I have to do, but rather as something I want to do because it nourishes my body and my spirit. Most importantly I have found forms of exercise that I genuinely enjoy doing. With all of the options out there, there’s no need to push yourself to do something you really don’t like. I will be following this up later with a blog post specifically on some of the forms of exercise I love doing, but for now let it suffice to say that finding a form of exercise you enjoy doing is soul food in and of itself!

Dr Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Breath Technique

Some days are crazy, and sometimes this simple technique is all I have time for. It is an excellent tool to use when you are in a highly charged, stressful situation (screaming kids, a rude driver, etc.) I love how quick and easy it is to use – and it can be done anytime, anywhere. For a breakdown on how to execute this breath sequence you can check out the video here.

Massage

In an ideal world it would be fantastic to book regular massages with a professional masseuse. If your time or budget doesn’t allow for this, then partner or self massage is a wonderful option. Hands and feet tend to be the most neglected body parts, which is why they are two areas I love to focus on. I love using a combination of sea buckthorn best skin ever or coconut oil with a few drops of lavender and frankincense essential oil.

Gratitude Ritual

Cultivating gratitude is such a beautiful practice. I posted about our Nightly Tea Ritual with our kids a few months ago, and I find that I really miss it on the nights when we don’t manage to fit it in. In addition to our family ritual, I find that cultivating my own gratitude practice is a beautiful from of self care. It allows me to switch to a more positive mindset, where I can appreciate what I have rather than focusing on what I feel I still need or want.

Card Ritual

I have a couple of card decks I love to select a daily card from. I find the practice of sitting and reflecting allows me to slow down and tune into my intuition in a way I am not able to when I am constantly rushing around. A couple of my favourite decks include Gabrielle Bernstein’s Miracles Now, Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Love Notes and pretty much any deck by Toni Carmine Salerno.

I know there is a lot on this list; trying to do all of it every day would be a major undertaking. But as I said above even incorporating a few of these practices will go a long ways towards helping maintain a sense of equilibrium.

What are your favourite self care practices? I am always looking for inspiration and would love to know what you do to take care of yourself.