self care, salt lamp, house plant, candle, selfcare,

Self Care Shopping List

Self care is an evergreen topic for me. I am wildly passionate about nurturing myself. It’s also wildly important In the self development realm; if we want to grow we HAVE to first take care of ourselves. 

Self care is essential but it’s also been twisted into a marketing scheme. I have a centering question I like to use before making a purchase in the name of self care – ready for it? 

How does this NURTURE me? 

I treat myself like a seed. Is this something that helps me grow and blossom? Does it bring me joy? Am I just purchasing it because I’ve been fed a lie that it will fill my cup? 

These questions prevent me from spending stupid amounts of money on bath bombs that give me hives or face masks that break me out. Ask yourself these questions and really noodle before making a purchase in the name of self care. 

That being said – I have accumulated a little (lot) of items that help me fill my cup. I’m listing and linking them below BUT before purchasing please ask yourself that key question – how does this nurture me? My personal favorites may not be yours.

*All Amazon images and links below are affiliate links.

Apps & Tools 

CALM 

I love meditating. I also SUCK at it when I need it the most. So I use guided meditations. I prefer the Calm app and have used it for years but I know a lot of people love Headspace or find youtube meditations to do. Best of all, you can find a lot of these for free!

Journal 

I try to take at least 5 minutes each day to journal. Sometimes it’s a gratitude list. Some days it’s just whatever weird dreams or thoughts I’ve had. Some days it’s simply what happened. I let myself write whatever I feel like and try really hard not to judge it. Getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper is life changing.

Puzzles & Puzzle Mat 

For me, a really good way to check in with myself is to get totally immersed in the moment and a good way to get present is to work on something that is hard for me. I suck at puzzles. I cannot multitask and work on a puzzle. Because I absolutely suck at puzzles I have a puzzle mat that I can roll up when I’m not using it. This is the one I use and I love it. I’ve been working on the same 1000 piece Golden Girls puzzle for almost a year now and this mat made that possible.

Bath Stuff!

Baths are BIG in the self care industry and I wholeheartedly support the idea IF the baths are done with intention. Self care is less about what you do and more about how you do it. 

Bath Caddy 

I usually surround myself with candles, books and random crystals that I think will make me feel better. I also ALWAYS have water with me in the tub (we don’t want to overheat and dehydrate in there). This is the bath caddy I use but there are so many options!

Bath Pillow 

When I take a bath I move into the tub. My apartment tub is wildly uncomfortable so I use this cushy friend to keep my back supported while I binge read or stare at the ceiling (both valid forms of self care).

Bath Salts 

No, not the Florida man kind. A big part of my day to day self care is exercise but because of this I end up with sore muscles a lot. Epsom salt baths are ideal because they are aromatic and helpful for my sore and tight muscles. I like scents like mint or eucalyptus because they are relaxing but non-drowsy. I personally get too sleepy with lavender scents.

Bubbles! 

Bubbles bring me joy. They are FUN. As a kid I would pretend they were snow and as an adult they bring my inner child so much joy.

Scents, Incense, Oils or Bath Sprays  

I like to use rose spray when I take a bath (or in the middle of the day to add a little energy back). You might have a different scent that brings you joy. I personally LOVE the strawberry incense linked below. Find one and keep it around to add zest back into your day.

Dry Brush 

I’m a big fan of pre-bath dry brushing. It helps clear your dead skin, supposedly helps reduce cellulite (no clue if that’s actually true or not nor do I think trying to get rid of it is a worth while endeavor) and it helps your lymphatic system. The key to dry brushing is to always brush towards your heart. I like to use it to visualize brushing the energy of the day off and then move to the tub to clean it all away but do what works for you.

Homewares & Comfort 

Self care as an everyday activity can be as small as putting on your favorite slippers or turning on your salt lamp before bed. 

Salt Lamp 

This is my mood setting piece providing friend. I’ve had it for a couple years and I love it. I have no idea if it actually does anything BUT when I see the soft glow of it I feel relaxed and a little more zen.

Candles 

Lighting a candle changes my mood instantly. I use different candles for different moods. Scents are a personal decision but if you aren’t usually a candle person I recommend starting with one with little to no scent. You can always burn unscented candles with others to set the mood. 

Word of advice – don’t light too many scented candles at the same time. Sensory overload.

Metal Straw 

If I want to feel fancy I drink out of a wine glass. Assuming it’s not actually wine, I usually use a straw. I recommend this practice if you need to give yourself a mid day moment of luxury. Metal, glass, any sort of reusable straw is ideal. Here is one of my favorites.

Robe & Slippers 

Getting cozy is self care for me. Feeling cozy is comforting and safe so I like to snuggle into a blanket with arms (or robe) and some slippers. I have day time summer slippers and nighttime Uggs because I am dedicated to the cozy cause but once again – it’s all up to you. 

Slippers: Cheap, comfy and wonderful for day time wear

Slippers: UGGs too comfy for their own good and for my wallet 

Robe 

I invested in comfort a couple years back and have no regrets. I adore my UGG robe. It’s like wearing a blanket.

Honorable mention goes to my patio garden! 

Self care is taking moments for yourself and setting intentions to fill your own cup. Growing my plants has been my favorite act of self care during quarantine. If you have never grown anything from seeds I highly recommend this. It has been SO EXCITING to check on them everyday. If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed that I dance and sing to my plants almost daily. I’ll link the post with all my patio items here for you. 

Not a plant person? Self care can be making something from scratch (like bread), trying something new, getting involved in social activism to nurture yourself and the world you want to live in.

Contrary to this post, stuff is not self care. Keep trying new things until you find what works for you. 

Take care!

But Really Though, I’m doing Sober October (kind of)

Happy Sober October friends!

If you are not a millennial and have no idea what Sober October is, all you need to know is that people have made a hashtag out of not drinking for the month of October.

The purpose of being sober differs for everyone but the hashtag allows participants to motivate one another and hold themselves accountable. I am unintentionally participating in Sober October because a couple months ago Brenton and I cut back on drinking. We went from drinking on a Friday or Saturday night to grabbing a drink with a friend maybe once a month. We did this because we realized that alcohol wasn’t doing us any good. As much as I love a nice glass of wine (and will still enjoy the occasional glass) cutting back on drinking has benefited me in multiple ways. I wanted to share those benefits with you just in case you needed that extra motivation to take an alcohol break. 

Reduced Anxiety

As someone with generalized anxiety I’ve learned that alcohol (and caffeine) are some of my worst triggers. Having a couple glasses of wine can take me from having a good time to worrying about the wildest things. I recently learned that having enough alcohol to feel like you had a drink the next morning (even if you aren’t hungover) can escalate anxiety for another 7 days. So while we were drinking two glasses of wine once a week I was basically escalating my anxiety and letting it simmer back down just to bring it back up again. Eliminating alcohol has not *fixed* my anxiety by any stretch of the imagination but it has helped reduce triggers. An added bonus is now that I don’t get drunk, I don’t get hangovers which means I no longer get anxiety induced shame-overs (if you don’t know what a shame-over is consider yourself lucky). 

Better Sleep 

I am awful at falling asleep. If I keep my sleep hygiene impeccable I still struggle to fall asleep at night. Adding alcohol to this mix was not helping. The nights we drank we usually stayed up later which caused me to sleep in the next morning breaking my normal bedtime/wake time routine. By cutting out alcohol I’ve been able to get myself in bed WAY before midnight every night and I wake up within an hour or two of my normal weekday wake time. 

Time Management

I honestly did not realize I wasted SO much time drinking and watching TV. We would get stuck in these mindless TV rabbit holes until the early hours of the morning. Now that I am able to keep myself to my weekday wakeup time I’m immensely more productive during the weekend. Eliminating alcohol has changed how I spend my free time and so far that allowed me to tap into my more creative side, work on personal passion projects and be conscious about my veg time. 

*Honorable mention to my skin clearing up. Now I’m not saying I’ll never drink again.

Honestly, I still have the occasional glass of wine or margarita if I feel like it but so far the pros of not drinking outweigh the cons. As someone who doesn’t drink at work events I can promise you that in a healthy work environment no one will care or notice if you decide to skip the booze and go for a soft-drink or water. So, even if you’re a few days late to the party – are you giving Sober October a try? 

Diet Culture & Why I Will Never go on Another Diet

Diets are a lie fed to us by diet culture telling us that we are no more than what we look like under the guise of being “healthy”. Unless you are on a diet for a health concern that a licensed professional has determined is the best option for you, diets are not healthy.  

What is Healthy?

We all have our own interpretations of what healthy looks. By definition, health is a combination of physical, mental, social, and emotional wellbeing. Yet, we often refer to people as looking healthy or unhealthy based on size. Size is not an indicator of health it’s just a factor of genetics, priviledge, and other variables, This is fatphobia and it is a product of diet culture. As a fatphobic society we take our fatphobia a step further and inaccurately associate health with diets. 

Since society skips the holistic approach and tries to determine health based off physical appearance, the wellness industry has fed us diet culture to keep us wanting more. We all want to look “healthy” (skinny, abs, thin). The diet industry convinces us that we just need to try their products to become the epitome of health. 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you ever Googled “Healthy Diet”? The first thing that comes up is a WebMD article titled “11 Simple Steps to a Healthy Diet”. All this article does is encourage you to swap “bad” food like mayo for “healthier” options like mustard. A food swap won’t make you any healthier, but it will create a mental boundary around a food you may actually enjoy potentially harming your mental health. This is diet culture in action. It tells us we have to only eat “good” foods and exercise everyday. Having a little mayo on your sandwich may not be the best for your physical health but it might be perfect for your mental health. Diet culture feeds off our desire for health but it assumes that we only care about our physical well being. 

Fit Tea and Diet Culture

To make things even worse, stars buy in to diet culture. They feed their fans the lie of diet culture in the form of detox teas or flat-tummy tea. The diet industry loves our insecurities around our tummys and make $64 billion dollars a year off of us.

So let’s all take a minute and say “screw you diet culture.” I will no longer contribute to the BILLIONS diet culture makes off of a lie about the definition of health. If you want to eat whole wheat bread, eat it! If you want to go on a run, run! If you want to stretch on the floor while watching tv, do it! If you want to watch Veronica Mars and eat popsicles, have at it! Just make sure you are doing it because it contributes to your health holistically and not just on attribute. I love movement, fitness and nutritious foods but we are all more than our bodies. Are you ready to quit caving in to diet culture and start living a truly healthy life? I am. 

I’m Ditching Diet Culture

I’ve made a major fitness mistake; I’ve been actively participating in diet culture.

Dietician Christy Harrison defines diet culture as a system of beliefs that worships thinness, promotes weight loss, demonizes certain foods and oppresses people that don’t match others picture of health. Diet culture is an oppressive fatphobic, food-phobic system. It teaches us that juice cleanses, 1200 calorie diets and excessive macro tracking are the only ways to be happy in your body. Diet culture is a joy thief. 

As someone who loves exercise and the fitness industry, I have fallen hard into the clutches of diet culture. I tried to become a booty builder and eat 1gram of protein per body weight. Then, I followed all the fitspo’s and copied their diets. Debated going vegan just to be part of the vegan body-builder movement. I #mealprepped and yet, none of it ever made me happier. Movement improved my mood but obsessing over what or when I ate never made my life feel full; instead it made eating in to a chore. 

Anti Diet Influencers

I’ve been sitting with this uncomfortable feeling towards diets trying to determine my next move.  It wasn’t until I saw one of my favorite booty builders Madalin Giorgetta go anti-diet culture that I realized I needed to dig deeper into this. Sad to say but it wasn’t until I saw an influencer, who had made most of her fame off of the fitness industry and being conventionally pretty (that I love and follow), throw it all away for this message. Her willingness to shake up her life for this message encouraged me to dismantle diet culture. Through her influence I realized that I have thin privilege. I will never be rejected from a job for being too fat. As someone with this privilege I need to use voice to speak out against diet culture and fatphobia. 

This sounds like a mission so to frame learning experience I’ve tasked myself with answering these questions: 

  • What does health/wellness mean? And why do we associate diets with health?
  • Why are we afraid of “fat”? What does fatphobia look like in our everyday lives?
  • Is body neutrality better than body positivity? 

Want to come on this journey with me? Let me know in the comments. 

But Really Thought Tries – Barry’s Bootcamp

I love to dabble in fitness classes. When I lived in SB I took Barre classes all the time but since the move I haven’t been frequenting the studios. I’m currently opting for a weight lifting gym sessions during the week. I’ve started to get a bit bored so I decided to expand my fitness horizons and take up classes again. Recently, this has taken the form of a tumbling class, which has the added bonus of rekindling my love for gymnastics

The cardio queen in me was feeling a bit underwhelmed by all this lifting and flipping so on Saturday morning, so I dragged B to the hardest cardio I could think of – a Barry’s Bootcamp class.

Barrys Image 1
Cardio Queens Unite 

Barry’s Bootcamp is self-described as a high-intensity interval workout (think HIIT) with “killer music” and “signature red lights”.  Upon arrival, we were eagerly greeted at the front desk, were given a locker and met the instructor. The instructor talked us through the workout split as the class requires specific moves to be performed at specific intervals/timing. We started on the floor with resistance bands and weights, then we moved to the treadmill, then back to the floor for arm, then off to the treadmills we went to finish the class.

Barrys Image 2
In my head this is what the red lights looked like…in reality they were just red light bulbs instead of white. 

Highlights included:

  • The treadmill and and the single touch option to switch incline/speed
  • The red lights
  • Full length mirrors to check form

I truly enjoyed the class but it was insanely challenging. I know that fitnesses classes work for me because someone else provides the rules. It’s easier to slack when I pick the pace for my HIIT so having someone tell me what to put the treadmill on and for how long prevents me from cheating myself.

I will definitely be taking another class at Barry’s but I will not be doing their recommended 3-5 classes a week. I love that the class gave me workout inspiration and I can now create a similar workout for myself at the gym (saving me a cool $40 per class).

Have you tried Barry’s? Did you love it or is it not for you?

Flirtations in Fitness: Trying New Workouts

I’m bored. Not with my job, friends or life – no, I’m bored with my workouts. My boredom has lead to a lack of fitness motivation that nearly rivals my former lifestyle choices with my main man Dom(inos).  

Luckily, I haven’t let this boredom completely deter me from my running/lifting schedule but it has made waking up in the morning to get my workout in damn near impossible. Because of this consistent boredom I decided to shake things up. Over the last month I have tried out multiple public and home fitness programs. I’ve officially gone from bored to sore. Below are my thoughts on the programs I’ve tried.

barre3
Image belongs to barre3.com

Barre3

Barre3 is a cardio and strength building class that takes place in what looks like a ballet studio. Since I assumed, from the look of the room, that this class would be mostly ballet with some mat work I decided to take this class on a lunch break. Barre3 is nothing like ballet. Barre3 is the hardest cardio class I have taken to date. The entire hour is filled with upbeat pop music. I started sweating about three minutes in and left drenched. The lunchtime class crew was beyond friendly. The instructor took the time to make sure I understood the moves and it was the most enjoyable cardio I have ever done. The downside to Barre3, like most workout studios, is the price. Even though the class was $22 I will definitely be taking advantage of their new student deals and buying myself a class pass.

 

 

cardiobarre

CardioBarre

I walked into my beginner CardioBarre class thinking it would be a lot like Barre3. Once again, my assumption was amiss. CardioBarre is taught by former dancers, making it slightly lower energy and insanely more difficult on my calves. The relives killed me!  The studio is carpeted but beyond that is the same as a true dance studio. The CardioBarre studio I went to had a slightly less fun loving attitude about it than Barre3 but what it lacked in energy it made up for in strength training. I would highly recommend CardioBarre to any former dancers, like myself, who want to get a good workout in while triggering nostalgia of their dancer days. The only negative about CardioBarre is that the beginner class was insanely difficult; I would be terrified to try the advanced class. Or I am horribly out of shape. It’s probably the latter.

 

 

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Don’t these abs inspire you? They inspire me!!!  Image from Pao’s Fit World. 

SSBM by Paola Marquez

SSBM is an acronym for “Strong & Sexy Body Method” a guide by Paola Marquez. I have Paola’s guide as an ebook on my phone and there is only a one time fee of $69.98 to purchase the book.  The pro to the ebook is that you can click on the assigned moves from the workout and watch Paola demonstrate the moves. The workouts vary between HIIT training and light weight training. The plan is for 6 days a week with 5 days of planned workouts and a sixth day of LISS cardio. This workout plan is good for those who want to start light weight training and need help on where to begin. The workouts are succinct and definitely work, but by week 3 I was beyond bored of the workout style. I still use these workouts to supplement my usual routine and for days when I don’t want to lift heavy.

 

 

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Actual footage of me trying to keep up in CardioBarre and Barre3 – at least I’m having fun! 

I’m insanely proud of myself for turning to new workouts instead of the couch. Its super important to love your workout, or at least enjoy it, to stay motivated. This little experiment has reminded me that I do really well in group fitness classes and I am more likely to challenge myself when I feel like people are watching me. My competitive side has come back out along with my new love of Barre classes. Although, this former ballerina is still getting her ass kicked in them.

What are some of the ways you get out of a fitness rut? What are some of the fitness classes you’ve tried?  I’m thinking kickboxing may be next on my list. Self-defense and a workout in one sounds like a bargain!