How to Create an at Home Self-Care Routine That Won’t Break the Bank

Self-Care: It’s NOT Selfish

by | Jan 17, 2018

Have you ever felt like you would love to take some time and give yourself a retreat at a day spa or other retreat center but you don’t do it because it either feels out of reach financially or you feel like you don’t have the time? If so, and if you can find an hour – just one hour – to spare for yourself, then you are in the right place.

What is self-care anyway?  I believe that it is the decision to do things for yourself as a means to live your most joyful life. It’s taking care of yourself not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.  We are all busy.

We all have stress in our lives. I propose that we step away from glorifying that and recognize that to be able to do for others, we first have to give back to ourselves.

Indulging yourself doesn’t have to be complicated!

It is possible to create a simple and cost effective self-care experience for yourself in the comfort and convenience of your own home.  The routine below will explore various forms of self-care including:

  • Centering Breathwork
  • Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Self Massage (with or without aromatherapy*)
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

*Please Note: If you choose to add aromatherapy to your experience, Information about the essential oils that I trust, use, and share about can be found here or you can contact me. It is always important to do your own research and educate yourself about essential oil safety before using the oils on your body.  

You could incorporate aromatherapy using essential oils into all of the steps of this self-care routine in various ways once you have learned the ways to use them. Please feel free to contact me for more information about this if you are curious.

 

Self-Care Experience

SET UP YOUR SPACE:

Before settling in:

  • Find yourself a space that feels nourishing and peaceful.  If there are others in your home, communicate with them about what you are doing and ask that this time is uninterrupted.
  • Gather all of the items that you will need and that will make you comfortable during your experience so that you don’t have to get up to search for something.  Things you may want to have ready include:
    • oil for self-massage (jojoba, sweet almond, coconut, sesame)
    • essential oils (if using aromatherapy)
    • a large blanket or towel to sit on during the self massage   
    • another blanket or yoga mat
    • a pillow, cushion, or folded blanket to sit on during centering & meditation
    • soft music that would help you to really sink into your experience

Once you have gathered all of your materials, follow the steps below and enjoy!

STEP 1: Centering and Breathwork (5 minutes)

  • Move to the space that you set up for yourself.
  • Find a comfortable seat on a cushion or a folded blanket with your hips elevated above your knees.  This can be with legs outstretched, criss cross, or kneeling.
  • Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath and how it moves in and out of your body.
  • Place one hand on your belly and the other over your heart.
  • Slowly start to deepen your breath, feeling your belly expand with each inhalation.
  • As you continue, let the expansion grow into the rib cage area and then into the upper chest, noticing the hand over your heart beginning to rise and fall with your inhalation and exhalation.
  • For the next few minutes, try to make your exhalations longer than your inhalations.  You might inhale for a count of three, then exhale for a count of five. Increase the length of each as it feels comfortable for you.

 STEP 2:  Ayurvedic Self-Massage – hands and arms (15 minutes)

You may wish to include aromatherapy with this portion of your self-care routine by adding a few drops of essential oil to your massage oil.  Suggested oils:  Relaxing: Lavender, Ylang Ylang; Grounding:Cedarwood, Patchouli

  • Put a small amount of your chosen massage oil into the palm of your hand.
  • Spread the oil over your hand and arm.
  • Massage your right hand beginning in the palm, making circular motions with your left thumb.  Make sure to massage the back of your hand as well. Next, slide your left thumb and forefinger down each of the fingers on your right hand three times, starting at the palm and moving toward the fingertip.  Finally, give a gentle pull on the skin between each finger three times, also using your thumb and forefinger.
  • Move on to your arm, making long movements up and down your forearm and upper arm between your joints (wrists, elbows, shoulders).  Move in a circular motion as you massage your joints.
  • Repeat the steps above on your left hand and arm.

If you would like to read more about abhyanga, visit http://www.chopra.com/articles/the-benefits-of-ayurveda-self-massage-%E2%80%9Cabhyanga%E2%80%9D#sm.000000cv79yrwrdyyz9e5pgfdnhz3

STEP 3:  Gentle Yoga (20 minutes)

  • Move to your yoga mat or blanket.  Always take care of yourself and modify movements to honor your own body! If there is a pose suggested that doesn’t work for you – skip it or add a movement that would feel good for your body. You can spend as much or as little time on each pose as you’d like. To stretch your experience to the 20 minute mark, spend a decent amount of time repeating each movement before moving to the next.
  • From a seated position, begin Sun Breaths inhaling as you reach your arms out to the sides, then up overhead.  Bring your palms to touch above your head and then slowly lower your hands to heart center. Repeat the sun breaths several times, linking your breath to your movement.
  • Come into a Tabletop position on hands and knees.  Move in and out of Cat and Cow poses. Cat – as you exhale, round your back towards the ceiling and draw your chin toward your chest; Cow – as you inhale, arch your back and lift your chin slightly, open across the throat.  
  • Hip circles – From tabletop position shift your hips to the right, then forward, to the left, then back toward your heels.  Make these circles small at first and then allow them to grow larger.
  • Thread the Needle – From tabletop position, as you inhale reach your right arm out to the side and up towards the ceiling, opening your chest toward the right side.  Exhale and allow your right arm to come down and weave underneath your left arm, not landing all the way onto the floor just yet. Let your right arm come back out to the side and up overhead again, flowing in and out of this movement several times before settling your right shoulder and cheek onto the floor.  Pause here for a few breaths and then press into your left hand to lift yourself back up to tabletop position. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Child’s pose – from tabletop position, press your hips back toward your heels.  Bring your big toes to touch and send your knees out wide to make space for your body to settle down toward the mat.  Make a pillow for your forehead by stacking your hands and lower your forehead onto your hands. Take several full, deep breaths in this pose.  Press back up to hands and knees.
  • Shavasana – lower yourself down onto your back on your yoga mat or blanket.  Allow your palms to face up and your feet to fall out to the sides. Scan your body from your toes all the way up to the top of your head, bringing attention to each part,  releasing tension and fully relaxing. Rest here for 7-10 minutes. Slowly begin to make small movements to awaken your body. Roll over to your side and gently press yourself up to a seated position.  

STEP 4:   Loving Kindness Meditation (5-7 minutes)

  • Find a comfortable seat on a cushion or a folded blanket with your hips elevated above your knees.  This can be with legs outstretched, criss cross, or kneeling.
  • Come back to the breathing exercise from the beginning of the routine.
  • As you continue with deep breaths in and out, send loving thoughts to yourself, silently repeating in your mind:
    • May I be happy and healthy
    • May I feel safe and loved
    • May peace and calm surround me
    • May I know that all is well

Bring your self-care session to a close by receiving a full deep breath in through your nose and release a cleansing exhalation with a sigh.

Now that you have completed your experience, send yourself gratitude for taking this time so that you can keep your light shining brightly out into your world. Set the intention to keep coming back to time for you. If you want to explore more ways to cultivate self-care in your life, reach out to me, and we’ll work together to create a plan that is nourishing and sustainable for you.  Wishing you peace, joy, and balance!

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