A Guide To Summer Self-Care

Heart made with pink rocks

When we think about self-care we usually associate it with colder weather. Conjuring up visions of comforting rituals, journalling under a blanket with a warming cup of herbal tea and soaking in a hot bath filled with detoxifying salts. So understandably, self-care is usually the last thing on our minds once summertime comes around – bringing with it a schedule filled with rooftop cocktails, spontaneous barbecues and weekly weddings.

The concept of self-care has become increasingly popular and as a result its meaning has somewhat diminished. We tend to have a pretty single-minded approach to self-care, usually focusing on the ways we can buy into it. But, to go back to its original definition, we should really be thinking about self-care as a means of self-preservation.

As wonderful as face masks and fitness classes are, we’re not just physical beings, there’s also emotional, mental and spiritual sides to us and we need to bring all of those into balance during our self-care routines. Ultimately, self-care is about the many ways in which we allow ourselves to shift from doing to being. It reminds us to be unapologetic about taking the time we need to re-centre and grow.

When we think about it in this way, it’s actually a year round activity and summer is one of the best seasons to amp up your self-care routine as it can be quite full-on. If your calendar for the next few months are already starting to stress you out, here’s your ultimate guide to summer self-care and how you can make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself.

Physical Self-Care

Make the most of the warm weather by spending as much time as you can outside. Even if you’re headed to the park on your lunch break for a salad and Solero, you can add in a five minute walking meditation. It will help you feel more grounded, less stressed and give you a quick focus boost for the rest of the day. Start by breathing in and taking three slow steps, repeating the word “in”, over in your mind for each step. Then breathe out, taking three steps and repeating “out” for each step, continuing this breathing pattern as you walk. Take the time to focus only on each slow step you take and not on anything else around you.

Heading to a festival? You’d be surprised to know that even in a crowd of people and tripping over beer bottles, you can still get a dose of self-care through dancing. Ecstatic dance is unstructured, free-flowing dance where you get out of your head and into your body. It’s all about releasing emotion and stress, letting yourself go and just focusing on moving your body, you can also do it barefoot in the garden.

Mental Self-Care

Summer can be a difficult season to navigate if you’re struggling with your body image, feeling uncomfortable about your appearance or if you have a skin condition. We’re surrounded by messages about being “beach body ready” and that it’s time to “show more skin”, so it’s quite a triggering time.

If you’re feeling this way, make sure you’re taking care of your mental health by talking to loved ones or a professional. You can also use journalling to investigate any fears that come up. Fears are completely normal and they’re often false evidence appearing real, so find the evidence your mind needs to dispel the beliefs you have. Write a list of what you’re grateful for about your body, thinking about its function and all the complex systems that allow your body to work instead of how it looks. Take a break from magazines or unfollow any social media accounts that perpetuate unattainable beauty standards and instead look at accounts who promote body acceptance and positivity.

Balance everything that you’re feeling by treating yourself and spending time with your body and skin. After a cool shower at night to wash off the SPF and summer stickiness, treat yourself to a self-massage with an oil blend filled with cooling essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus. You can also repeat positive affirmations and mantras to yourself in the mirror when you’re applying your skincare to help in shifting your mindset.

Emotional Self-Care

While spending as much time poolside as possible is the goal of the season, it’s not always that stress-free. A combination of booking flights, squeezing in social events and creating yet another holiday itinerary can leave you feeling a bit weary. Make sure that you’re spending enough time on your own wellbeing before you dive into any obligations.

Start by writing a list of all of your favourite solo summer activities, they can be anything from lying in your local park with a good book to having a quick dip at the lido. Then actually schedule a few of them in, so you remember to prioritise your own needs and do what you love doing.

If you’re feeling down, Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) can be useful for releasing tension and emotional stress and working on any beliefs holding you back. The technique involves using your fingers to tap on the meridian points in your body as you say a series of statements out loud. A great way to end the day if you’re feeling unsettled.

Spiritual Self-Care

When you’re spending more time outside in the sun and in nature, it’s a great invitation to tap into your spiritual side and honour the changing season. Crystals are a great tool, especially in summer and you can create a mini survival kit with them. Head to a crystal or metaphysical shop and see what crystals you’re naturally drawn to, as you’ll often be guided to what you need the most at that time. You can also pick up, malachite for flying nerves, shungite for clearing energy, moonstone for protection while travelling and amethyst for soothing and lifting moods.

If you need another boost, harness the energy of the moon by working with its cycle. Summer is a great time to connect to the moon, as you can see it more clearly in the sky, especially if you’re headed somewhere with lots of fresh air. On the night of the new moon, you can set an intention, it could be a goal you have in mind or committing to adding in more periods of stillness. Turn it into a ritual by writing your intention down in your journal, meditating, listening to a relaxing playlist and creating an altar of crystals, fresh flowers and candles. Add in a glass of something cool and delicious and you’ve got the perfect chilled evening.

Giselle La Pompe-Moore is the founder of Project Ajna and offers one-to-one healing sessions that incorporate reiki, meditation, tarot and self-care prescriptions.

The Stress-Reducing Modern Wellness Trends To Know About

golden-gong-by-giselle-la-pompe-moore

Whether you tuck an amethyst crystal in your bra every day or have an energy healer on speed dial, it’s clear that the popularity of spiritual wellbeing is on the rise. It’s unsurprising, as wellness is now a staggering $4.2 trillion dollar global industry. One that’s infiltrated our local café menus, bookshelves and how we spend our Sunday nights. But why have we become so fixated by the pursuit of wellness?

The answer could well be, stress. Yes, that six letter word that’s littered into nearly every conversation. As you might know, the body responds to stress by initiating the fight or flight response, where stress hormones are secreted, our heart rate quickens, we breathe more rapidly and oxygen floods to our arms and legs. This is all well and good, as it protects us in life-threatening situations, but unlike our ancestors we end up going into this stress response more often as our lives are increasingly hectic. Over time, the more the stress response gets activated the greater the toll on our minds and body. So much so, that last year The Mental Health Foundation reported that 74% of the UK have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of stress.

When we combine that with living in troubling times filled with political uncertainty and environmental threats to the future of our planet, it’s understandable that we are all looking for some escapism. Engaging in wellness allows us to get out of our heads and to shift from the high stress of constantly doing to just being, and with spiritual wellness it appeals to our collective desire to take comfort in something that feels greater than us.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at some facets of wellness and get lost in the buzzwords and fads, but the following trends, which have often been rooted in ancient practices, have a place in modern society and right now we could all do with a helping hand.

Sound Healing

We usually associate meditation and mindfulness with silence or at least with some oceanic background music. But having sound as the core component of your meditation session is a healing practice that has been around for thousands of years. During a sound bath, gongs and crystal bowls are played as you’re led into a meditative state. The instruments create different healing frequencies with the vibrations then resonating in the body to shift your brainwaves from beta (alert and normal thinking) to low frequency waves such as alpha, delta and theta. All of which aid in reducing stress and promoting deep rest and relaxation.

Reiki

From clearing stagnant energy in our homes to trying to raise our vibrations, we’re talking about energy more than ever. One of the reasons for this is the gaining popularity of Reiki, a method of energy healing that was developed by Dr Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 20th century. Reiki promotes the body’s regenerative self-healing ability by balancing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. When we experience blockages in the flow of energy this can manifest in our bodies and have an impact on our overall health and wellbeing. A Reiki session will leave you feeling blissed out and help you to re-centre by allowing the energy to flow easier through your chakras (energy centres) for optimal health.

Crystal Routines

It’s pretty obvious that crystals are having a moment and it makes sense. They’re not only aesthetically pleasing but they carry within them a host of healing energies. Now you’ve built up a stealthy collection, it’s time to take your crystal obsession to the next level by really harnessing them as a tool for self-growth. Representing the element of earth, crystals can keep you grounded if you’re out of sorts and craving the need to feel connected to something universal. If your crystals have been collecting dust, create your own routines by adding them into your meditation practice, investigate how they can correspond to your chakras and look into creating your own crystal grids.

Spiritual Skincare 

Spirituality has made its way into many areas of our lives and we’ll be starting to see our skin in this way too. The mind-skin connection is a powerful one, from the effects that skin issues have on self-worth to the fact that stress can trigger and aggravate conditions such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis. Brands will be taking more of a ritualistic approach by incorporating self-care messages and tools such as crystals, affirmations and intention-setting. Products aside, seeing the skin from a spiritual lens means taking a step back to find acceptance and peace with our skin and to work on what’s happening under the surface by slowing down our beauty routines and turning them into mindful rituals.

Astro Living

Times have changed from only reading your horoscope in a magazine once a week, to everyone knowing exactly when mercury goes retrograde. With apps like Co-starTime Passages and The Moon it’s easier than ever to live in accordance with the zodiac and to work with natural cycles. We’ve already seen this with new moon and full moon rituals, so if you’re feeling disconnected you can track the planetary movements and work with their energies in your schedule. For example, if you’re trying to do a huge clear-out of your wardrobe, check in with what’s happening astrologically as you might find it easier to do on a day when the planets are more aligned in your favour, such as when the moon is in an organisation-driven sign like Virgo.

Daily Rituals

Social media and wellness have somehow become merged with one another and it can often feel like you didn’t really “do self-care” if it wasn’t posted on Instagram. Wellness can often seem like it’s something that needs to be performed, so it’s time to go back to basics with daily (and private) rituals. From five minute breathing meditations at your desk to journaling all of the things you’re grateful for at night, this is all about finding small moments in your day to get you back into the present moment. Add in a self-massage after your shower or head out for a walk at lunch, this is all about coming back to the essence of what wellness is, it might not always be photogenic but you’ll definitely feel the benefits.

Giselle La Pompe-Moore is the founder of Project Ajna and offers one-to-one rediscovery soul sessions that incorporate reiki, meditation or tarot.

Why We’re Going Crazy For Crystals

Rose Quartz

At some point over the past couple of years crystals lost their wacky, hippie reputation and became a coveted accessory. An affection for them as grown alongside our enthusiasm for all things wellness. So much so, a couple of years back Pantone declared rose quartz as one of the colours of the year, while London’s luxury Hotel Cafe Royal added crystal reading to its spa menu. You can even buy crystal-infused water should you wish.

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