For the majority of us, life is pretty stressful. Whether we’re a busy student balancing classes with internships, or we’re out there working a grueling nine-to-five (more like nine-to-nine, am I right?), it’s pretty easy to find ourselves overwhelmed and feeling a little out of whack. While nothing can change the day-to-day stresses we’re faced with, sometimes treating ourselves to a little TLC is all that’s needed to make things better. In fact, for many of us, it’s crucial.
We talked to three experts in self-care, from herbal connoisseurs to crystal enthusiasts, to tell us about their favorite ways to unwind. Below, read the five remedies that are proven to give you a serious “ahhh” moment and melt away anxiety.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to show yourself some much-needed love.
Energy Cleansing Ritual
Sometimes, all self-care needs to be is letting yourself exist in a space that feels good. We talked to Dominique Caron, founder and owner of Apoterra Skincare, to teach us how to declutter and clear our space of negative energy. “For me, a self-care ritual always starts with prepping the room I am in,” she says. “The arrangement and energy of my living space really affects how I feel and my ability to relax. If the room is too cluttered, stuffy, or has been neglected, it emits negative energy that hampers any positive work I am doing.”
If cleaning your apartment doesn’t sound like the ideal start to a self-care ritual (we get it), Caron suggests that you do this the night before. “This way, you can spend the entire day focusing on things you enjoy,” she says.
Tools: Smudge stick or aromatherapy spray
First, once you’re in your newly cleaned space, put away any electronics and begin smudging, the Native American ritual that involves burning white sage or cedar to clear negative energy out of a space. “Studies have actually shown that smudging increases negative ions in the air, which have been associated with creating positive and happy feelings,” says Caron. “Our electronics, artificial lighting, and overall modern society create a lot of positive ions, which can make one feel depressed and anxious. So, smudging really does work.”
You can buy pre-bundled smudge sticks, or learn how to create your own here (and learn a little more about the ritual!). Then, light the stick on one end. Once it begins smoking, distribute the smoke throughout the room and around yourself. “I like to do this with positive and grateful intention,” says Caron.
If you don’t have a smudge stick or the time to create one, Caron recommends using an aromatherapy spray instead. “Essential oils are really powerful when it comes to clearing the air of unwanted microbes and also work with our bodies to promote healthy and positive feelings,” she says. “You can make a simple spray with just water and essential oils, although make sure to really shake your bottle before misting, since the oils and water won’t homogenize. A favorite blend for killing microbes and helping me relax and feel joyous is sweet orange, sandalwood, and rose geranium. You can also try ravintsara, laurel leaf, and cedarwood.”
Now, you’re ready to relax and have the perfect setting for any other rituals you choose to partake in.
Self-Massage With Ritual Body Oil
A great self-care ritual to give your whole body the ultimate amount of love is a massage. Who doesn’t like massages? “Not only do they help improve circulation and release tension in the body, but they are also detoxing and help to improve your mood,” says Caron. Sounds line a win-win to us.
Before beginning this ritual, she likes to create her very own flower-infused body oil.
Tools and ingredients:
Oil(s) of your choice
Dried flowers/herbs of your choice
To begin, you’ll first need to take your mason jar (making sure it’s completely clean and dry) and fill it halfway with the herbs and flowers of your choice. Then, fill the remainder of the jar with your choice of oil and seal the jar tightly. Next, bring water to a simmer in the saucepan, where you will place the mason jar, and let simmer for one to two hours. “During this time, I usually take this opportunity to bask in the negative ions by reading a good book or magazine—no electronics!—and having a kombucha mocktail,” says Caron. Once your oil is done simmering, carefully remove the jar from the pan (it will be hot!) and strain the oil. She recommends straining through two layers of cheesecloth, making sure to squeeze any excess oil out of the flowers and herbs.
Not sure which oils or flowers to use? “My current favorite oil infusion is a blend of olive oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil with only rose petals, but you can use any oils and flowers/herbs as long as they’re fully dried,” says Caron.
Now that your homemade floral oil is ready, you’re ready to begin your self-massage. Starting with the feet, massage in a circular motion, moving upward toward the heart. Make sure you to spend time on your feet, legs, hands, arms, and shoulders.
Healing Ritual Bath
When it comes to self-care in the form of truly pampering ourselves, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a relaxing bath. But what if, instead of just sinking into some soapy suds, our baths also acted as a means of healing ourselves from the inside out? Negin Niknejad, founder of JustBe Skin Line, recommends a healing beauty bath remedy whenever you need to relax and sooth those aches and pains.
1/2 gallon oat straw and ginger infusion:
2 cups oat straw (to soothe skin and mental stress, joints)
1 cup ginger, dry or fresh (for lower back pain)
1 gallon whole milk (to sooth skin or skin rashes)
1/2 cup raw honey (to add some sweetness into your life)
1/4 cups baking soda (for silky skin)
2 cups magnesium flakes (for muscle relief)
6 fresh roses
Bath oil (for a bath time oil massage)
*Vegans can omit both milk and honey
First, you’ll want to make your oat straw and ginger infusion. Boil a pot of water and place both the oat straw and the ginger, cover, and let sit for a few hours. Once ready, strain out the boiled-down oats and ginger and pour into the bath.
“When the bath is half full, mindfully with intention, add each ingredient, with the salt and rose petals last,” says Niknejad. “Water allows for great healing, so the more love, intention, and mindfulness you put into it, the higher its vibrational and healing effects. Tell the water what guidance or purification you need.”
Then sit back, relax, and allow the ingredients to soothe you from the inside out. “Now matter how great our wounds, we are designed to heal ourselves.”
Heart Chakra Meditation
We’ve all heard of using meditation as a form of self-care, whether it’s to connect to our bodies and our minds on a deeper level, or simply chill out when we’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. But what about using it to heal ourselves through our heart? I chatted with Kristin Petrovich, author of Elemental Energy and founder of Sjal Skincare, about using meditation to open your heart chakra, the body’s energy center that’s associated with love and compassion, inner peace, and physical healing,
“The heart can help align physical, mental, and emotion systems,” says Petrovich. “The practice of tapping into this is now being called 'heart thinking' or 'heart intelligence.’”
That’s where heart chakra-opening meditation comes into play. “The heart is believed to contain your most pure thoughts, intuition, and spiritual/divine guidance,” she says. “It’s important to tap into our heart intelligence, as it’s our most true self, coming from a place of love—not fear.” She also points out that, according to the Heart Math Institute, the heart generates the most powerful electromagnetic field in the body. Well then!
A green stone: malachite, green aventurine, green tourmaline (optional) or watermelon quartz
First, you’ll want to gather your crystals. How do you know which stone is right for you? Petrovich suggests a few for this particular ritual. “The rose quartz, known for universal love, can help bring calmness or inner peace,” she says. “Adding a green stone can help remove any stale energy. Malachite can rebalance the heart and remove negative emotions, while green aventurine will help promote calming and heart healing. Green tourmaline is electrical, as is the heart, and can help us to resolve blockages and accept change.”
Petrovich also suggests using a watermelon quartz, which contains both rose and green tones, as it is believed to help alleviate blockages, help attract love, and relieve relationship issues.
To begin, you’ll want to get in a comfortable, lying down position and place the stone(s) of choice over your heart chakra, which is located near the center of the breastbone. Then, begin to ask for love, peace, and forgiveness. “Allow yourself to feel love and envision your heart area gently expanding, experience waves of peace and letting go of any sadness you may feel,” she says. “Try doing this for at least 20 minutes. It will help you to practice self-love while letting go of anything holding you back. Hopefully, it will lead to heart thinking or awareness.”
Rose Quartz Facial
Looking for more a pampering moment with it comes to your self-care ritual? Petrovich recommends connecting with your heart chakra through an at-home rose quartz facial—which comes with the added benefit of caring for your complexion.
Rose quartz (smooth, tumbled, or wand)
Sapphire oil or Sjal Kura Inuitif
“Rose quartz connects with your heart chakra and is known to bring calmness and inner peace, but it also helps to sooth and calm the skin and any redness,” says Petrovich. Take your rose quartz stone of choice into your dominant hand, and using your oil or cream, begin to gently massage in a small, counterclockwise circular motion—“No more than the weight of a nickel!” she says—over the middle of the forehead, to help open the third eye or brow chakra. “This should help to relax you, and put you in a tranquil, meditative state,” she says.
Next, lightly glide your stone from the forehead to the temple, then back. Continue to slowly move up the forehead until you reach the hairline. Repeat, gliding over to the other temple. Then, you’ll want to glide your stone in a gentle lifting motion from the bridge of the nose, across your cheeks to the middle of the ear. Repeat on the other side, and then repeat the motion from the bridge of the nose down to the mouth.
Afterward, place the stone at the corner of the lips gliding down to the point under the earlobes, behind the jaw. Finally, drag the stone down from the midpoint of the chin behind the jaw once again.
“Feel free to hit different points of the face to further relax the muscles and the skin,” she adds.