1. Slough, Soothe, And Scrub
Want something that’ll calm you down while softening your skin? Mix up this sugar scrub to use on tired arms or sore feet after busy days. Combine one cup of white sugar with 1/4 a cup of coconut oil until it has the consistency of snow. Add in 12-15 drops of lavender essential oil and mix thoroughly. Store in a lidded mason jar for fresh keeping. When you’re ready to relax, draw up a bath and add in a cup of Epsom salt. Soak for 10 minutes, then scrub the feet, legs, hands, and arms for ultra relaxation.
2. Make An Ice-Cold Infusion
Not much is more refreshing than a glass of infused water. Make a pitcher of water and toss in flavorful touches like strawberries, cinnamon, orange, mint, and vanilla for some water with a little something extra. It’ll keep you hydrated and feel like an indulgence.
3. Do A Digital Detox
Social media highlight reel getting you down? If you find yourself too dependent on the dopamine rush from social media, and all the rest, take a step toward disconnection and take the apps off your phone for a month. Feeling super strong? Spend the first week of every month getting clean from all social media. Use the time to read a book, write in a journal, or — here’s a crazy idea — have an actual conversation.
4. Take time For Teatime
If cold and flu season sneaks up on you, soothe a sore throat with a piping cup of tea. Chamomile, mint, and rosehips are great in the winter months, and it’s tough to beat a cup of spiced chai. Enjoy with a biscotti for best results.
5. Spritz Yourself
If you live in a hot, humid area, you know that a little mist on a steamy day can do wonders for your wellbeing. But why wait for summer to refresh? Try these DIY face mists from Byrdie for a quick post-run pick-me-up, or after some heavy spring-cleaning.
6. Think Inside The Box
If the thought of heading into 2017 with Trump as president leaves you feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to check in with your breathing. Certified Foundation Training instructor and movement therapist Zac King recommends Box Breathing, a stress-regulating breathing tactic that allows the body to make full use of the breath it brings in. If you find yourself in a high-stress situation where fight or flight responses are manifesting physically (think sweaty palms, a constricted diaphragm, or a tense neck), King says Box Breathing can help bring you back to reality.
The Box Breathing or Four Square Breathing practice involves a four second inhale, followed by a four second pause, then a four second exhale, followed by a four second pause. Repeat until you lose count — usually about a minute or two — to come back to the present moment.
7. Get Upside Down
If you find yourself reaching for another coffee in the afternoon, try a natural pick-me-up instead. Megan Spears, a yoga instructor and co-leader at Everyone Yoga School, suggests skipping the coffee and spending a few minutes upside down whenever you need to wake up.
“Going upside down can give a better, more sustainable boost than an afternoon cup of joe. If you’re feeling tired, get into down dog or kick into a handstand against the wall.”
According to DOUYOUYOGA, the health benefits of inversion poses in yoga are many, and include increased focus, blood flow, circulation, and most importantly, stress relief. The next time you need a change of pace at work, find someplace private with a wall for support and turn boredom on its head for a bit.
8. Soften Up
Feeling wound up? Jahan Mostofi, a Natural Movement and Yoga instructor specializing in alignment and awareness-based yoga, and co-owner of Cherry Street Yoga, suggests incorporating what he calls "softening practices" into your self-care routine. But don’t think that has to happen on the yoga mat. For a little adjustment when you can’t make it to the mat, focus on softening your body in moments of stress. Mostofi describes this as creating strength through softness, and cites it as a great preventer of soreness, tension, and physical anxiety.
9. Try Out Herbology
And not the Hogwarts course… It’s no secret that we tend to see a spike in depression and lethargy in the winter months, especially when the shine of New Year’s Resolutions starts to wear off. To combat the winter blues, experiment with different herbs and essential oils to stimulate the senses and stay light. Mostofi says combinations like ginseng, golden seal, and lavender — sometimes with a dash of chili oil — can do wonders for sluggish moods. As he puts it, “the herb is the medicine.”
10. Make A Blanket Sprinkle
Want sheets that feel prime for a R.E.M. cycle? Make a blanket mix using rosemary oil, talcum powder, spearmint and spearmint oil to sprinkle over your sheets before bedtime. And because rosemary has been linked with improved memory, you might even remember your dreams when you wake up.
11. Give Your Locks Some Love
12. Say Thanks
Whether it’s to someone else or to yourself, make time for a little gratitude. Showering others with appreciation always pays dividends back to our own selves, and who says you don’t deserve a little appreciation, too? Treat yourself to some fabulous stationery to make it even more enjoyable, like these greeting cards from Loops and Belles.
13. Say Cheers
Want to cheers with something that’s good and good for you? Whip up a batch of herbalist, author, and “Wise Woman” Susun Weed’s Elderflower Champagne recipe. And then cheers to how good you’ve already been to yourself this year.
Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App starting on January 1 for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.
Images: Allef Vinicius, Tirza Van Dijk, Jens Kreuter, Roberta Sorge, Cole Hutson, Dingzeyu Li, Alfonso Cenname, Eli DeFaria, Cory Bouthillette, John Towner, Matthew Kane, Steve Richey, Jazmin Quaynor, Alex Holyoake, Dave Lastovskiy/Unsplash; Giphy